It has been hard to be creative in this time of social distancing and isolation. Ron and I spent a week in Branson, MO at the end of February. The global crisis had not been called a pandemic yet. We were careful anyway and it was fairly easy to do because it was off season. When we got back home on March 1 we decided to impose our own isolation based on the news reports from around the world.
You might expect all of us creatives would be pumping out piles of new work. For me, not so much. I have taken some time to finish some UFOs and up the game so to speak on a few pieces. These are silk pillow covers that needed some oomph. The centers are eco dyed vintage linen napkins stitched to the silk pillows. They are embellished with vintage crochet work that was dyed with oak gall. The hand stitching is all done in some of my hand dyed embroidery threads. They will be showing up in my Etsy shop soon after a good pressing and photography.
I was thrilled to have an article in this issue. I had taken a break from art quilting and exhibits for over a year while I cared for my 95 year old dad and then settled his estate. I thought it was time to get back into the arena so I submitted my work to AQS. I had a cover a few years ago and they are always professional to deal with.
My article is starts on page 102 and is titled Fabric Kintsugi. It is a technique I developed about 3 years ago and many of the kintsugi pieces have traveled to exhibitions. The magazine had a huge problem with their printer and over half the magazine I received is very dark. Unfortunately for me, all the pages with my work do not show it well. They are like looking at them through very dark sunglasses. I even thought about not even mentioning the publication but after a bit of “poor me” I decided to let my readers know anyway. It is possible that not all the runs of the magazine are this bad. I hope not. I will show you the magazine page and then my own photography of the pieces next to them. It is so funny because I opted to send them my quilts to be professionally photographed and my own photos are better. I don’t know if the problem was their photographer or the printer, I have communicated with them about the problem. Of course the magazine has been put to bed and shipped to suppliers so it is way too late for any changes. **Note, I was sent proof for changes and this was a problem that occurred after I proofed the article. **
I am loving the slow stitching and mediation of working on this piece. A combination of boro stitching on the kantha quilt, yellow felted wool appliqués and more of the mother of pearl (MOP) button waste. A 12 x 16 feather pillow form completes it. It is for sale HERE in my Etsy Shop.
A threadbare kantha quilt has so much beauty and character. Cut and restitched into a pillow it was the perfect project to embellish with some of my mother of pearl buttons. Extra boro style stitching adds to the composition. I have another kantha quilt pillow that is the next UFO to finish.
I do! On a visit to the Salvation Army thrift store I always check out the fabric and craft area. Sometimes there are treasures to be found. This was a treasure day.
To the left is a photo of 2 one gallon food saver bags so you can imagine my excitement to see that they were filled with mother of pearl buttons. These were a definite must have purchase for use in my fiber art. Besides, let’s face it, what girl of any age can resist a bag or box of buttons.
Do you have your mom’s, grandmother’s or aunt’s button box? No self respecting woman of the household would ever think of not cutting the buttons off of clothing that was no longer wearable. Were these someone’s button collection?
As soon as I got the buttons home they went into a colander for a good cleaning. It was easy to see that these were not buttons from clothing and someone’s button collection but instead from a button factory. To be more precise, these are waste from the button factory floor. You can read about one USA button factory HERE. Pretty fascinating reading.
Below are some photos of a few of the buttons drying. You can see some of the variety with no holes, one hole, missed strikes, MOP and cylinders of nacre. Stay tuned for more blog posts about how I am becoming hole blind separating this mother of pearl.
There is so much clothing thrown away around the world the practice just has to stop. Fast fashion and trendy styles are killing the environment. One way each of us can help this world problem is to be creative and find uses for what is thrown away. I purchased this gorgeous sweater the other day at a thrift shop. My intent was to reclaim the fabric in it to give it a second chance. One less sweater in the landfill.
After first disassembling the sweater into parts, it was time to put it through a first fulling. That simply means that using water, soap and agitation the sweater weave will close up and shrink in size. The fiber label on this sweater said it was 88% wool. I took a gamble that the woven stripe areas were the other 12%. It was a gamble that paid off. It shrank about 50% and resulted in a thick wool fabric.
I can’t wait to use this gorgeous wool in a project and not waste even one tiny piece of it.
On to the second closet in the office. A box not opened after our move nearly 3 years ago held some of my quilt show ribbons. Guess I should move them to the studio so they can be hung for display. It will be another day until the closet is organized, then into the studio for more sorting and organizing. You’ll are welcome to come help!
I have a no resolution, resolution this year. It is simply to be a participant and not a bystander.
Before the new year turned, I cleaned and sorted a closet in my home. It needed done and a thrift shop was richer for it . I unearthed a couple of unfinished textiles and some 100 year old family photos I had forgotten about. The best thing was finding my maternal grandparents marriage license. My youngest son researches the family genealogy and had not been able to find record of it. It is an important piece of a family puzzle. Imagine, I had it all the time tucked away in a box I acquired after my mother died that had never been opened. But I know that I use tasks like that to procrastinate instead of getting down to the business of creating in my studio.
Good things are coming in the new year of 2020. I became a juried member of the Arkansas Craft Guild. There is a wonderful gallery in Mountain View, Arkansas . It is an area rich in artists and history. I am honored to be a part of it.
A few months ago I sent off 5 pieces to Art Quilting Studio Magazine. The artwork and an article will be published in the Spring 2020 magazine. They are a wonderful magazine to work with. I previously had the cover and an article in the Winter 2015 magazine. I couldn’t believe it had been that long since I was a participant and not a bystander!
So here is to a new year and new work and hopefully new successes. This is the silk shawl I uncovered in the closet clean out. It has been moved to my active stitching nest beside my chair.
When I get out of practice and have no need to keep on task I tend to vegetate. It doesn’t help that I am getting older and slower. It doesn’t help that the turmoil in our country keeps me in a near constant state of stress.
My self-cure for this is to find a reason to get back into the main stream of creating. I always enjoy in person art show sales venues. I think that feedback from clients at this type of show is valuable feedback. Finding that kind of show is not always easy now that I live in a rural state that has more crafty craft shows instead of fine craft shows.
I was accepted to show and sell at the Arkansas Craft Guild’s Christmas Showcase at the fairgrounds in Little Rock. Let me tell you, I am stressing about it. It is not an inexpensive show and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will at least make costs.