Sunday, May 29, 2016

Beautiful days

I made this special quilt with my students for: 

"To commemorate 110th anniversary of SMU opening, SMU Museum held an exhibition of contemporary crafts: <>. This exhibition <> presents works of crafts that started as tools from primeval humanity and have turned into familiar and specific art of living in our lives by sharing the experience of objects."

When we were making this quilt, I saw Alicia's challenge, 
So it was such a special experience to me.
When the curator asked to make a work for this exhibition, I thought of many things for it; history, memories, color, image.
We printed many photos on fabric, so I read some on it. 
Many letters of it had special meaning to me.
There were a lot of memories, including my beautiful days.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Texting whilst quilting

I have employed text variously over the past several years.

For my Aunt and Uncle's BIG Anniversary I wanted to give them something no one else would/could...and surprise them.  At their big party, I quietly handed their friends and family squares of cotton that I had prepared, along with ink pens.  Their messages spanned congratulations to intimate, cryptic, and personal messages.

My Uncle Mort's family owned a department store and he was noted for being ever-present, community-minded and a snappy dresser with very smart ties.  My cousin raided his closet and supplied me with some of them...and, apparently he never noticed their absence.

The quilt was one of his treasures.  As he aged, it was always by his favorite chair for his afternoon naps.
Mort and Sue's Anniversary
I sometimes use cursive script to quilt my fabrics together.  It is functional and adds to the narrative of the piece
I'm Not From Here/detail

In a small pieced titled, Miscommunications, I hoped that the commercially printed text on cotton would underscore the imagery of personal communications in this piece from 2009.

And then there was the series in which I worked through a big birthday using cotton that I had discharged.  That must have been about 5 years ago....I'm facing a REALLY big birthday next week :^)


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Foreign language confusion

I have been fortunate to travel to many countries and still enjoy the excitement of new discoveries in foreign lands. Nothing is more indicative of a country than its way of communication through its language. It is impossible for me to learn the language of every country I visit, so a few words are picked up here and there, polite formalities and the all important word for 'toilet'.
In Vietnam there is a bombardment of signage on the streets advertising all manner of items. Some are easy to read and interpret especially when a picture or English translation is attached.
Others are just a guessing game.
Accompanied by graphic illustrations.
And just because!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Painting Pictures with Words

Yesterday I received the sad news that my uncle had passed away from ALS, (a disease formerly known as Lou Gehrig's disease).
I was reminded of a poem my mother wrote, shortly after Uncle Jerry was diagnosed. Her words painted a picture of that strange moment... when you are temporarily frozen in time and space as your mind comes to grips with something.  An experience that was repeated, for me, when my mom told me about his passing.
As I went back and found her original poem, I realized it was written less than a year ago.  It seems like too short a time to prepare for this news.
Words have to power to sooth and comfort us as much as they can startle us and hurt us. Not that it offers any explanation of why these things happen, or insight about the afterlife or existential meaning. But I read these words and feel understood, connected through a common experience.

(With her permission), this is my mother's poem:

Suspended Animation
by Kathleen A. O'Brien

The phone rings:
“I have something to tell you.”
How the mind can race in the void.
How the hands of the clock pause.

Time stops, like a Jack-in-the-Box at the last crank.
The moment inhale converts to exhale.
The expectation, the blood pressure spike,
when words are pitched into space.

“I wanted you to know before
you found out from someone else.”
The roller coaster apex before descent.
Vacuum of feelings as the mind computes.

Like an unopened letter
from the IRS,
Like flashing red lights
in the rear-view mirror.

On the phone:
news given,
yet not accepted.
What to say now.