Category Archives: Commissions

Crow flew to Canada

IMG_0014As many of you know, awhile back I was commissioned to make a quilt for Wendy Golden-Levitt, a Jungian therapist in Canada who uses cloth in her work with children.

IMG_9154Wendy sent the fiber artists whose work she employs a beautiful book as a thank you.  It is filled with the most moving testimony from the children, including wonderfully wise and curious speculations about the cloth makers.

Here are just a few gems:

“I am getting better working with the cloths. I can feel the people who made them. I think they understand what it is like to wait…”

“You step towards it [the cloth] and it whispers something. By the time you are holding it, you got a real relationship going. You can trust it completely.”

“Were they sad or stitching themselves into serious happiness? Do they have days when they are not feeling good in the heart? Do they listen to their dogs or cats? Do they eat waffles while they are sewing?”

I was so moved to see a young woman using “my” quilt as a prayer rug.

(and, by the way, check out how completely color-coordinate she is with the quilt — right down to her fingernails!!)

I blogged about genesis of the idea of a “Treasure Island” theme here and about it being in progress here, but apparently never blogged about its completion. So here are some pix.
foldableHouse-SanctuaryReady-for-lovingTREASURE-ISLAND-wholeFabric depicting a treasure map got me going with the idea of healing being like a sailor looking for gold.  I wanted there to be lots of animals in the cloth, too — both as guides to the children, and as characters in whatever stories they were busy telling. I bound it with ‘baby-blanket satin’ to make it as touchable and inviting as possible.

Receiving the book was so moving, that it inspired me to send another piece — that Crow I’d been working on.  I’ve heard from Wendy and the Crow has landed!!

IMG_3839 IMG_3840 IMG_3863I took a gazillion pictures of The Crow for some reason, so I plan to dedicate a post to it.  But for now let me say that once I knew I was sending it to Wendy, I mounted it on velvet and added satin binding to the lower section… soft textures that will be inviting to the touch!

hunkered down

The snow started in a light flurry.  Big flakes, so it must have been warm.  I ran to the store because although I don’t get into that pre-storm shopping frenzy that empties shelves and renders lots a tangle, it seemed like a good idea.  Everybody must have shopped yesterday, because it was a ghost town.  The snow has come down steadily all day, but only a few inches have accumulated.
baby-chairOur local schools were closed.  My husband’s office was closed.  And the T stopped running two hours ago.  It seems a little over-reactive, but then, you just don’t know with these big storms anymore.  And anyway, I understand the bulk of the storm is due to arrive tonight.
Natives-first-thingHere are my plaster friends before I went to the market.Natives-middayHere they are midday.  I could see them from where I was pressing seams.Natives-pmAnd here they are in the gloaming.
Progress is being made (that is, “I am making progress”) on the second barn quilt.

rooflinesThe rooflines have been tricky.
western-windowsAnd scale matters so much.
The FIRST barn, dubbed, finally, “Blue Hills Barn”, is hanging at the B.J. Spoke Gallery in Huntington, NY, thanks to my cousin, Ginny.

Blue-Hills-Barn

I had to scurry on Monday to get it trued, bound, signed, sleeved, and photographed.  sleeves

yours-truly

blue-hills-barn-mantle

I include the above picture for scale, and also to note that if it doesn’t sell, I won’t mind having it back to hang exactly here.

soup

And finally, what a good day it was for homemade chicken soup (is there EVER a day that is not good for homemade chicken soup?!)

Stay warm all you readers under the same Arctic air!

….ing

sorting

sorting through old supplies and repurposing cabinet space

eating

eating

unpacking

unpacking old things; deciding what to do with them

beding

beading

damp stretching

damp stretching

redoing

repiecing, refining, redoing

refining

accentuating; finishing

I want to thank everyone who chimed in on the last post.  Very provocative and I appreciate every one of those comments!

November arrives

My thoughts and prayers are with the folks in NYC and NJ and elsewhere, suffering with clean up, destruction, and deprivation.  I hope temperatures stay mild.  It’s gotten a little cold here (outside of Boston) in the last couple of hours.  Here is one of the Berkshire barns, as of this morning.  It is a completed quilt top.

I’m not sure why it turned out to be such a struggle to assemble, but it was.  It’s about 32″ wide and incorporates some of the more successful indigo cloths from this summer.  The indigo worked particularly well for the mountains.  I’m calling it, “Waiting for Snow”.

I created a ‘side bar’ quilt on the work table, taking little breaks from the Barn.  It has a totally different feel, and therefore constituted a visual contrast.  This was refreshing for some reason.
In this one, the structure is merely hinted at, and the landscape has been granted license to be wild and dominant.  Not a surprising choice, given the rampaging punches that Sandy delivered over the weekend, while I was safely working down in my cellar studio.  This composition features some more of my indigo dips, as well as silk from my upholstery-design-contact, quilting cottons, batiks, and that Lonni Rossi broccoli/tree fabric that I so love.
I am hand quilting this little composition today, as the sky greys and a cold rain starts to fall.  Its working title is: “Long Island Blues” (Jude Hill online class project).  In this case, the usual horizon line has been broken up (submerged?!!) by the wandering watery lines of shibori.

Damp Stretching

damp-stretching-on-yew by dee at clothcompany

Well, OK, I haven’t exactly been the ‘best’ student in Karen Ruane‘s class. It’s not that her stuff isn’t completely and wildly inspiring or that she doesn’t share well. Not at all.

But, I was busy with CB2 over at Spirit Cloth and I struggle to create all-white or even monochrome pieces, and I am still mildly obsessed (can one be ‘mildly obsessed’?!!) with cloth weaving,

and there were summer activities, and I got my first indigo vat going… and… and…  In any case, nobody is yelling at me, and I WILL get to the Chinese knots (can’t wait) and the cut outs and the nontraditional use of hexagons… and my supply of antique lace and linens.  It’ll be fun.  (Did I mention that I’m looking for a job?!)

But for now, I am very happy to have just watched the lesson on damp stretching. The first photo and the one below are the Noah’s Ark piece…

Pressing a finished quilt that will hang on the wall is not as perilous as trying to apply heat to a two-sided piece, like Karen’s. And, I don’t, here, have to worry about scorching antique, white, irreplaceable linens, the way she does.

Nevertheless, pressing a finished wall quilt squashes the batting, ruins the irregularities so lovingly applied with hand-stitching, and can be a bitch to do uniformly, even if willing to make those sacrifices.

So I have pinned the unbound quilt to a piece of foam core board and spritzed it with water. It is out on our huge yew, to dry in the sun. I can see already that this will even things out nicely.

In the meantime, Son No. 1 is now home (though not at this moment) and we are, for a few short weeks, a family again!  Messes converge – backpack on sewing supplies, dirty clothes everywhere, shoes piled up near the back door, wet towels accruing at a hotel-pace.  Their having been gone makes me feel uncharacteristically tender toward their strewn things, and anyway, my preferred strategy, even when annoyed, is to deal with MY mess (which is generally sizable).  Today my paper mess is demanding some attention.  I’ve laid everything out, and left it there.  Not even a handsome face makes me want to touch the stuff.  But, I will.  I will.

At least I removed the mirror from the dining room table – just in case it was helping the mess multiply (think: Feng Shui).  Enough rambling for one morning, Bye!

ongoing ark

This is Ark Redux.  Neither the buyer nor I could stand the gloom of round one.  Now, the silk chiffon ‘rain’ is limited by the insertion of a brighter, focus panel behind the ark.  I didn’t double the chiffon this time, so it’s a paler shade of grey. And, there will be a dove.

 

Smaller dimensions were also requested – which is a boon to the process of lap quilting!  Some folds and junctures between fabrics are left ‘open’ during basting, in order to allow the insertion of paler fabrics.

I was thoughtful enough to stitch the windows onto the ark prior to assemblage.  Why?  Because a needle stitching in that area will now be passing through three or four layers of top fabric (and one of them batik) plus backing and batting.

The yellow silk version was rejected after my husband in passing asked, “Is that supposed to be the sun?”  Well, no, but thank you for letting me know that the yellow isn’t working!

hot as blazes

Speaking of boats and water, these people have the right idea for a hot, hot day.  This picture was taken from the Old North Bridge in Concord, Mass. last week, but it’s another hot, hot day today.  I’m running a small fan of water from the sprinkler again today, moving it on the hour — mostly for the birds, who have been congregating wherever its moist coolness is being delivered.  Usually we just let our lawn brown out late in the summer, but this year our shrubs and trees seem to be at risk and it’s only mid-July!

[Re: “this is what climate change looks like at the personal level,”  check out  Elizabeth Kolbert in this week’s New Yorker – Talk of the Town section].

Most of the basting on the Ark quilt is done.  This little nursery print (above) was pulled out for auditioning, for obvious reasons.  Maybe I will use a larger piece to cover the back when I am done.  I’m not sure I want all the stitching to be there, on view, even though it will be against the wall.
The hideous 1970’s jacket that provided the bulk of the Ark is wonderful for the suggestion of wooden construction.  I am weaving up some more rectangles for the sides, and decided to introduce more of that lavender.
On another front, my indigo arrived from Dharma Trading, along with some white powders.  If I can stand the heat, my plan is to set up a dye station in the back yard today, under the leafy catalpa.  I will string rope from deck to D.’s mini-ramp (think ‘small half pipe’) to hang fabric from, and cover a folding table with plastic so that it can stay out in all kinds of weather.  A neighbor and former student (she is 16 and will be a junior this year) has agreed to be my intern for a few weeks this summer and she will be helping me – pretty great, right?!!

P.S. A garter snake traveled past me this morning while I was waiting for Jack to complete his business — remarkable enough – I haven’t seen a snake around here in a long time.  But then!  It slithered right between both sets of Jack’s legs, narrowly missing being plopped on.  And, perhaps most remarkable of all?  I don’t think Jack really noticed.