Category Archives: work in progress

Let your freak flag fly

This work-in-progress garnered the comment, “I love it when you let your freak flag fly!” on Instagram yesterday. After pressing back to make sure it was a compliment (it was), I’ve decided that the phrase makes a pretty good working anthem.


Maybe articulation will follow, but for now I’ll rely on that old Supreme Court ‘definition’ of pornography: ‘I know it when I see it’. Probably something about voice and style.


Is this square with woven strips and indigo moon ‘letting my freak flag fly’? No. Or, not yet. It is too derivative – persistently, dismayingly derivative. On the other hand, the newly assembled cloth collage below lets me announce: “I’m letting my freak flag fly!”

The early stages of composition nearly always more closely capture my ‘style’, such as it is. I have to figure out how to bring more of the free and pleasing (to me) beginnings forward. This is a question of technique, but not exclusively. To be continued…

December stars, a snow poem, and a song

star-for-jude

star for jude

close-to-joy

Close to joy

joy-at-center

stitching rings around joy

orion-and-hare

ephemera unearthed this week — there’s my hare constellation

indigo-sky

trial stars

wind-chimes

last winter stars

digital collage - mother and gaga

Mother and pop star Lady Gaga

studio - back table - goodies in more paper bowls I made

paper machier stars

star

stars of light

indonesian-brown-in-two-qui

silk stars, again

Inspiration for the morning: Mary Oliver’s poem “First Snow”. You can read it here.

And to get ‘close to joy’ for two minutes, try viewing this Gaelic song, performed in a gymnasium full of rhythmic kids, who keep a percussive beat going with plastic cups. You’ll love it!

(thank you Mary Ann’s brother for leading me to this amazing video!)

Cold Snap

In the winter, after the leaves fall, our first floor is flooded with light. It’s one of the things I like most about this house.

Trayvon-MartinOne day last week, when I was feeling a little at odds with myself (I can’t remember why), I found myself thinking, “But this light, I get. This light doesn’t confuse me.”
strange-fruit-on-curtainHow to address the brutal history of slavery in a quilt DOES confuse me. For one thing, there is the question — is this my story to tell? That query triggers the question – does that matter, and if so, how? More on those thoughts later.

The working title for this ‘Trayvon Martin’ quilt is: Strange Fruit, triggered by an email conversation with the fiber artist, Kit Lang.  Ms. Lang responded to the Zimmerman acquittal with two quilts, one of which she titled “Strange Fruit – Stand Your Ground.” You can see it here.

Being reminded of that haunting Billie Holiday song informed the choice of the fabrics printed with trees and vines. The ship in the lower right references slave ships, as does the brown batik with horizontal striping.

I got away from the initial idea of a white house with a white fence beyond which a black boy could not safely go. One of the other Martin quilts may preserve and explore that initial design impulse.

polka-dotsBlogged about earlier here “White House and Privilege” and here “Privilege Progression – quilt slide show“.

filling in

  by dee at clothcompany

There are times – busy times or tired times – when it is nice to have some mindless stitching on hand. In a fury of cleaning lately, plus making all those adjustments to fall (including the ones associated with having a senior in high school), I am pretty pooped in the evenings. Adding rows of stitching to this woven rectangle has been just the ticket!

And, anyway, it was unearthed during what has now become a sustained studio purge… it feels good to unearth something begun ages ago and bring it along the road toward ‘finished’.

Privilege Progression – quilt slide show

One of the reasons I like to machine stitch some of the seams on bigger quilts is so that I can cycle through variations and ideas faster. The many phases of a design get lost along the way, and I’ve always thought that was kind of a shame (especially when the ‘best’ version is say, #7, while the finished version is #14!).

If I captured even a fraction of the process it would become clear why a quilt can take so many months to create.  And, the hope is that a process that is inherently frustrating will be less so if there is a visual record. What would I learn?  We shall see.

Lately I’ve begun to think that I just want to ARRANGE fabric, TAKE A PICTURE, and call it a day. That’s the other extreme… but what IF the product were purely digital?!

In the meantime, here is  ‘White House of Privilege’ morphing into something else. The White House has flown elsewhere. To be continued.

I will count this first stab at creating a slide show as a major victory on a day where the computer crashed and my photo uploading developed (new! interesting!) problems.