Tag Archives: quilting

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…

Jude Hill – a little look back

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turtle-atilt

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This is a small gallery revealing Jude Hill‘s influence and inspiration. I am feeling nostalgic. It’s been different without her private classes. And I’ve been ‘away’ from her and others’ blogs — more consumed with writing and the ten month project for Charleston. I miss being on a learning curve that was as exciting as it was steep.

Life is all about change. And it’s hard, too. We are all constantly adapting to various burdens, impositions or difficulties — aging not the least of them. One of the things I have admired about Jude the most is her capacity for invention — not just of her cloth creations (the way she can take an idea in fifteen directions, each of them further than I could possibly have imagined), but also of how she has conducted herself online — generously, with poetry and beauty, and with unbelievable technological skill.

The reinvention of late seems to be toward greater privacy, which of course I respect, but the thought of her going away makes me panic a little.

There is so much more I want to say about this, but I haven’t done my morning pages yet and the dog will need walking soon, so it’ll have to wait.

looking back to look forward – September cloths

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Sometimes it seems to me that my catalog of cloth pictures reads like a stream of unfinished projects. Actually, it turns the stomach, sometimes. Proof of need for an intervention!
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I’m going to look back ONE YEAR and find a couple of featured projects and finish them roughly within that month (I mean, September is 2/3’s gone already). This is going to be ‘my thing’. I want to try this as a tool, though, and not as a ‘thing’ (i.e. “My Year of Finishing Work”, blah blah blah).

A little structure. A little time pressure. In conjunction, the two COULD work.

I hope that this process will be a lot like deciding not to grocery shop in my husband’s absence this week. Instead, I made do with what little was in the fridge. How gratifying it was (absurdly gratifying?)!

Sometimes, I will first have to FIND the thing. But’s that okay, and probably good and necessary.

IMG_0462The one above just needs a binding and dowel sleeve (well, and the intention to finish — that’s the point here).

IMG_5272Furthermore (and this is critical!), I here before you pledge not to get bogged down in the “PROBLEM” of what to do with the finished pieces.  My Etsy store is deadsville and I can’t quite bring myself to sign up for any sales this fall. In fact, my domain name is up for renewal in a few weeks and I’m considering letting the website go. I mean, I never go there. Does anyone else?!!

Streamlining, focusing, empowering.
IMG_0433Huh. And not to get too, too ambitious here, I have the same need with books. So, I will embark upon a parallel process with those.

There! A pledge. Two pledges.

And, of course, the Hearts for Charleston Quilt takes priority.

Six at a time

Six of the teeny scrap rectangles (above) surround by pale green print (below) are attached and mated with batting and a pale blue backing fabric. Last night, in spite of a little bit of dread, I started quilting through all three layers. It’ll be fine. Square by square. No hoop. For weeks in the evening, I’ve been selecting a skein of floss and using it up — stitching open the little seams of the unbacked sections — going square by square until the thread was gone.  It’s not that different with all the layers.  I’ll need at least nine sets of six. As long as I can tolerate the mess in the living room, I can take my time. 

fade and wonder and authorship

collage light deemallonTry to answer the question ‘what is art’ and find half your audience in a narcoleptic stupor in a heartbeat. But ASKING the question and PLAYING with it in your hands and your lens and your canvas, is a fiery, soulful exercise.

If you make collage using magazine images, you can’t help but feel a little sheepish about matters of originality. When is borrowing theft? And, how important is endurance, anyway? Fade, fade, fade.

I made and framed this collage about thirty years ago. I can’t remember if it’s under archival glass or not (probably not. I was a law student paying for tuition with loans). Does the fact that I covered and cut the images of an artist’s clay masks turn them into ‘my’ work. Probably not, which is likely why I’ve kept this framed piece to myself all these years.

collage light deemallonBut now — look at the light angling across the glass! The light adds its commentary, without my authorship, and changes the stolen images yet again. Does my capture NOW make it more ‘mine’? And if paper is ephemeral, what is light passing over paper — even if captured in a photo?

“Light eats cloth” commented Mo yesterday. Fade, fade, fade.reveled in light passing through clothPart of me shrugs — or even yells a New Mexico YES —  because maybe that is part of the point — this mixing up of signature with indices of time.

I once sent a piece of patchwork to Grace in New Mexico. I had pulled some inner knots tight and didn’t know how to undo them. It seemed a simple thing to ship cloth west. I got energized by the idea of some fabric I had pieced together being touched by her, being blasted by the desert sun and sniffed at by goats.

The exercise gave me this idea of shipping sections of patchwork around the world, and asking others to let the elements ‘do their thing’, then return them to me so that I could piece them together into a more meaningful Global Warming quilt than I’ve made to date. (Still just an idea).

Jude plays at these edges all the time. Think – Magic Feather cloth, which gathered up hand sewn bits from all over the world, stitching a community together in the process (and a masterpiece cloth). Think of her play with light and shadows. A recent post showed one of her spectacular quilts with a shadow of her hand splayed over one side. Is the work the photograph of Jude’s hand casting a shadow on the quilt? Or the brief event of the shadow? Or is it ‘merely’ the cloth afterall, but now with a memory of the shadow?

Enough words. Time for a run to a garden center. It is an absolutely stunning day and I have both boys home!! Happy Mother’s Day to me!!! And Happy Mother’s day to all of you. We all mother something — ourselves, our pets, our ideas, and some of us, children.

Removing excess

Hanging this quilt in the window makes uneven layering obvious. An excess of layers often results when you add already quilted sections to other cloth. From Jude at Spirit Cloth, I learned the (now seemingly obvious) technique of cutting some of the thickness away — what she calls ‘managing layers’. Some stitching was sacrificed in the process and I will have to fix that later, but for now, I like how it lets the light through.