Category Archives: color pattern love

Falling apart / gluing together

I have a bunch of collage books. They’re generally not art books but rather something between pattern studies and wish lists for interior design.*

There’s a freedom in cutting and pasting without worrying too much about the results.

I pulled a notebook out yesterday that’s falling apart. This intersection of picture-edge and coil failure is probably my favorite shot from the book.

I used to use rubber cement. It often fails with time. I like the marks it leaves behind too.

You’ll notice some themes: barns and fabric, angels and antique maps of the heavens, flowers. Death and ghosts. Love and more flowers.

The peony/Browning poem with a picture of D as a young boy is a copy from another Sketchbook Project, the one I cannot find on the site. The theme was : Jackets, Blankets, and Sheets.

Rubber cement mark on lower left.

Sometimes the order of the images matters. I like the way the three above relate to each other.

And sometimes (often?), the collages reveal that I was thinking about my novel, like the ones below.

Eliza?

In the period that I wrote about (1737 to 1744), many of the enslaved had just been kidnapped from Africa. They were called “saltwater slaves” or “comyahs” (as opposed to “binyahs”) (say those two words aloud and they’ll make sense). In other words, in the early colonial period, some slaves were born here and some in Africa. I’ve thought a lot about what it would have meant to have memories of home, to have been ripped away from a coherent society and family, to be force marched and shipped to these shores into lives of brutality, abject humiliation, and privation.

These geographical and soul wounds can be viewed through the lens of indigo. Eliza Pinckney was an early innovator, but the slaves who harvested, aerated, and acidified the batches of dye may have had very specific memories about the crop, not to mention expertise. I learned about the Tuaregs of the Sahara, also known as “the blue men” for their intense deep indigo blue turbans — cloth which when unwrapped would leave blue shadows across their foreheads. I learned that in some areas of Western Africa cloths were woven with indigo threads to swaddle babies at birth. The same cloths would be worn at weddings and then used as shrouds at the end. Also, I learned that men tended to be the weavers.

Sea Island Indigo workshop, SC. 2014

I could say more about all of this but will leave it here for now.

Image of gate leading out of barracoon, west coast of Africa, plus other images.

* Exceptions: The Sketchbook Projects, collected collages done under Acey’s direction, and two books of Paris Collage Club works (one done, one in progress).

Mish mash

This is a mess. Process: fixing the mess

I’ve been trying to combine already quilted remnants with other cloth. The layers have their own ideas. Not sure my determination will be enough to overcome bubbles and ugly edges.

Section outlined in red below is already three layers (including batting).

The week has been quiet, the holidays muted. I’m kinda glad they’re over. I kept bumping into sadness and got tired of constantly having to manage expectations.

My brother and sister-in-law gave us membership in a Puzzle-A-Month club. Who knew such clubs existed? We are very psyched. Hope the next one is a little easier than the first (above).

I’m not picking a word for 2023. The practice feels out of reach, I’ll just say that. But I might set a modest goal, which is to learn — FINALLY, AT LAST — some rudimentary elements of perspective. I’ve tried, believe me. It’ll take a lot more practice.

If you look at my most liked photos from Instagram, you can see how much my quilts and collages might benefit from a different view of structure.

The middle, far-left (above) made an attempt and it is terrible.

I’ll end with a version of an inspirational quote I found online and then couldn’t find again, so I made my own little poster. Don’t know who said this, but it is pure gold.

Let’s Count 10/22

0 — number of times I’ve been discouraged by Dems in Disarray narrative, Dems need better messaging coverage, negative polls, or Doomsday DOJ sentiments;

0 is also the number of cold frosts so far this year; number of times I’ve had Covid;

1 — number of ballots cast this week; number of books I’m reading right now; number of queries sent out recently; number of mini, fallen skeletons seen in the neighborhood today.

2 — number of meals I served homemade croutons with (homemade spinach soup and a killer Caesar salad); number of manuscript rejections received with an actual email in last few weeks;

3 — number of people within two degrees of separation who have died recently. One was almost 100, one was almost 99, and one was 59. Also number of times I heard the liturgical response in Latin in my head at a funeral Mass this morning;

3.5 — number of inches of hair that I cut off this week;

4 — (also during Mass) number of times I heard my mother’s voice saying, “I love a good Irish tenor;” approximate number of times I wondered what my Jewish neighbors thought about all the sitting, standing, and kneeling going on;

5 — number of WIP quilts that I am actively working on right now;

6 — numbers of days recently racked up without sugar;

21 — number of white linens out to dry at salon on Center Street;

31 — number of tulip bulbs planted in containers to force;

75 — number of daily emails I receive from democratic candidates (just kidding, but whew — it’s a lot);

875 — total number of #PostcardstoVoters I’ve sent out in last two years (this is a real number);

Too many to count — number of times I’ve fast-forwarded through TV news coverage recently either because * I’ve already learned about issue in some detail through twitter or because ** it’s nattering on and on about what Dems are doing wrong or because *** they’re playing a clip of the former guy (and usually one I’ve heard umpteen times before — e.g. portions of his bullying, illegal conversation with Raffensperger); times I’ve felt grateful for Finn’s company.

The number of collages made in the last month, especially digital, is also too many to count.

Using this week’s Paris Collage Collective prompt (palm tree photo)

Overheard and telling

Scene I: Hemlock Gorge.

Players: Older man with his grey-whiskered pug. As is often the case, man and dog look alike. They have parked themselves at the side of the path to let us pass. You’d be surprised how many people do not do this. Courtesy made visible. Man is on his phone.

Important detail? Man speaks with an accent. I can’t identify it. Eastern European, maybe, but not Russian or Ukrainian. In my imagination, he is speaking to someone in another country and he is trying to explain the inexplicable, that is, life in America today.

“It’s amazing,” he starts. “There was an insurrection. It was filmed up and down and still people support him.”

It was filmed up and down and still people support him.

Scene II: checkout at Wegman’s supermarket.

Actors: Two young women working adjacent registers.

Important detail: they are both attractive with the blush and confidence of youth.

Unimportant details: one is Black and the other Latina.

Black woman: “He followed me around the store. I kept turning and asking him, Can I help you? And he kept coming. Can I help you? I kept asking. He was old, like 40 or something. Really old. He asked me for my name. I’m good, I told him. He kept coming. I looked at him and said, You’re old! He asked for my Instagram account and I told him my boyfriend has a temper.”

Latina woman about some other man: “I was wearing a blanket, I mean I was completely covered. And still he came at me. A blanket!”

Black woman, to me, perhaps by way of acknowledging that employees aren’t supposed to indulge in quite so much talk across a customer’s basket: “I’m sorry.”

She apologized to me!

It wasn’t one of those situations where I could have feigned not listening. So I said something, not just to let her know that no apology was needed but to emphatically support their indignation.

I told the Black woman she could have accused the man not just of being old but also of being a fucking creep. To the other I said it never mattered what she wore. Ever.

The Black woman awarded me the “customer of the day” award.

These two exchanges were telling, not just because of how my ongoing, general isolation makes these casual interactions more important than they might otherwise be, but because of what they say about where we find ourselves as Americans — as Americans on a precipitous decline that shows no sign of slowing.

Erect comfrey and collage

Before it flops

I had not intended to post my “Eeyore mood” to gather praise or encouragement but it sure was nice. I have the best cyber-friends! Thank you one and all.

Paris Collage Club response

As far as I can tell, we are all of us tipsy with the tug-of-war between hope and despair.

I’ll leave it there for today.

And look at this! Again with the acknowledgement!