When I found out about a three-day indigo forum in Charleston, South Carolina this coming September, I practically jumped out of my seat. I didn’t even go to the impracticality of the opportunity given its price… just reveled in the notion of a free and clear calendar.
How different to consider a pricey tuition than to anticipate the juggling of school and doctors’ appointments and meals and well, you know, parenting! Check it out: Sea Island Indigo Workshop.
Here is the revised and nearly complete “Fool”. I let the underlying blue paper serve as mountains, instead of the cut-out denim I had originally. And I replaced the sad-eyed basset with the black and white mutt you see below. I was happy to find this dog — it so nearly mimics the one depicted in the Rider deck. The Rider deck will be my prime source, by the way.
In terms of synchronicity — I was cutting out the suitcase, wondering whether I would find a good rose (something I considered essential for the card), when I flipped over the page and found the one you see there!
All that remains is to add title and number and make color xerox at proper size. And maybe revise the sun rays. What do you think? Too hokey? Inconsistent with the rest?
Listening to this * yesterday got me remembering the Irish belief that the Other World can be accessed through ‘thin places’ in our world. Thin places are places of transition, or inbetween times. On this point, from Fire in the Head**:
“For Irish poets, the edge of water — where bank meets river or shore meets sea — is a place of wisdom, enlightenment, and mystical knowledge. Water, fog, mist, and dew have long fascinated the Irish, possibly because the island nation is surrounded by the sea… But any edge or border between elemental realms, any liminal zone between two complementary terrains, or a place where opposites meet is, in the Celtic imagination, a place filled with magic.”
Here is a sampling of ‘Edge Pictures’, some of place, others of time, and a few of both.
New Hampshire, The Flume
Shaker Workshop, Arlington, Mass.
* (Krista Tippett talking about her grandfather and faith on “The Moth”. Her website is onbeing.com).
** Fire in the Head, Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit, by Tom Cowan
This simple and beautiful bag was the inspiration for the two-quilt-messenger bag that I made last week (below).
It is constructed from three pieces – the front, the back, and a single side piece. Each component has a blue face with a red backing.
The side panel does not come all the way up to the uppermost edges, in order to leave room for a casing, which houses the blue cord pull-ties. The casing is just a gap between the red lining and the blue front, with two lines of stitching to define. Because you seam the finished components wrong sides together, there is no need to leave an opening in the final construction phase in order to reverse, the way many bag patterns require. By using the red contrasting fabric for the inside of each of the three pieces, and making no attempt to hide any seams, a beautiful line of color is created – very much like piping.
The ties are long. Each of the two loops exit on opposite sides, so that when you pull the ties, the loop that is inside the casing opposite, tugs closed. It’s a simple and elegant design, through and through.
I thought of this bag as I was pulling the next two quilts out of a drawer during my three weeks of purse sewing. About 14 inches square, these two panels were a good size for a messenger bag, or what I’m calling a messenger bag. A true messenger bag would have a fold-over flap. I realized that once I removed the dowel sleeves, I had two of the three pieces of the model Japanese bag. I constructed a blue strap with finished edges that was long enough to run around three sides of the bag and then up and over the shoulder (14 inches x 3 plus about 35 inches). I included enough length to make a loop on one end that the other end would tie into, so as to make the strap adjustable.
I also added a good-sized lined pocket on the wrong side of one of the quilts. The project made me happy for a couple of reasons. One, it put to good use some quilts I was not crazy about as wall hangings (I love them as purse panels, though!!). I did six of these, so I can make two more bags. I sold this one on Sunday. I think I will select a handle/side & bottom fabric that is much tougher than the one above, so that the bag could carry the weight of a lap top – it’s the perfect size. Two, I was very proud of myself for figuring out how to borrow some of the construction methods of a long-admired bag.*
P.S. While sewing mine together, I realized that the curved edges were critical to the design of the indigo bag. I had to stop my side panel seams just short of each corner, leaving four holes that I then hand sewed. I didn’t really want to cut the 14″ x 14″ quilted panel – doing so would have wrecked the bound edge and posed a different construction problem.
* I bought this bag from a couple who made a wide variety of useful objects out of beautiful Japanese indigo cloth many years ago at a huge holiday craft fair held at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center. I have no name to share with you, I’m afraid!!
Yesterday was the last Improv Quilting class until September. It is nice to feel the approach of summer, and a different pace and set of concerns on the horizon, and it was hard to say goodbye. I will miss the weekly dialogue about cloth, along with the more personal notes about trips, children, grandchildren, former occupations, and so much more.
And, the house will miss the weekly call to clean up. In a fit of pre-class kitchen clean up, I bleached the strings to our Roman blinds — and look at the result!! I have been meaning to do this for ages. It is ALWAYS satisfying to do something you’ve been meaning to do for ages.
I am signed up for three online classes this spring, which will very much mark the turning toward summer. So excited. Karen Ruane (Contemporary Embroidery), Glennis Dolce (blog – “Shibori Girl”; class – Indigo Dyeing), and Jude Hill (blog – “Spirit Cloth”; class – Contemporary Boro). Pretty great, right?
Here is a turtle cloth that I made yesterday. It was to practice needle-turned applique, which I used for the critter’s feet, head, and tail. I used a cloth weaving from another Jude Hill class as the shell. This was a first in many ways. I used Jude’s method of invisible basting prior to attaching the turtle. I cannot believe the difference it made in terms of stabilizing the layers and making it POSSIBLE to enjoy the subsequent handwork. I may be slow, says the turtle, but I’ll get there.
The dark green was a little too dark on the red, so I lightened it with a white oil pastel. I’m not 100% happy with that result, but it’s better than the untouched green.
I may be slow, but I’ll get there!
(It wasn’t until re-titling this post that I noticed the rabbit above!)