Tag Archives: emanuel AME

Hearts for Charleston Quilt — Kristin

This heart hales from Montana, from the talented hands of Kristin McNamara Freeman, of spirithreads. Another stellar example of superb craftsmanship and thoughtful, heart-felt creation!

The block bears close looking. Subtle touches like the change of stitching from outer heart to inner heart add up to a complexity that is wonderful.
  Kristin sent the lyrics to a song to accompany that blue chain stitch, which you may have noticed connects all of the hearts. Look at how it begins at the inner most section of the red heart and travels up and out the top and around to each of the white, initialed hearts. Here are the song lyrics:

Lyrics By: Bobby Petersen
Music By: Phil Lesh

Blue light rain, whoa, unbroken chain
Looking for familiar faces in an empty window pane
Listening for the secret, searching for the sound
But I could only hear the preacher and the baying of his hounds

Willow sky, whoa, I walk and wonder why
They say love your brother but you will catch it when you try
Roll you down the line boy, drop you for a loss
Ride out on a cold railroad and nail you to a cross

November and more as I wait for the score
They’re telling me forgiveness is the key to every door
A slow winter day, a night like forever
Sink like a stone, float like a feather

Lilac rain, unbroken chain
Song of the Saw-Whet owl
Out on the mountain it’ll drive you insane
Listening to the winds howl

Unbroken chain of sorrow and pearls
Unbroken chain of sky and sea
Unbroken chain of the western wind
Unbroken chain of you and me

The song says so much, it’s hard to add more, but of course I will.

I watched Gwen Ifill’s program on PBS entitled, “America After Charleston” recently and was interested to hear a couple of the people attending say that they were not filled with forgiveness (including Cynthia Hurd’s brother)… that forgiveness was a process and they weren’t there yet and might never get there. The suggestion was emphatically made by one woman that it was outrageous that the press made so much of Charleston’s forgiveness — yet another example of how it is so much easier (for us white people) to hear about forgiveness than righteous anger.

You can watch the entire program here: PBS, America After Charleston.

IMG_1285IMG_1286 IMG_1289 IMG_1290 IMG_1291 IMG_1292Here are a few more things I want viewers to notice about this beautiful block:

  • the feather stitch that surrounds each white silk heart — delicate, formal, sweet, and somehow heart-rending.
  • the double row of stitches bordering the open/broken/central heart, providing definition.
  • the skillful use of patterned fabric:  the scale and color of the paisley print of the big heart keep it from being overly busy or disappearing and add so much interest; two horizontal floral strips in the bottom third (red, white, and blue, by the way) create a visual ground that is literally populated with flowers; a navy and white boldly-printed African fabric makes the background dynamic, inviting the eye to travel over the entire square.
  • how the white running stitches traveling horizontally bind the strips, while the rust-colored stitches within the open/broken heart are chaotic, swirly, and a contrasting rust-colored, looking if not bloody, then at least stained.
  • how those stitches make a distinction between inner and outer.
  • how the heart’s form is not a closed form… leaving us to decide whether the split down its middle is a rending wound, a means of keeping the heart open to the world, or both.
  • how each of the floating white hearts along the side are embellished with the initials of the deceased: Clementa Pinckney, DePayne Middleton Doctor, Daniel Lee Simmons, Sr., Myra Thompson, Susie Jackson, Cynthia Hurd, Ethel Lance, Tywanza Sanders and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton.
  • how the inclusion of red silk vertical strips references blood without contaminating the purity of those elegant white hearts along the side, or even, the strength of the central heart.
  • how the back reveals the patient application of an invisible basting stitch in black — creating a completely applied grid on the reverse that is not visible on the front.
  • finally, I love how distinct and almost naked the large heart appears on the back!

Thank you, Kristin, for this beautiful contribution!

To read more about this project,
please refer to the the sidebar category:
“Hearts for Charleston Quilt”

To investigate this style of quilting more
(most of us are students of master stitcher/storyteller Jude Hill),
please visit “Spirit Cloth

P.S. For those of you with eagle eyes, the top heart initially featured the letters “CH”. Kristin sent thread for me to change them to “CP”. There is another “CH” further down the line of hearts.

Hearts for Charleston Quilt — Dee

My block honors Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton. She was 45 at the time of her death and left behind three children. As a part-time minister at Emanuel AME, a speech and language pathologist at Goose Creek High School, and also the coach of the girls’ field and track team, her death impacted a wide circle of people.

https://i2.wp.com/media2.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2015_26/1093376/150625-sharonda-singleton-mt-1252_c8998f49b44e7720001714d268adcfa2.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

image from NBC news

IMG_0498She was said to have run ‘cheek to cheek’ with her athletes — a method of inspiring runners to perform at their best level. Imagine that: a grown woman, strong and swift, pacing her high school students on the track, pushing them to go faster. It’s an unshakable image. I also read that there were times when she ‘prayed so hard that the tears fell down her face’. And her smile! Look at that smile! Apparently, Rev. Coleman-Singleton was known to wear that smile even when disciplining her students!

Not long before the bullets began to fly, she took a call from one of her children. I am grateful the phone call was over before the violence erupted. It was a mundane, housekeeping kind of call — letting one of her children know where she had hidden the game controller. The three stitched hearts on the left are for her children: Chris, Caleb, and Camryn.
IMG_0500Synchronicity lead me to dedicate my heart to Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton.  At my town’s vigil for Charleston, the person who read the prayer for her wore an unusual dress. I actually gasped when I recognized it, because I had used fabric from an identical dress (purchased ages ago in a thrift store) for my block .The quilt square was in my purse, in fact, at the time – I wanted the cloth to be in the energy of our town’s memorializing and prayers.
When I read about Rev. Coleman-Singleton’s life, I wanted to honor her even more — in part because one of my boys ran track for four years in high school and it would not be an exaggeration to say that the experience changed his life. Because of his first coach. When you start counting up all the people touched by Rev. Coleman-Singleton’s life, it really makes you shake your head.

Eulogizing her, Mayor Riley of Charleston said, “In each of her roles, everyone she touched, their personality changed. That is passed on and that’s how a community is changed.”
IMG_9852

I used some of the indigo strips that I dyed while at a workshop outside of Charleston last September, as well as that cut up dress mentioned above and some fabric dyed here in Massachusetts in my back yard.

The nine patch in the center of the heart is mis-aligned, but I left it that way. It, of course, stands for the nine deceased. Those squares are silk and have a slight sheen to them, which makes me think of how memory shines after a person is gone. I’m not sure the block is quite done yet.IMG_0507

IMG_9998
IMG_0193Some of the double exposures that I created during this time were visual explorations about faith, death, and martyrdom. The ‘African Christ’ figure made ages ago appears above.
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One more square is winging its way to Massachusetts from Montana as I type and a block arrived from New Jersey yesterday (stay tuned!). Soon it will be time to assemble the quilt.
Many of the contributions honor all nine of the deceased. Others honor a single person. I haven’t yet resolved how this will determine the final quilt (i.e., if one is honored, shouldn’t they all be?). Furthermore, when with this in mind I started a block for Tywanza Sanders, my online reading revealed the agonizing fact that his mother watched him die. That particular article made the point that the “Charleston Nine” really ought to be the “Charleston Twelve”.
More on this as I go.
To read more about this project,
please refer to the the sidebar category:
“Hearts for Charleston Quilt”.

Hearts for Charleston — Kathy

heartsforcharleston-kathydorfer

This eloquent square by Kathy Dorfer for the “Hearts for Charleston” quilt renders me almost (but not quite) speechless.

Variegated thread thickly applied in a whip stitch spell out the words:  “Love heals”. Kathy sprinkled white ‘thread beads’ around the phrase, making it seem as though it sparkles and pops with power, or perhaps, that it is sprawled across the heavens.

loveheals-kathydorfer

quilt-heartsforcharleston-heals

A red cross constructed of slightly darker shades of red is centered within the heart and calls to mind universal symbol for ‘the Red Cross’.  The red cross echoes the theme of healing, particularly healing in a time of emergency.

Organic, tendril-like emanations give us the sense of energy radiating outwards. It is almost as if we can see the healing happening right before our eyes.

heartsforcharleston-love-kathy

Kathy’s white kantha stitch runs horizontally and unifies the blue woven strips. The white stitching integrates her layers and makes me think about the power of binding processes — the binding of wounds, of communities, of ideas.

The back of each and every quilt square has been wonderful to examine. Look at this one! The heart in reverse is a near-empty space, something I find poignant for reasons I can’t really articulate. On the other hand, the emanating tendrils look ganglionic and nearly comical. The white thread beads on the underside connect up in jagged long stitches, creating a shape almost like a cartoon bubble. The phrase is still unmistakable.

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Kathy included a beautifully stamped and blue washed card inscribed with an inspirational quote from Maya Angelou.

IMG_2306Thank you, Kathy. Such a striking and loving contribution!

To read more about this project,
please refer to the the sidebar category:
“Hearts for Charleston Quilt”.

Hearts for Charleston Quilt — Liz Ackert

It is beyond gratifying to see how other fiber artists are responding to the call for The Hearts for Charleston Quilt. I will post about them in the order of their arrival.

Liz Ackert of I’m Going to Texas  sent the second square. Liz exemplifies what I really admire about makers of Slow Cloth — over-the-top attention to detail, composition, and color, skilled dyeing and needlework, plus tremendous thoughtfulness and love informing the design. I really encourage you to visit her blog and read about the process, because it’s fascinating!

First, Liz dyed the cloth.

Liz Ackert photo and work

Interestingly, one of the plants she selected for dyeing is called, “Friendship sage (Salvia amistad … named “amistad” for “friendship” but also the name of a ship that was the scene of a slave mutiny).” [read about preparation of the cloth here and here].

Then, Liz embroidered the names of the Emanuel Nine* onto strips, along with each person’s occupation and age. This must have brought home the impact of the tragedy. Liz also stitched the date of the massacre in various red tones at the far right of each and every strip. That, too, must have been powerful, to stitch that date over and over.

stitching and photo by Liz Ackert

stitching and photo by Liz Ackert

Liz tells us on her blog that the Ethel L. Lance strip was reworked prior to the weaving

Because I hadn’t made a decision about the names and also because some gardening reminded Liz of Psalm 139 (about being made in secret and woven together), Liz was inspired to flip the strips over, rendering the names secret in a way.

heartsforcharleston-names-lizackertThere is something fitting and poignant about the names disappearing.
heartsforcharletson-lizackert-Then, Liz read many of the follow up news stories and was inspired by statements made by surviving loved ones. She selected one quote to correspond with each of the deceased and then stitched them to nine more strips. [read about these decisions and the square’s assembly here].

Here are those statements:

Every fiber in my body hurts … I will never be the same
Prosper and believe in any of your dreams
This has truly broken my heart in every way
We are the family that love built. We have no room for [hate]
She was where she needed to be … she was not a victim
I forgive you and my family forgives you
You took something very precious … and I forgive you
Their legacies will live in love so hate won’t win
Hate is taught … she never taught us to hate

As we all know, many of the utterances were remarkably and profoundly forgiving.heartsforcharleston-ackert-heartbroken

Weaving the strips interrupted most of the phrases. Liz made two exceptions. The astonishing phrase: I FORGIVE YOU.

And: BROKEN MY HEART.

She was worried that the word “hate” might end up visibly prominent but it was buried.  Liz initially felt an impulse to tidy up the denim heart (above) and then decided against it, letting its raggedy state stand as a symbol of the ravaged community instead. [read more here] The entire heart is composed of fabric cut away from the reverse applique heart (below).
heartsforcharleston-lizackert-starsThe tiny pink “X’s” stand for the children left behind — there are twenty.   On the back, Liz stitched a beautiful label, and when attaching it to the square (partly to solve a buckling issue), it just so happened that it traced nine horizontal lines across the ecru heart. 

Such a beautiful quilt square! It will be wonderful in another month to work at doing justice to it and the other contributions in making a single cloth for the Emanuel AME.

*I have consciously decided not to call the deceased “victims”, though clearly they were. I feel as though it diminishes them somehow and one of the survivors specifically stated she refused to think of them as victims. In places I refer to the group as “the Emanuel Nine”, following Liz’s lead.

To read more about this project,
please refer to the the sidebar category:
“Hearts for Charleston Quilt”.

Nitty gritty for Hearts for Charleston Quilt

 

NBC News

Does thinking about the nitty gritty offer relief in the face of the unthinkable? Perhaps.

This link provides short bios of the victims: NBC News.

nbc news

Nine victims of the Charleston church shooting. Top row: Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton Middle row: Daniel Simmons, Rev. Depayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders Bottom row: Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance, Susie Jackson          Via Facebook and Getty Images

christ-deemallon-assemblage

African Christ – work in progress

I am rethinking the stitching of names onto the squares. Hold off on that for now, please. I think they might look better embroidered on strips that go all around the edge of the assembled nine block, rather than on the hearts or strips themselves. Some of the names are quite long and I don’t want them to get lost.

WEAVING STRIPS

This weaving method is simple. Some of the genius variations that Jude Hill has created are listed in links toward the end of this post. I encourage you to take a look at just a quick sampling of her work– even those of you who have been following her.  The method here is hers, the tricks are learned from her. The artistry will be all yours and mine — I hope!

Jude teaches two basic approaches. You can lay your strips on top of a backing cloth and weave (which is what I will demonstrate), or you can ‘anchor’ an uncut cloth to a backing with a single row of stitching, then cut that top piece into strips and weave into that.
IMG_9745The finished area should measure 10″. Please leave at least 1/4″ all round, or more, for flexibility at assembly.

I have chosen light and dark blue for a checkerboard affect, because symbolically I think that speaks to the intersection of people of different colors. In a checkerboard, each hue has equal weight. It is harmonious. So, I like that here. You are welcome to go in another direction. IMG_9717

It is easier to start in the middle and work toward each edge in turn.start in middle and work to one edgeLaying a ruler or piece of cardstock on top helps keep things from moving around too much. When you approach the edge, the strips won’t want to stay folded back, so you might want to use a weight. A ruler is good. Here I use scissors.
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To turn the square when you are done going in one direction — slide something firm underneath, like a plastic placemat.
IMG_9728Then rotate and repeat process.IMG_9730

IMG_9739Then, pin. I use a lot straight pins, knowing I may get stuck. As Mo pointed out yesterday, it might mean bleeding into the cloth. I can think of no better cloth to offer our blood to. But the point is (no pun intended), you may want to use safety pins. I find them too fussy.

Then, to adhere the layers with thread, it is up to you whether you want to do a LARGE BASTE, an INVISIBLE BASTE* a la Jude, or just dig right in and start stitching — across and down, in matching or contrasting threads. A woven square this large will flop around quite a bit without a lot of basting, so I will do a fair amount.

For both the basting as well as the initial finish stitching, it helps to have a firm work surface — one that a needle can encounter without you worrying. If you have a glass top table, that works. I have been using a laptop lap desk that a friend gave me. It has a hard plastic surface and is the right size. Once the layers are integrated enough, you will be able to lap quilt without these concerns.

The heart can be a color of your choosing. Except for the red, the ones I have shown are a little too big, covering up too much of the weaving. As mentioned earlier, I will use traditional applique (with turned under edge), but you may use raw edge applique.

FABRIC

Any fabric is good. I like, though, that so many of you have indicated that you plan to use indigo. This will unify whatever other fabrics come in, making it easier for me to trust this, the way one trusts a potluck. Just please do me the favor of selecting fabric that a needle will easily stitch (i.e. no batik!! no jean-weight denim.)

DATE: August 31. Email me for my address when it comes time.

INSPIRATION

So much inspiration from Jude at Spirit Cloth! It would be impossible to overstate how much I value this generous, extraordinarily talented, ever-evolving and yet humble and curious, artist.  Here are just a few samples from her blog: ‘one step further‘, ‘weaving sanity‘, ‘just corners and squares‘ (this post includes a YouTube video), ‘creative growth‘, ‘some old moon‘, and ‘lining things up in December‘.

Here are a few of my weavings created after taking one of her online classes.
tops for sachetsreturning to 'treasure map' idea, this time with star map and red X's marking the spotIMG_5845I’ve archived some of the heart pieces I’ve made or photographed on flickr, here.

People stand outside as parishioners leave the Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Sunday, June 21, 2015, in Charleston, S.C., four days after a mass shooting at the church claimed the lives of its pastor and eight others. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

People stand outside as parishioners leave the Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Sunday, June 21, 2015, in Charleston, S.C., four days after a mass shooting at the church claimed the lives of its pastor and eight others. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

* Invisible baste is when you grab just a teeny knick of fabric on the top and let most of the thread between stitches run underneath. That way you can leave the stitches in when you are done, even if the thread is contrasting.