Tag Archives: Journal

Jackets, Blankets, and Sheets

The Greek word moira (μοῖρα) literally means a part or portion, and by extension one’s portion in life or destiny. They [The Fates] controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal from birth to death.  [Wikipedia]

With two weeks to go for The Sketchbook Project, the foot of snowfall over the weekend was a boon — I got to spend almost all of Monday down in the cellar.  I was having so much fun, it didn’t matter how cold my studio was!

Below are some images of sheets that I collected over the fall.  One of D. sleeping. Another of our laundry closet, photoshopped.

My chosen theme — JACKETS, BLANKETS AND SHEETS – also got a boost from the snow.  Blankets of snow covered the Northeast on Sunday, and so pictures of snow, Christmas napkins of snow, and Vintage Christmas cards with blankets of snow, all made their way into the book.  More of that tomorrow.

Jack has nearly disappeared while walking on the newly-cleared sidewalk!

Beech Trees Journal Quilt

Back when I was taking photos of urban scenes to adapt as decorations for a local after prom party, I also took a number of pictures of beech trees.  They live in Brookline, just a street over from Beacon Street, and they are truly magnificent.

This quilt is small, about 8 1/2 x 11″.  I used the bucket feature in Photoshop Elements 3.0 to change the background colors, which transformed the branch patterns into something resembling stained glass.  I changed threads at least three times quilting the piece, which is a departure from my generally lazy approach to thread.

I’ve recently been back to visit these trees and have come to the conclusion that they are most beautiful when the branches are bare.  This time of year, leaves are plentiful, obscuring the muscular structure of the trunks which I so love to look at.

Collage Journals

I have close to a dozen, now, collage journals where I play with color and form.  I think they started as wish-books — a place to put images of things I wanted.  But soon & invariably, they became something else — I couldn’t help cutting, rearranging, interrupting an image… Occasionally I drift into social commentary, but mostly it is pure play.

I’ve decided to post a few now and then.  I am choosing not to worry about copyright.  My love of textiles will be obvious.  That I am attending to color might be clear.  My obsession with house motifs and doorways will be apparent, too.

Most images come from catalogs and old magazines — a boxload of old Smithsonians, National Geographic, and some designer magazines (Living, House Beautiful, Country Living) … I have three whole books devoted to Christmas.

So Collage Page #1 features —

  • Venice bridge arches
  • country doorways
  • bucket of wood
  • Alicia Silverstone’s  hand and knee creases
  • feet of a J. Jill model
  • flowers and I don’t know what those blue disks are.

Here I am looking at a very soft palette.  This at odds with the colors I generally choose in quiltmaking, which tend to be very saturated colors.

There is an intentional social comment here, about the commercialization of beauty and the price it exacts from women.  We fall prey to the glossy images and are invited to view ourselves in bits and pieces (e.g. “I like my breasts, but I hate my ass” ).  The desire for something ELSE, something deeper than the skin, is referenced by those bridges and doors, which represent transport, openings, mystery….

Not that I wouldn’t like to own that J.Jill skirt, mind…

Denim for shadows; Peter Pan

Week 2 Quilt

To satisfy the revised rule of including one fabric from the previous week’s quilt, I used the navy blue with white dots.  As it happens, given that I found the little house all stitched up and ready to go on the floor — I also satisfied the supplanted rule of using fabric from there.  The piece is machine and hand-quilted and about 10″ x 13″.  It is not bound.  The backing of the quilt was laid down right side up, and left exposed for about 1/4″ all around.  I am still trying to find a way to not bind everything that I make.

One of the Faith Quilts is now pieced.  It turns out the canvas that I fed through my inkjet and printed the collage onto does not take heat well — it warped when I tried to iron the seams.  I don’t like the quilt, partly because I don’t like the feel of this plastic-y canvas, partly for design reasons, but I won’t let that stop me from finishing it.  Picture to come.  I can’t help but see the creative process as parallel to where I am at with faith/optimism/thoughts of the future.  I am also working on rearranging THOSE pieces.

This week, I will be helping my neighbor sew costumes for the elementary school’s production of Peter Pan.  It is good to be in the company of other sewers!  She brought out a huge box of threads that a neighbor had given her (when the neighbor’s tailoring dad died) and we both just oohed and aahed over it for a good long while.  How many people can you do that with?  And, it gets better.  Not only did we share this moment which few could have understood, she offered to share her booty!!  I will sparingly pick a few spools — the family of greens was particularly tempting.  A truly generous and completely unexpected gesture…

Also, it suits my poor garment-making skills to create clothing that need not stand up to wear and only has to look good at a distance.  Ruth is so skilled that she is (to some degree) casting pearls before swine.  Not that these young thespians are swine, mind you, but Wendy’s nightgown certainly doesn’t need french-tailored seams. Nor does Mrs. Darling need a reconstructed Victorian embroidered gown made with silk organza. It does my heart good to know that even someone with Ruth’s skills will resort to a glue gun when schedule dictates.

New Year

Below is a paper/fabric collage that has been scanned onto canvas (fed through my inkjet printer).  A digital image of a village quilt (printed on paper) has been stitched to the center.  I haven’t been able to figure out what to do with this and a sister scan.

A New Year begins.  Can I cultivate faith? The faith that things will improve?  That we all are growing, and on some sort of path?  I spit so contemptuously at the pervasiveness of certain words like, “dream”, “believe”, and yes, “faith” that I am shocked to be sharing this work in progress.  Perhaps I don’t finish it because of that very word.  Perhaps a lack of faith keeps it (me?) undone.  I used to want to be a spiritual person.  Now I just want to be someone who gets things done.

Combining old and new yearnings, then, Number One Consecration for this New Year: I shall finish the two faith quilts on my board and let the exercise provoke an inquiry, maybe even a return to some sort of practice (I have learned that one does not need faith for a practice to have benefits).  The sister scan below was shaping up nicely, paired with some beautiful silks, until I drew on it with sharpie and ruined it.  But you know what they say — any quilt you hate is simply one that isn’t finished.  (Come to think of it, what is that but a statement of faith?!)

“Lettuce Pray”

Consecration Number Two:  I have decided to join the many quilters who make weekly journal quilts.  The Dec/Jan 2009 Quilting Arts Magazine features an article by Jeanne Williamson, who made weekly quilts from 1999 to 2005 (this past year, she made needle-felted quilts exclusively).  My rules will be as follows (rules in italics, commentary in regular font):

1.  One quilt a week, even if away. Structure is good.  Finishing things needs emphasis and commitment.

2. Once begun, no starting over.  Variations of the thing are soooooo tempting and to be avoided until the thing is finished (this is really just to underscore rule No. 1).

3.   Materials will always include scraps from the floor.  Here, I am trying to trick myself into clean up.  Regularize it.  Avoid making it a deal.  Mess follows me around.  We have a complicated relationship.

4.  Quilts must be quilted, but not bound.— Alright, I’ll semi-finish things.  No need to go overboard, here.  Until I work out a canvas-frame-mounting system that works for me (again, I refer you to Jeanne Williamson’s blog), I am not going to worry about the edges of these little things.  I loathe binding quilts.

5.  Sizes need not be uniform, but will not be squares. Uniformity is too much of a challenge for me, esp. when it involves measuring.  This I know and accept about my style.  Even right angles are challenging for this quilter.  I don’t want squares, because of their resemblance to potholders.

6.  Journal Quilts must have a home.  Yes, I would like to be able to find these creations at some point and I don’t want them littering my work space, annoying me.  This rule probably only needs to be followed at the outset (but who wants to place bets that the home doesn’t change?  Even I am willing to wager that at some point I will have no f@$%^ing clue where 1/2 dozen or more quilts are… Could I really circumvent this problem with a little proactive rule-following?!  THIS would be worth knowing).

7.  Monthly themes are optional.   I do well with assignments.  he goal is not simply to experiment.  It is also to cement things that I have learned.

Consecration Number Three — If using scraps off the floor and making a place for the Journal Quilts to live don’t produce an appreciable difference in the slobbery downstairs by the Vernal Equinox, I will barter a couple of quilts for organizational services.


This is AFTER a little clean up, so I’m not kidding about the mess.