Tag Archives: recycling

Treasure Island quilt for a boy

Some of you are familiar with the profoundly moving work of Jungian therapist, Wendy Golden-Levitt.  Her work has been featured in HandEye Magazine and rightfully exalted in the SlowCloth facebook circle.  She has successfully incorporated textiles into her work with traumatized and troubled young clients, finding that the process of relating to a special cloth can facilitate healing.

Well, not long ago, Wendy commissioned a piece from me (YEAH!!!**!!) She had quite a few favorites from my website (not surprisingly, quilts with animals or huts — quilts that one can imagine a young person populating with characters of their own).  However, some of them had been sold and of the remaining pieces, none seemed quite right.  And anyway, the more I thought about making a quilt specifically for her practice, the more excited I became.

So many things to be considered!  The inclusion of fabrics that are lovely to the touch… being sure that the four elements are represented… including figures, both animal and human, that could be repositories of secrets or foils for the imagination… making the landscape mythic, without being scary…

And then I got distracted and busy with other things.  Or did I get stuck?  Sometimes, it’s hard to tell.

As usual, the way “in” for me was a piece of fabric.

Many years ago, my mother-in-law gave me the curtains that she had lovingly made for two of her three sons’ bedroom (we are a blended family, so my husband is not one of her sons).

Initially, as with many well-made gifts of cloth, it was hard to cut the fabric.  These curtains were lined, with beautiful hem stitching, and still clean all these years later!

Probably because I am raising boys, I wanted to make this project for a boy.  When I remembered these curtains, I just knew that they had to be the back of the quilt.  I like the idea of a two-sided blanket, with the narrative on one side supporting and enhancing the story on the other.

Here are things a boy will love — ships, pirates, buried treasure, adventure!!

The more I thought about what it means to be troubled by one’s home of origin, the more the pirate print seemed like a good fit.  If the home is NOT a place of solace and peace (at least MOST of the time — no home is perfect), then one would expect a little soul in search of wholeness to look outside, initially.

To go on a quest to an exotic island and find buried treasure feels like an apt metaphor for the healing process.

The front of the quilt is still being mulled over — but the idea is to create an island village, (African in feel), where there is a central hut — a central hut that is calm and cool in the heat of the savanna… a single structure that visually issues an invitation and that represents a doorway up and into healing.  I plan to include several animals who can be helpers along the way.

Island?  Savannah?  Not quite adding up yet, but the feelings are starting to correspond to fabrics, and that’s how I start.

The strips were woven thinking about creating an island mass, like the one I found in the flickr stream by Yandi (below).  This island is made from reeds and floats in Lake Titicaca.  I made my ‘reed island’ while thinking about the commission, but it probably won’t make it into the piece.

The Chronicles of a Garbage-Picking Crafter, I

Today I begin a new series of posts about scavenging.

I hope these tips will be of value to all of my creative readers (and not just to those ‘on a budget’ as we like to euphemistically say). You could call these ideas ‘green’ and in keeping with some of the sustainability principles cropping up in Slow Cloth* and other environmentally-conscious circles. Or, you could call them the habits of the perpetual garbage picker…

In any case, during yet another session in the orthodontist’s office, I skimmed the latest Newsweek’s article about the ‘new rules of management’. These new rules are posited by the founders of “37signals” (read the founders’ blog here), and have fired me up to find ways to give away what I know.

But, first, you want to know what some of their precepts are?   Here are a few:

  • Avoid workaholics;
  • Hire the better writer;
  • You need less than you think;
  • Drug dealers are onto something, and
  • Emulate Chefs.

I am inspired by the last three, in particular. The idea of giving stuff away has been part of the internet business model since it was created (see, Lawrence Lessig’s book, “Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy“).  (So has theft and piracy, but that’s another discussion).  Nevertheless, I am inspired to find a way to give away what I know and to give away fabric, too (more on that down the road).  That’s the “drug dealers are onto something” tenet, which is to say, create something addictive and make people come back for more. “Emulate Chefs” is an important corollary to that rule and it posits the idea that great chefs give everything away and so should you.

What a lot of blather just to say — recycled clementine boxes make great fabric storage bins!!

They are a perfect size for what I like to call, “precious bits”. One can keep a crate near the ironing board as a quilt is being constructed and let the small chips of fabric that MANY would throw out but which could be useful down the road, land into the crate.  You’d be surprised (or perhaps, not) how many projects employ teeny scraps of fabric (see some of the Village quilts on my website, as an example). Look at how many of the fabric swatches in this quilt-turned-pillow cover are about the size of a postage stamp —

These crates can be stacked vertically like Lincoln logs, making good use of vertical space and preserving work surfaces.

People in my community throw these boxes out with remarkable consistency, making for easy picking (of course my city’s new restrictive garbage policies are bound to cramp my style in this regard — BOO!!)

And as if all those virtues weren’t enough, the blue and orange labels are cheery, and who doesn’t like glancing up at the word “DARLING” now and then?!!

*  if you are interested in Slow Cloth, visit Jude Hill’s site, Elaine Lipson’s blog, or Glennis Dolce’s site.  If you’re on Facebook, there is now a page devoted to Slow Cloth.