Tag Archives: “sketchbook project”

Geography of the heart

The midsection of this work-in-progress uses a contour map print for the central form, leading me to call this and others in the series, “geography of the heart.” The embroidered word “love” below the heart underscores the theme, but in a generic and possibly saccharine way.

I was nevertheless prepared to finish it up when I came across some spoonflower fabric that used a collage (above) that I made a while back as part of the second of two sketchbook projects.

The scrappy fella silhouetted speaks of war orphans, Spanish flu orphans and children of immigrants in New York City.

More specifically, this jaunty man-boy is a stand in for my father who grew up in Woodhaven, New York (an area sometimes claimed by Queens, sometimes Brooklyn). As a teenager he worked as a runner on Wall Street. I can imagine his wiry form, his scrawny athleticism. Eventually he earned enough to attend Pratt Institute and set himself on a path out of the boroughs and into the suburbs.

Suddenly, the idea of the heart’s geography comes alive with particularly.

‘Design is working with what you have and doing the best you can to hold it together.’ Jude Hill

One of the biggest challenges for a collage-style quilter is holding onto the feeling of the piece as you adhere the components. Things that are overlaid in the design phase may lose an element of spontaneity or positioning or something when pieced. On the other hand, if elements are simply stitched down, they may not relate well enough to each other.

Problem one: to lend more meaning to an otherwise generic notion of origins. Solved: by inserting scrappy fella.

Problem two: adding one overlay guy on the left (circled in red). The strip of spoonflower fabric under him will be seamed — just like the right-side panel. But the guy? If I appliqué him will he float too much? And if, on the other hand, I piece him in, will the narrow seam allowances be significant enough subtractions of pattern to disrupt what’s going on?

I’ve gone both ways with this over the years without having formed a real preference. This time, I think I’ll use appliqué.

[Couldn’t find my xerox copies of the sketchbook and so grabbed a few images from Flickr. The first two page spread below is shown two ways. It reads: When will they try to steal your liberty?

The bottom image shows the title page, “It’s Not About Me” — which was one of the themes offered that year.

You can see the entire sketchbook on their site. My user name is katydidart.

heritage

IMG_7028This page* asked, “Will you celebrate your heritage?”

I’ve been thinking about ancestors lately, and the things they do or do not leave behind. The eighteenth anniversary of my mother’s death just came and went.

IMG_7030The ship shown above the rooflines above is a photo of the very vessel that transported my mother’s father, Albert Victor Jacques, from Hartlepool to New York. It arrived in this country on November 1, 1923, and he was 25 years old.

I am also wondering about how to collect these small shards of history and their images, if any, to pass them along. Here? In a private blog? On a thumb drive, and if so, what format? Anyone else tackling this?

Oh. And, it’s snowing again.

IMG_7255mom's-stone
* Another two pages from Sketchbook Project, “It’s Not About Me – Questions for a Nineteen Year Old.”  The entire book is pictured in the Arthouse Coop Digital Library, here.

Please come inside for tea

IMG_6999Another page from recent Sketchbook Project, “It’s Not About Me – Questions for a Nineteen Year Old.”  The entire book is pictured in the Arthouse Coop Digital Library, here. I hope the link works. Sometimes I get an ‘in progress’ message.
Here is the facing page.
IMG_6998It would be a good day to stay inside and drink tea. Unfortunately, there’s a four o’clock appointment on the calendar. We are right along the belt where it is difficult to predict the precipitation as rain or snow. It’s snowing now.

Originally, the question for these images was, “Where will you go when the snows come?”

What will you carry?

IMG_7023

“It’s Not about Me — Questions for a 19 Year Old” (Sketchbook Project, 2014)

“What will you carry” is a question that confronts all ages, of course. As my in-laws empty their house to move to a retirement community, the question is quite literal. Some of the things they will not be able to take are being divvied up among their children. And then, of those same items, we need to re-ask: “save, give away, throw away”? As I continue going room to room (now with a focus on the rat’s nest that is my studio), I am remembering an interesting novel on the topic, in which the protagonist had a hard and fast rule. Every January she surveyed her apartment and if she had not touched the thing during the previous year, she got rid of it (“My Year of Meats“, by Ruth Ozeki). That is more severe than suits me, but the question of maintenance is not:  “Do I want to have to keep handling this thing to keep it clean and in its proper spot?” The answer, surprisingly, is often NO.

Young people ask “What will I carry” in an abbreviated way, using the dorm checklist as reference, and if they are reasonably nice, they let their mothers buy them some linens. Now that we know that D. will be going to college in Colorado (big HAPPY news of last week!!), the question gets asked with the logistics of flying in mind.

There are the less literal ways to ponder this, too. When I ask, “What will you carry” of my children, I say it with the deepest hope that they will carry forward many memories of caring, humor, and nurturance from home.

If it is true, as Gretchen Rubin says in “The Happiness Project,” that “[a]ny single happy experience may be amplified or minimized, depending on how much attention you give it,” then I want to figure out how to do this better.

“A path through the woods” – the Sketchbook Project, 2012

For this year’s Sketchbook theme, I chose — “a path through the woods”.  I wanted something that offered the possibility of optimism, as well as a prompt for a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end.

I like the idea of surprises, of being lost, and of finding clues about the way out or forward.

Some close ups of the bark and markers make me want to try and translate these textures to cloth.

And suddenly, there it is, the way out.

With just a few differing perspectives, there is a rudimentary story.

I found a path leading into the woods, and followed it.  Through twists and turns, past leaves, branches, and rocks, I lost my way.  I paused to take pictures.  Destruction from a recent storm caught my eye, as did an inky dark pool with its aura of bottomlessness.  At some point, red markers, striped on trees, signaled the direction.  I followed.  Red stripes.  Then, suddenly, sky – a teeny triangle of it – appears.  Taking off my Converse all-stars, I left the woods and went home.

Today, the rain plops down and a chicken boiling on the stove fills the house with its homey aroma.  Very little beats this kind of day.