Tag Archives: war

The dilemma — to finish or to move on?

8.5 x 11", collage

8.5 x 11", collage

(Notes and collage from last week):

Well, after many days working outside at a garden site and shuffling school forms around, calling guidance counselors, dropping off forgotten track items to the high school, ETC.!! , I have been downstairs, which is to say, in my studio.

I just made three things — none of which I set out to do, all of which I like very much, and all of which make the pile of things UNDONE even bigger.

So, what to do?  Force myself to finish before I play?  Just stop binding my pieces?

That last option is not a bad alternative at all.  Arlee, whom I discovered both in various flickr pools and in this month’s Cloth Paper Scissors, showcased a beautiful quilt with texture galore and unfinished, tattered edges.

The collage above was one of the pieces I made when I perhaps should have been finishing other things.  The text is printed on linen and on fake vellum — both fed through an inkjet.  They are scraps from my quilt, “Valentine to Iraq” (below), made some time ago.  I made the off-white paper with newspaper inclusions while teaching a UU religious ed class a couple of years ago.

Quilt, about 3' x 20"

Quilt, about 3.5' x 20"

This quilt was coming together as the American death toll in Iraq reached 3,000.  I originally planned to stitch 3,000 “x’s” on the quilt, representing the final kisses of mothers to their never-to-return soldier children, but stopped at a little over 1,000.  It gave me a sober appreciation for how large a number 3,000 is.  And now, of course, the toll is much higher.  And we’re not counting Iraqi deaths.

This is a chop-and-rearrange piece — some areas, therefore, have as many as six layers of fabric.  I’m not sure this is technically a quilt, because there isn’t batting behind every single square of this piece, which is mounted on felt.

Valentine-to-Iraq-Heart

The X-stitch-kisses at times resemble sutures.

Valentine-heart-rose

Crucifixes found their way into the piece, representing the enormous sacrifice both the soldier and his mother make (and his father and other family members/or her — forgive me, as a mother of two boys, this piece references our genders).

Valentine-to-Iraq-kisses-al

Here, half a heart is depicted, meaning what it is — a broken heart.

Valentine-all-mothers

The original statements, which I fractured and reassembled, were:  “All mothers of sons want them to live,” and “I now have sons and I want them to live,” and “I want all wars to end.”

Valentine-x-and-n

Another heart fragment, covered in kisses/sutures.

Valentine-to-Iraq-to-live

I wanted some of the embellishments to take on the look and feel of maps, or again, the edges of wounds.

Valentine-to-Iraq-WANT

Here you can see how the varying thicknesses relate to each other.