This past few weeks have been a plunge into twenty-first century thinking for me. I traded my flip-phone in for an iphone, started a personal website, and published a first blog post. I plan to post about once a month, share some of my cloth stories, and post news about where my work can be seen. Big learning curve.
Curiously, my artwork focuses on using materials of the past, made and used long before the internet was even imagined. This is cloth with narrative locked into the fibers, fabric that has passed through other hands. The textiles for much of my work come from the basements, storage areas and closets of my family and friends. I especially value things that are stained, damaged or repaired. This sensibility is at the heart of the Lost Art of Mending and History of Toil series.
In the first quilt of the Toil series I used cotton bedsheets (the ones my mother would wash, hang out to dry and iron) colored in ochre with solar dyes. I tore small pieces, brushed on the dye, sprinkled them with grains and threads then exposed them to the sun outdoors. I thought this gave them a "dust bowl" character. Meanwhile, in the dark of winter, I bid on an ebay lot of small scraps from around 1880, and when the small sandwich bag arrived it contained a deconstructed dress sleeve, with a sweat stained armpit. A small piece of that rust colored plaid appears at the bottom left in the photo. These fabrics started me thinking about the endless cycle of domestic toil that mapped the days of our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers. This quilt, Housetop, is part of the Surface Design Association exhibit Shifting Landscapes, showing at form and concept Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, through June 10, 2017.
This is what I have been reading this month: Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders, The Shadow Land, by Elizabeth Kostova, The Woman Next Door, by Yewande Omotoso and A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles.