Last year, my Army Wife apron, Home Fires was part of Support and Defend, an exhibit at the VETS gallery in Rhode Island devoted to art by military service members and their families. That show went well and much of the artwork went to a follow-on exhibit There and Back Again. I am excited to announce that thanks to the tireless efforts of curator Paul Murray, the show has been expanded as Journeys Onward and will be on view at Hygienic Art Gallery in New London, CT from April 29 through May 27th, 2017. My apron will be joined by The Other Woman, shown above, Suck It Up, Absence II, and Unravelling (all of which can be found under The Army Wife within the Galleries tab above). It’s an honor to represent the spousal side of the military family, and I’m especially thrilled that these artworks get the opportunity to go out into the world again and speak for me — hopefully sparking conversations.
This is not normal. And yet I find myself trying to normalize it. I’m outraged, and then I have to double check and find where so much is just the usual transition from one party’s administration to the other’s. But it’s all mixed up in the truly unusual, and it’s nearly impossible to disentangle one from the other.
Up is down and down is up in this new era of alternative facts, and reality TV as reality.
I created this quilt with SAQA’s Poster exhibit in mind. Originally, I was going to make something completely different, but after November 9th this begged to be made.
The gradated background and jumbled piecing of the border represent the topsy turvy feeling of current politics. There are 50 stars, 20 white ones for the states Hillary Clinton won and 30 orange to black ones that Donald won. All have raw edges because many Americans are feeling pretty raw. Scrawled overall are tweets and statements from and about Donald, which fall into the category of being “not normal.” The sad thing is that this graffiti is already dated. Every day there are more statements I could add. Perhaps I will add more. Perhaps in four years this will just be a tangled mess of threads.
“War Sucks,” the quilt that jump-started my Army Wife series and eventual social commentary quilts will be a part of this timely exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. I see my commentary quilts as conversation starters. They are my way of processing events and ideas that intrigue or vex me and they are my way of telling the world (or anyone who is willing to listen) what I think.
Unfortunately, I won;t be able to attend the show, but I invite anyone who will be in the Golden, Colorado area between now and January 21st to please go see this timely exhibit!
Patchwork Pundits Take on Politics
The Presidential Quilt Project
October 28th, 2016 – January 21st, 2017
The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
200 Violet Street; Suite 140
Golden, CO 80401
RMQM celebrates voters’ individualism through a display of politically themed quilts submitted by quilt community members from all over the country. This exhibit brings political views, patriotic values, and social issues to light through quilt art in this election year.
The Presidential Quilt Project, curated by Sue Reich, will accompany RMQM’s Patchwork Pundits exhibit. From the presidencies of George Washington through Barack Obama, the quilts help us enjoy American History and reflect on how quilt history has chosen to remember the U.S. Presidents. This exhibit of forty-three quilts represents each of the United States presidents to date. RMQM is excited to host this beautiful and patriotic collection.
I actually made this quilt several years ago (see it’s post HERE), but I was never very happy with it. After several rejections and a year of contemplation, I decided that what it needed was to be covered with words that represent what I believe to be the things which are tearing away at our democracy. And so I got to embroidering.
I auditioned several ways to create the letters. At first I thought I wanted them to be negative space left when I covered the rest of the quilt in seed stitches. After testing a few letters, I didn’t like the legibility (or lack thereof). I wanted something more subtle than appliqué on top of the existing shroud. I considered filling in the letters, but ultimately decided that a simple outline with variegated floss was both legible and subtle enough for my purposes. The words themselves were edited down from an extensive initial list of members of caucuses, senators and Representatives, names of PACs, etc. Specific names tied the shroud to specific moments in time or movements within the US government, so the final list is words that refer to these entities but are still general enough to be relevant as long as possible.
I finished this in time to submit it, and a handful of other quilts, to the upcoming “Patchwork Pundits Take on Politics” exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Colorado. Unfortunately this one did not get accepted, but at least I am much happier with it this time around. (By the way, War Sucks did get in the show.)
It’s that time of year again, when SAQA members start donating 12×12 work for the annual benefit auction. It is great fun to see the variety of work from fellow members. Some years i donate artwork, some years I just donate money. This year I’m donating artwork as part of my quest to get my work out from under my bed and into the open where it can be enjoyed. My donation this year is Americana V, part of my series created from an older quilt that wasn’t working and is now transformed into smaller, more attractive, and easier to incorporate into one’s decor, pieces.
So often it’s hard to blog because I’m just not sure what to blog about. For lack of any finished projects or deep thoughts, here’s a random sampling of what’s going on in my world right now.
There’s been a lot of work on our house projects, both by me and my mom and by hired pros, but nothing is quite finished yet.
I took a block printing workshop with Valori Wells yesterday (through the Portland Modern Quilt Guild) which was lots of fun and jump started my thinking about fabric designs again.
I’m plugging away at several stitchy projects…
… which have taken over and made more of a mess than anything else!
Work at The Pine Needle is excellent, and I’ve got some behind the scenes projects I’m working on with the team in preparation of summer shop hops and our Fall catalog.
I hope you all are knee deep in fulfilling projects too; every little bit counts, even if doesn’t seem very blog- or Instagram-worthy.
Along with Home Fires going to Rhode Island, I am honored to also have had my newest artwork, Home is Where The Army Sends Us accepted into the ground breaking exhibition at The George Washington University Museum/The Textile Museum, Stories of Migration.
Housed in the new George Washington University museum, The Textile Museum is hosting a juried exhibition in collaboration with SAQA, Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora. Works will include 3-D pieces, large installations, and video.
This textile sculpture is a mobile village reflecting a military family’s canny ability, or heartfelt desire, to bring their communities with them when they relocate. The houses are created from old Army uniforms, an Army issue blanket, and bits and pieces of previous quilted projects in order to convey the lives lived in them. They also have crocheted roots, searching for purchase, but ultimately being dragged along wherever the mobile piece goes. I sent stickers along with the piece to be placed on the floor to encourage visitors to randomly move the village. Military moves are often last minute, and not always of the family’s choice, and are always on the horizon, so I wanted my artwork to reflect that instability. I can’t wait to hear from visitors if this aspect of the sculpture is realized.
Before I sent it off I tried to create a quick video of the village in various settings. I’d like there to be more locations and smoother transitions, but that will be a task when the piece comes back. For now, here’s a fun, quick, video we’ll call a rough sketch.
Stories of Migration
April 16th – September 4th, 2016
The Textile Museum
701 21st Street, NW
I’ve had a lot of rejections lately, and when compared to the job satisfaction I have working at the quilt shop, I’ve lately been pretty un-motivated to create any art or to look for places to show what I have. But then I get an opportunity, and I realize I can’t throw in the towel.
The Army Wife: Home Fires (my very favorite of my apron series) has been chosen to be part of Support and Defend at The Art League of Rhode Island.
The exhibit is all about providing a way for U.S. Armed Forces veteran artists, currently serving or separated, and their immediate families, to share their military or veteran experiences through their own art, and to express its meaning to them in their own words. Every member of the U.S. Armed Forces takes an oath that includes the phrase “support and defend.” For veterans and their family members, the experiences that follow that oath are specific to each individual and may be hard to grasp for those outside the Armed Forces community. Many of those experiences are complex and enduring–perhaps lifelong. This exhibition of 2D and 3D artworks, accompanied by the artists’ written words, will reflect the military experiences of veterans or their family members and create an opportunity and forum for artists to share a personal expression of that experience. Many veterans and their families want to tell their stories, but those conversations can be difficult to start. Often, art can be the starting place.
I submitted three aprons and Home Fires was chosen. If you are in Rhode Island in April or May, please take the time to see this important exhibit.
Support and Defend: Art Relevant to the Veteran Experience
The VETS Gallery, One Avenue of the Arts, Providence, RI 02906
Sponsored by Art League of Rhode Island
April 1 – May 29, 2016 Open Thursday and Friday afternoons
Opening reception April 14, 5:30 – 8:00 pm