If you've been following this little crowdsourcing effort for a while, you may have noticed that a lot of the vintage linen contributions to the Inheritance Project have been from other textile artists. It's not a coincidence: 1.) textile people read this blog, 2.) textile people have textiles, 3.) textile people are attached to their textiles, for reasons not always for reasonable, 4.) textile people are drawn to textiles they stumble across in the world -- new, old, abandoned -- we can't help it, 6.) textile people need to purge their textiles occasionally, and lastly 7.) textile people feel good knowing that their textiles are going to a good home.
Can I also say that geeking out on vintage linens with other like minded people has been a highlight?
One group of such textiles people is SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates). I'm a new-ish member and thanks to fellow Alaskan and art quilter Maria Shell, I was brought on board as a regional co-representative starting about a year ago. I've been to one conference in Philadelphia, where I gave a Lightning Talk/PechaKucha, and was able to meet a number of real-life members who I previously only knew from Facebook.
The reason I bring all this up is because among the 13th Boxes of Mystery are three SAQA members.
This is total coincidence.
I'm not kidding.
The emotional gatekeeper.
Thank you Kelly Caldwell, SAQA Regional Co-Representative for Connecticut. I met her during our Regional Rep meetings in Philadelphia where we participated in a NASA group activity: crash landing on the moon + deciding which supplies were worthy of hauling to safety. (Unfortunately, our table lost points because I was convinced that powdered milk was an essential item. What did we learn from this activity? Don't listen to the Alaskan when it comes to survival because their attachment to freeze dried products is ridiculous).
Kelly later shared a better story about discovering a green trunk hidden in her attic eaves.
"... (inside) were piles of unused yardages, smaller scraps leftover from a few projects, many old curtains, a few odd tapestries and quite a few hand embroideries. Most pieces had aged beyond recognition -- those unfortunately went in the garbage. But these few stayed with me, just in case I found a good creative use for them ... perhaps I was just holding them for the Inheritance Project. So here they are."
She also sent work from her grandmother and mother, both downsizing.
"...I have somehow become the emotional gatekeeper of these items and many, many, MANY others ... I have received countless boxes and bags, and have logged hours and possibly days, separating items to be dispersed to their worthy second lives: the high school theater program, the local food pantry resource center, occasionally the trash heap, and now the Inheritance Project. The psychic burden of the totality of goods has been overwhelming, but I am grateful that at least some of these pieces and their energy can find rest and rebirth."
Kelly later sent two factory produced (yet hand embroidered) tablecloth sets from China, yellowed stickers intact.
"As with many beautiful treasures, these linens were deemed too special for regular use and were put away to be saved for countless years, never serving their original purpose, now stained with age. How sad."
Many thanks, Kelly. I promise if you ever land in Alaska I will keep you alive and not force you to drink (or carry) powdered milk.
Thank you Diane Melms, former SAQA Alaska co-rep, internationally exhibited art quilter and steadfast conference roommate in Philadelphia. She's also been a show-mate with me in a number of juried exhibitions here in Alaska and has work in the permanent collection at the Anchorage Museum. Diane does everything to the letter, admittedly most comfortable when she is vastly over-prepared and is seemingly good at everything as a result. This sweet little potholder is a contribution from her, complete with resource material so I, too, can be vastly over prepared and well within in my comfort zone. She also presented a wonderful Lighting Talk in Philadelphia on creating textile art with kids (SAQA members can watch this in webinar format by accessing Mentorship Webinar Recordings under Member Resources).
Magic inside a Mystery.
Many thanks to Carrie Payne. She's been a wise fixture and contributor to many local SAQA meetings, with insight on publishing magazine articles/features and showing + selling work, including patterns and custom-designed fabric. Her artwork is whimsical, bright and innocent. Even her "Box of Mystery" included her magic touch.
For one of Carrie's sweet tutorials, click on the video below. Did I mention she's a really nice person?
Sometimes we hang ourselves into the world with abandon, other times we cocoon -- there are times and places where both are equally appropriate. Like here. JM sent this parcel, a collection of her mother's finely trimmed linens and handmade doilies, asking that I not use her full name or her 95-year old mother's, now deceased.
The work is beautiful as is her sentiment: "I am glad they're going to a good home." And this has been a good lesson for me to consider, because while I've been hell bent on my intention to raise the awareness and value of women's work by pointing to the Unknown-Unknown-Unknown Makers, there is another value inherent in the creation of such things:
For someone, at some time, in some place -- it felt good to make them.
This is a beautiful energy that I hadn't yet placed alongside a feminist context. And of course, this is why I make things, too, and why I began 40 years ago in the first place. Thank you to JM and her mother, CF, from Chesterfield Missouri for reminding me of this.
If you've been following the Inheritance Project all this time...thank you. It's been an unexpected experience that has taught me much about myself and brought me closer to understanding the intention of the women in my own family--many of them now gone, some very recently so. I've already begun working with many of these items and will do so for the next 2 years, at least.
I believe I'm nearing the end of the call for crowdsourced materials -- I'm approaching 1 year, I'm approaching 20 posts, but don't know which will come first. If you have contacted me and I've responded with an invitation letter, plus you still feel compelled to send items -- please do. If you haven't contacted me, but feel compelled to send items, please do! I'm not going anywhere, but I am looking at how best to schedule the next 2 years.
Yo. It's tricky.
Artist in Anchorage, Alaska, sometimes blogging about the collision of history, family & art, with the understanding that none exists without the other.