I know, I know. I said I was finished gathering unwanted textiles.
While I'm not "officially" accepting more contributions to the Inheritance Project, I'm not saying "no," either. If someone sees value in my work, would like me to be the final inheritor of a rescued or abandoned piece of cloth, is willing to take the time to send something to me here in Alaska, share what they know about the object, start a conversation and a relationship and maybe have a cathartic experience in the process...I'm not going to stop that person. No way, no how.
The Stripper Jacket.
I love meeting other artists online. It's been an incredible way for someone really far away (me) to gather folks around her who have the same goals, material questions and focus. Meeting Carol Larson in this ethereal way was one thing, but meeting her in person at Quilt National 2017 took it to a whole new level. Not only did Carol and I travel together, share a room and many meals in Athens, Ohio, but we also became temporarily lost driving out to Nancy Crow's studio for a visit (this was resolved with a quick call to Judy Martin, who assured us that we were off by one rural driveway). With all the driving and sometimes lost-ness, I think the two of us managed to discuss everything from children, to aging, to politics, to personal history, to clothing to business. I think we spent a total of 5 minutes talking about art, itself.
A few months ago, Carol sent me "a stripper jacket," an article of unknown origin she'd located in a drawer. It was carefully wrapped in tissue, clearly cared for at one point, by someone.
The evening jacket (it's not actually a stripper jacket...although, how would I know this?) is a frothy concoction of fragile mesh, embroidery and soutache braid. The center back is damaged and the bottom edge indicates it was separated from something at some point. I entertained the idea of wearing it to the Quilt National opening, but I settled for wearing it out on my deck instead. It doesn't really fit.
Carol's piece, "No Means No," part of her "Defining Moments" series, was selected for the 20th Quilt National Biennial. She delivered an eloquent, poised statement about the personal history embedded in this piece, with a bravery that comes from a life lived and decades of separation from a single moment, despite a smoldering anger. Those embers flared while she built this piece and followed Brock Turner's 2016 lenient rape sentence. She drove that narrative into this provocative work.
I was so happy to spend time with this lady.
About 110 years old...could be...
Ann McNeely is a family friend and part of "The Lunch Bunch," a group of women my mom has met with monthly for years. I've only attended a Lunch Bunch once, several years ago, and it was a scream. Presents arrive in tissue stuffed bags for whomever has a birthday that month, my mom always bakes for everyone during the holidays, they exchange jam or chocolate. These women were incredibly generous when I had my first baby, and continue to share their hearts with one another.
This unfinished quilt top, made by Ann's grandmother, is a continuation of this generosity.
I love that this quilt is made from fabric samples, and yes, it's possible there are portions that are over 100 years old, but there are also fabrics that have a 50's or 60's vibe. Which tells me Grandma Ruth picked this up and put it down for decades. Decades. And it's enormous, well on its way to fitting a queen-sized bed. Each of those hexagons is sewn together by hand.
I'm honored and blown away to receive such a labor of love. Thank you.
One year ago on this blog:
Two years ago on this blog:
Artist in Anchorage, Alaska, sometimes blogging about the collision of history, family & art, with the understanding that none exists without the other.