Here in Alaska we are still having one of the strangest winters on record, we are still ice skating for our outdoor sport (thankfully), the boxes of mystery are still arriving, and my son is still wondering why no one sends him Legos in this same manner (Please, no. That is not a hint). I've explained to him that another artist is crowdsourcing Legos already, so, sorry, you're stuck with vintage linens of unknown, known, or maybe-known origin, and when you are as famous as Ai Weiwei you can ask for Lego donations and get everybody all fired up (#legosforweiwei). Heck, you can swim in Legos if you want...but not in my living room.
In the meantime, we have our own hashtags around here: #inheritanceproject and #boxesofmystery and I don't expect a 9-year-old to be fired up about it, but the rest of us are.
Below are the next in the line-up of Boxes of Mystery to arrive in Alaska. The quotes are from the notes accompanying the items, while the headings are mine -- they are how I think of each of these shipments and makers.
Long-ago visits & a long-lasting marriage.
Thank you Liz DeVree from Michigan, who was willing to part with these family heirlooms (made by her grandmothers) for this project.
"These pillow cases were stitched by my paternal grandmother (...) she and my grandfather came to visit us when we lived in Brazil (...) I was 10-ish then (...) The cases fell apart and I didn't now what to do with them, so thank you."
"These potholders were made by my grandmother for my mom. i have no idea when, but my mom is now 84 and has been married for 60 years (...) the 'A' is for Ann."
Shells and silk.
Thank you Terry Parker from Washington for these 2 boxes of mystery.
"All of the items are unremarkable without any history except the taupe silk with embroidery I found at a flea market auction in 1980 in Denver. It was old and falling apart then, so I estimate it at least 50 years old. The shell cross stitch pillow top was a flea market find. As a 'shell' artist, I had to have it."
Dear Aunt Hattie.
This collection was sent to me from Bobbe Shapiro Nolan and Gee Gee Erickson, from Eagle Lake Texas, "on the flat coastal plain, where farmers grow rice.”
"According to her relatives at the yard sale in tiny Wallis Texas, Aunt Hattie was born in 1904. Her real name was Catherine, and nobody knowns why she was called Hattie (...) Aunt Hatties's work was being sold because they were cleaning out the house in preparation for selling it -- all the relatives had taken the items they could use, then spread a sheet on the lawn and laid out the remaining handwork (...) The entire town of Wallis had yard sales that Saturday -- over 30 sales in a town of about 300 people. The potholders were 25 cents apiece. the heart breaks, really."
I made trivets like these when I was 9 or 10 -- all lurid acrylic yarn and everything. The original 1940's pattern used canning jar rings but when I was experimenting with this I used soda can rings slipped inside (which is what Dear Aunt Hattie used). I think I gave them to my grandma, who I'm sure was thrilled with my industriousness.
This also dusted off the memory of early experiments with cans and tin snips and a hole punch. My mom wouldn't let me use the Coors cans, so I made some things out of 7-Up cans and shamrock green acrylic. I'm sure you classy folks have no clue what I'm talking about.
Please, no. That is not a hint.
If you think you'd like to send something for the Inheritance Project, you may contact me here and I will send an email outlining what I'm looking for. Please know that most of these items will not remain intact. If you are unfamiliar with my work, please view my portfolio before you part with something deep and dear. While I in no way desecrate items, one person's reverence is another person's ruin.
For more information, click on the Boxes of Mystery side bar category on this blog to scroll through past posts. You can also follow this project on Facebook and Instagram -- @amymeissnerartist, #inheritanceproject and #boxesofmystery.
All contributors receive something in return from me, by the way.
I would hate for anyone to be without a doily.
Artist in Anchorage, Alaska, sometimes blogging about the collision of history, family & art, with the understanding that none exists without the other.