April 28, 2016

Favorite Quotes #12 - Essence and Limitation

"Objectivity is of the very essence of photography, its contribution and at the same time its

I found this quote in the description of the current retrospective of photographer Paul Strand's work at the V&A Museum in London, and love the connection he drew between essence and limitation.

I consider this to be a very magical photo.  I took it for the marvelous sunset sky.  Only later did I see that in that little triangle of light between the bushes at the center there is a man sitting on a park bench, also enjoying the view.  The objectivity of the camera lens created its own essence!

For me, I really enjoy the challenge of working within limits.  I know some artists don't do commission work because of the size or design limits that customers can require.  Not me.  And I always love a great collection of challenge quilts or a show requiring a clear theme - the amazing variation within limits is a real testament to creativity.

April 19, 2016

History Comes to Life on a Quilt - Part 6 - Delving Deeper

The amazing saga of this quilt continues.  My research into the names inscribed on this quilt showed that it was made between 1897 and 1898 in Melrose, MA.  Reading between the lines of the census records has built up a fascinating glimpse into the era.

The first five chapters of the saga are:
Part 1 - background and start of my search for the details of its history.
Part 2 - how I narrowed down the dates, and some of the interesting family stories. 
Part 3 - the story of the Phinney, Dyer, and Hersey families. 
Part 4 - general observations on life in the late 1890s. 
Part 5  - research summary.
I've written a little aside about the fun of being able to look at original records online.
And, since the quilt did initially come to me for repair, and I did eventually stop reading census forms and do the repair work, and wrote up the techniques and choices involved.
And then I went back to the research, and continued to find lots of great information.
And also, a summary on the occasion of the exhibit about the quilt, December 2018, in Melrose.
After the events, I described the homecoming experience and the exhibits, and wrote about the little quilt I made that was inspired by the historical quilt.  And a set of summaries of the data and stories that brought the quilt to life.  And a very astonishing coincidence with another quilt and a family tree.  I was given a photo of one of the people named on the quilt. 

During the height of my research process, I received an order for my quilt repair book (link to the book is on the right, by the way) from a woman who lives in Melrose!

I sent a surprise note tucked into her copy of the book, and we have since talked about the quilt.  She sent me a link to book about Melrose that was written just a few years after the quilt was made - The History of Melrose, County of Middlesex, Massachusetts, by Elbridge H. Goss, published 1902.

April 17, 2016

Not Too Shabby

From my last couple of weeks of sewing!  

I ended up by chance using lots of nearly empty spools, so my little collection here looks super good!

A couple of these indicate quilt repair quantity and progress.  Also, I will soon be unveiling some new Something From Nothing quilts, once a couple more are done and we have a photo session. 

What do you do with your empty spools?  I always think they could build a nice futuristic city model. 

April 12, 2016

Vintage 1950s Fabrics

Every now and then, the most exciting thing about a quilt is on the back!  This collection of fabric prints and colors could be considered iconic of the era.

A 1950s string quilt came to me for repairs.  The back was also pieced, using rectangles of many sizes and shapes.  Some of the fabrics are totally iconic of the 1950s.

Here's the full shot of what I'm calling "The Liberace Print":

April 7, 2016

Hands All Around

Something like 10 or 12 years ago, I cleared out lots of my old creations with a giveaway to friends and family.  One friend took a pillow, one of the first I made way back when.

She has used that pillow so much, even taking it along in her camper on a cross-country trip, that it has faded away until the navy print is a super pale grey.  Time for a new pillow, I figured.  (The block on this one is Single Wedding Ring.  And in case you're curious, the semi-circles quilted around the border were traced around the inside of a roll of masking tape.)

Here's the new pillow I made for her.

April 2, 2016

Rose Baskets

Oh, my!  The design and technique on this quilt is amazing! 

The quilt was made in the mid to late 1800s, maybe 1860s or 1870s.  It sustained some damage at some point in its life that faded out the center block but left the fabrics mostly intact.