Wednesday, September 28, 2005

From Barbara to Me!

Fall Madonna Supplies from Barbara
Anticipation is fun! Barbara wrote me that she had sent a package of supplies that might be inspirational for my fall Madonna piece. When Hurricane Rita interrupted mail service, I put the message out of my mind. Yesterday's mail arrived!

Barbara's package was filled with all kinds of cool, funky things that I can surely use. I can see that we would be horrible shopping partners going home mad at the end of the excursion. We have very similiar taste! I can see us racing to get to the table first so we could grab up all the goodies. Or, maybe I am just speaking of myself! *wink*

I love everything that arrived. Now I am thinking that I must have it all and make the piece much bigger than I planned at first. Just another example of how my projects get out of control!

Barbara sent some interesting paper beads (did you make them??). I've seen the directions for them for years but never tried them--one of those "one of these days" projects. They are very cool! In case you are not familiar with paper beads: long skinny triangular strips of paper (usually magazine pages), rolled onto something tubular (these are very small so maybe a knitting needle?) like a straw, dabbed with clear glue and set to dry. The color variations can be quite lovely. Another great recycling idea too! They can be made any which way and still come out fab!

The buttons are unique too---especially the little checked cross ones. You can see them in the photo. They are my favorites along with the robin egg speckled blue ones and the heavy wooden ones. Vintage rules!

I also feel special to have one of Rachel's crocheted doilies. I bet she will be thrilled to have it adorn a Madonna piece.

Thank you so much, Barbara! please tell us where you got some of these great supplies. I did see the hospice thrift store tag on the glittery white piece (I may save it for the winter Madonna--she is going to be all glittery.)& I believe I recognize the yo-yos from your current piece. Now I remember why I never hooked onto that technique! My companion to those yo-yos---handpieced hexagons. I'll get them done one of these days.

Tell me. What can I send to you? Now that your La Ofrenda is done maybe you have a thought or two about the fall piece?? Inquiring minds want to know. . . .

Monday, September 26, 2005

La Ofrenda (42x43)

I feel like I've been making this quilt for my whole life, but now it's done! I sometimes get a very ambivalent feeling about finishing a quilt, and this one has particularly been hard to finish, perhaps because I wanted it to turn out so well. I really like the colors, but I'm sure I'll think of things I'll wish I'd done differently in terms of composition. But anyway, here she is. "La Ofrenda"

And there I am--reflected in my work, so to speak--that's a real hand mirror I put in the middle of this quilt.

I have more detailed photos with explanations in my webshots album. You can use the link on the right to view my photos. I'm ready for the next quilt in this series.--Barbara

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Read a good book lately?

In one of Rian's emails to me, she asked if I had read the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I've seen it everywhere and when it hit the popular bookshelves I was busy thinking about some other things. So, I had to confess that I hadn't read it. . . or much of anything lately, really.

So, with my upcoming trip to Nashville I decided to visit the bookstore and buy the paperback edition of the Da Vinci Code. In case you don't know, it is not in paperback & the original edition costs about $25/hardback. There is a new edition with pictures and it is in the $27 range. I fiddled around with it and asked some questions of the helpful clerk. I have trouble making decisions sometimes.

I really didn't want to lug a hardback on the plane with me (& I didn't want to spend $25) so she suggested I read the first of Brown's books that introduces Robert Langdon as the Symbologist in the story; that book is Angels & Demons.

Since I am not a Catholic everything in the book was news to me. I couldn't tell you the facts from the fiction. I do think that besides following the storyline, I did learn some religious thought and some art history. The book is like a whirlwind tour through Rome and the Vatican City via art and symbols. It seemed an added bonus to me.

I don't know what the Da Vinci Code is about but I have an idea. While I thought Brown got a little long winded towards the end, I did enjoy the book, even if some of it was a bit contrived. I just reminded myself that it was a fictional book.

On another note
While visiting the Rau Collection exhibit this weekend at the Tennessee State Museum, I encountered an interesting piece that showed St. Veronica holding a cloth with the image of Jesus' face on it.

Prior to beginning this study of the Madonna, I would have looked at this Classic painting and gone on about my visit. Now, it gave me reason to pause. The legend is interesting but the arrangement of the painting was also interesting! Here is St. Veronica holding a piece of fabric like she is getting ready to hang it on the clothesline. What a great way to show a Madonna piece. . . . . hmm, something to think about. . . .

Ideas do crop up everywhere, don't they? Where do you find inspiration??

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Power of Suggestions

I am mulling over in my mind Rian's comment about Mary as a common mother here on earth.

During the times that I have been thinking about my fall piece, I have not been thinking of Mary quite in those terms. When I think of Earth Mother, I think of materials from the earth; shells, rocks, leaves, twigs, linen, cotton, paper--those things that come from the earth and give something "an earthy quality" about them.

I just figured that was what it all meant so when Rian, who was only reading my information (we have not talked about this), perceived what I was trying to say in a new light, I found that immensely interesting.

Barbara has also mentioned that she has some things to send me "now that she has seen my supplies". Here is another example of wonder to me. How will Barbara interpret my idea through pictures with her own supplies?

Isn't it wonderful that we can have this kind of interaction without even talking to one another? that someone can read a comment and influence thinking in a whole new way? that someone can see some pictures and know what to contribute?

I do like Rian's idea of interpreting Mary as a common mother here on earth. I wonder how I will do that?? hmmm. more food for thought.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Mary, Earth Mother

Mary Transfers
Before Hurricane Katrina hit and changed some of my quilting priorities, I was ready to begin work on my fall Madonna quilt. I have been looking at the pile of supplies accumulating in my studio and decided that it was time to share my ideas for them with you.

Barbara and I agreed that we would base our 4 individual projects on the 4 seasons. With Fall close at hand, I have decided to portray Mary as an Earth Mother. I want to use humble supplies that I think befitting a woman who I view as "walking amongst the people", as I think Mary does on a daily basis. I want to show Mary as a gentle woman, happy with her child in even the most simple of adornments.

All summer I have been collecting supplies from my trips to the thrift stores. With a keen eye, I have come across what I hope will be some gracious trimmings and fabric for the Earth Mother. I also want to include mementos from friends.

My plan is to use a simple design but embellish it with some crazy quilting, beading, linens, crochetted items, old jewelry and some ribbons. I plan to use some primitive transfers so that Mary's image has an aged, old look. I do not use a lot of muted colors in my normal quilts but I do like the patina of aged work. There is something very gratifying in rescuing linens, laces and buttons for such a project. I plan to explore & express my thoughts with these "new to me" items.

Paisley Linen
This is a beautiful piece of linen. I love the paisley design and the roses above. For me, this is the defining piece of my Earth Mother.

Supporting Fabrics
Here are some of the supporting fabrics. They include an abstract designed rayon piece, some palm leaf cottons. a geometric, and roses. I have also collected some "aged" doilies and a beautiful rich brown tissue faille.

I bought a mixed box of old laces and linens on eBay and plan to incorporate them along with some folk hearts that Rian gave me. I have a pile of junk jewelry, leis from Hawaii, and some great beads, crosses and hearts. Buttons, ribbons and other trinkets will follow suit.Embellishments
More Embellishments

I plan to rubber stamp and stencil words for this quilt. I have not decided upon the words yet but I want them to reflect the relationship that Mary has with those who believe in her power. I plan to put the words on ribbons, tapes and sew them into the main grid of the design.

Mary Fabric
Here is another fabric that epitomizes how I envision Mary in my Fall quilt.

Please join me and Barbara as we begin planning and working on our Fall Madonna pieces. Our Reveal Deadline is the middle of November. We'll post progress pictures as we make some progress! ~~~Debra

Monday, September 05, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Relief

Debra has an entry in her blog on August 31 about one of the several efforts to make quilts for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Of course people also need donations of cash and food and water that many of us are making as well, but these quilts are not only for bodily comfort, but are also for emotional and spiritual support. We want the victims know that we recognize their terrible loses. Over the weekend I made these two simple quilts. This one is a stripy made from some left over pieced sections and augmented with coordinating fabrics.

The second quilt is a "shoebox" quilt. I made the top some time ago from leftover blocks. It was hanging in my closet, because it was long and skinny, and I thought I'd add to the sides as time went by. Well this was a perfect cot/ twin sized quilt, so I layered it along with the pink quilt.

I used flannel instead of batting (I recycle old sheets) and so they only needed basic quilting. I bound them by turning the backing to the front edges and topstitching.

These quilts are also for the makers. We need to feel that we can do something meaningful in the face of such overwhelming devastation. I'm sure I'll make more of these.