Archive for the ‘exhibits’ Category

my Quilt National 17 experience…

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Defining Moments 12: NO Means NO

I have just returned from a quick weekend trip to OH for the opening of the 20th biennial exhibit of Quilt National. My work Defining Moments 12: NO Means NO was juried into this prestigious venue, one of 85 chosen from a pool of nearly 800 entries. My brain feels a bit like that spinning ball on a slow website…processing, processing.

Of the 85 works exhibited, six¬†were ‘quiet works’, i.e. those with¬†a message, whether it be social justice, women rights, politics, environment or disease. That¬†surprised me the most, that there were so few narrative works and¬†yet I felt gratitude that my¬†work was¬†selected and is being seen, and honored to be there as witness. Some folks, especially in the heartland, do not want to view¬†anything graphic ¬†or ‘controversial’ in quilts. As example my colleague Kathy Nida had a quilt yanked from an exhibit last year because a viewer thought she saw a penis in it and complained. There was no penis. Talk about censorship!

My work addresses the insidious problem of campus rape and more specifically my own experience, 50 years ago. In my work Defining Moments 12: NO Means NO,  I wrote the story of my 1967 campus rape and screen-printed it to white cloth to represent my lost virginity. I made a bias slash into the fabric to emphasize how this act of aggression disrupted my sense of personal safety and peace of mind. Then I added hand-stitching, starting with a freeing stitch at the top and increasing its intensity as my hand traveled down the work. This is where I really tapped into my anger over the assault and the shame that I had not reported it. The overall shape of the stitching reflects on the potential for pregnancy which thankfully did not happen.

I had to give two x 2 minute artist talks about the work. Although I have done a lot of public speaking, I was a tad nervous talking about such a personal subject to strangers. The compilation of talks will appear later on a Quilt National 17 DVD and also on You Tube. I will post a link when that becomes available.

me and my work on display at Quilt National 17The second talk was for the other artists and VIPs. Although I have done a lot of public speaking, I was nervous speaking about such a personal experience. Despite all the exposure from my Tall Girl Series I felt like carved open speaking publicly about this piece. And yet many thanked me for my courage.

One of the jurors was Nancy Crow, grande dame of the art quilt world. Eighteen pieces in this exhibit were derivative of her work. They were all bright, stunning, exquisite, abstract works of art. The many hours, days, weeks and years artists spent studying with her at the Crow Barn were quite¬†evident. They were large, hung perfectly flat, as if a sheet of paper and not draping cloth. The stitching was sheer perfection with¬†lines no more than 1/4″ apart. The remainder of the exhibit was¬†interesting work, some 3-D, and¬†beautifully constructed, well conceived ‘pretty’ quilts.

My favorite piece overall was that of Sue Benner. She designed a huge work of recycled clothing cuffs. Each cuff was the requisite three layers and they were stitched together by color groupings using tear away stabilizer and thread. It was just spectacular. One could see through it and it was just wonderful.

Sue Benner, QN 17, reverse side with pole accent

Undoubtedly, the best part of the weekend was real time meeting of so many colleagues I know from social media. To re-acquaint with artists I have met through SAQA, get to know artists who traveled from far off lands like Australia, Switzerland, Israel and Canada; make new friends, the networking, sharing; and especially meeting, sharing a car, hotel room and conversation with the dynamic rising star Amy Meissner from Alaska. It was pure pleasure to meet Judith Martin whose work has absolutely enthralled me for some time. She creates huge pieces, slowly and methodically hand stitching which are absolutely stunning.

I traveled three time zones and back in four days. I plan to rest up a bit and then on to #20 and more truth telling. This narrative work is tough at times but I do like the impact it makes when it goes out into the world. My work in Quilt National will exhibit at the Dairy Barn until September 4 and then will travel for two years.

Oh the places it will go!

stop making small…

Friday, November 18th, 2016
scrap purses

scrap purses

One of the problems of being creative in a capitali$t society is people always say you could sell that. As an exhibiting member in artists’ co-ops, that has often been music to my ears as I have had an outlet for $tuff I could $ell!

It is also appealing from the sense that it is a great way to gain exposure for my large work while smaller work pays the rent. And I know they are some who mass-produce small items to make a profit in their respective galleries and good for them. But¬†I have long struggled with the idea of making ‚Äėstuff‚Äô just to $ell.

For me it has always been a huge investment of my time and materials with little gratification in return. I am constantly retraining my brain so that when someone says you could sell that, I take it simply as a compliment and go no further with it. And yet I forget and once again find myself in sweatshop assembly line hell. Seemingly I needed this reminder once again.

I started sewing these small purses as a fun, quirky way to use up scraps. Each one is unique, one of a kind etc. They take on average 90 mins to construct, from scraps, purchased buttons and cord straps. Initially I sold many, which justified to me the rent I paid to show my larger work; the work that resonates in my soul; the true reason I am an artist.

Last summer I received a phone call from someone who had picked up my biz card in the gallery. She wanted to know if I would sew her a custom scrap bag in specific colors to go with (fill in the blank.) I simply said no! She seemed shocked that I would say no! Would I not be grateful that someone liked my work so much that I would welcome a custom order? What kind of ingrate am I anyway? Do I not appreciate the below minimum wage I am making for these fine bags? Sensing¬†her palpable shock I added that I merely sew¬†these to use up scraps from my large ‚Äėmuseum quality‚Äô work; and that making the bags was not my primary creative endeavor. She found a quick way to hang up. I felt liberated!

Then an artist acquaintance called suggesting I take my tote bags to a nearby boutique run by a friend of her sister’s neighbor’s brother-in-law, twice removed. I could sell those in this shop! I told her I wasn’t interested. I have been down that long narrow retail hallway before, selling hand-dyed, screen printed silk scarves. It is not what I want to do with my time. She was quite annoyed that I did not relish this golden retail opportunity!

I have managed to find the strength deep within to just say NO to painting shoes for sale. How many times have I heard you could sell those while wearing my painted chucks? I have painted them for friends, because I don’t mind doing that, but no way am I going to subject myself to hours of fumes for the almighty $. And besides do you have these in pink in a size 6? NO.

This said, recently I was asked to sew up a bunch more of the scrap bags for holiday sales at the gallery and elsewhere. Earlier this year I had sewn a bunch of ‚Äėblanks‚Äô i.e. the pieced scrap backs so essentially the work was already half done. And yet I could not pry myself away my current series to sew these little bags. Finally forcing myself to do it, the first one took me nearly 2 hours to get back into the sweatshop assembly line groove. Once I got a rhythm going it was better but I kept feeling like I did not want to be doing this.

You know how sometimes you just get a feeling about something, but you keep ignoring it? Well this time it took two artist friends, in the span of two days to tell me to stop making small stuff! Stop making stuff that other people want me to make and make stuff that I want to make! DUH.

Of course then the daughter-of-the-war-bride steps in and says, yeah, but…or as I like to abbreviate yebbit.. what am I to do with all this stuff I have made (that never sold although you could sell that?!) This is where the helpful people step in and say, you could open an Etsy shop! Yeah, that is also what I don’t want to do. I want to get out of the small stuff biz entirely. So for now I will just put it all away or I may just donate it to charity before year’s end and take a tax deduction. Yes I could do that!

Some of the small stuff I have made under the guise of you could sell that is… iPad bags & large tote bags made from early quilts, matted collages,

matted collages

matted collages

portfolio folders collaged with batik & painted papers & foreign newspapers; fabric postcards and note cards. The latter sell, some of the former has sold but there has also been a lot of could I get one in red and black? Could you make these in a smaller size? Could you make four for me to choose from?

quilted tote bags

quilted tote bags

So this latest round of spectacular scrap bags are a limited edition! I am finished thinking small (she says optimistically). I LOVE the museum quality work I am doing. I am done with small.

As a friend says…NO is a complete sentence! So I continue to learn to play attention to that inner nudge and take better care of myself. After all that is pricele$$.

 

 

 

great news…

Monday, September 26th, 2016
detail, Defining Moments 12: No Means NO

detail, Defining Moments 12: No Means NO

Apparently I did not blog post earlier about this piece and now I have very wonderful news. The Cliff Notes version is Defining Moments 12: No Means NO has been juried into the biennial Quilt National 2017.

With just 11% of the entries chosen for the 2017 exhibit it is a highly competitive process to have one’s work accepted. I have entered other years and my work never¬†made the cut. The last time I entered was 2009 as knee replacements stole my attention after that. This year I entered just the one piece as I¬†felt it conveyed¬†a very important message as well as good crafts(wo)manship. Traditionally the rules have disallowed online publication of said work before the exhibit opens, so the piece is not on my website nor have I posted it in total anywhere. But I will give you a taste, a detail of the hand-stitching which made this work so remarkable.

The design¬†evolved¬†when the Stanford swimmer got such a lenient sentence for his sexual assault on campus. His ‘victim’ wrote a very profound letter which stirred my repressed feelings about my own campus rape over¬†50 years ago. I got really angry, and I felt shame (for not reporting it). I¬†was just about to¬†commit to fight for social justice for women on college campuses nationwide when¬†I realized I hate being an activist! I’d rather make art. So make art I did. I made a new #12, squeezing it between two previous pieces in the series.

I screen printed my own story to white cotton, slashed to represent the shattering of my sense of personal safety and trust, and then hand-stitched like crazy. As I neared the bottom of the piece my stitching became much more intense and deliberate. Afterwards I realized that was old emotion leaking though.

There has been some rumbling on social media from artists whose work was declined. Some say no one wants to see narrative work, no one wants to be told a story. They want to see only beautiful quilts, work they would love to hang in their home. To these artists I say three things.

One, everyone is different. If we were all the same and made all the same work, how bloody boring would that be? Secondly, while I appreciate a beautiful quality piece suitable for the living room as much as the next person, I feel storytelling/narrative work also has a place. It takes great courage to excavate these old stories but in doing so¬†we give others permission to think about and tell their own…and everyone has a story! This work starts conversation. Just think what a different world we would live in if more people felt permission to speak their truth instead of bury it in addiction or aggression. And finally,¬†it is simply¬†good¬†karma to be happy for your colleagues’ success.

 

out and about…

Saturday, July 30th, 2016
detail of stitching on  canvas

detail of stitching on canvas

Another month has zipped by…do we see a pattern here? I continue on my series which I am so loving. I worry a bit about what I will do when I finish it next year but then I chase that thought away. I will deal with that when I get there. In the meantime I am having such a great time.

I am currently doing some handwork on #12 which was an afterthought piece. And I have gathered the memorabilia and collectibles to begin #15 which is about meeting Mr. Right. I have some great things to work with including his Eagle Scout sash and uniform, which is another sacred garment to dismantle!

Last week I took a four day jaunt up to Portland to see good friends¬†and to take an art class at OCAC. Synchronistically both Franki¬†and I have been craving some hand-stitching so Radical Embroidery seemed to be just the ticket. It was a great class taught by Victoria May, and chock full of inspiration from the work of other hand-stitchers and our classmates. By the fourth day my stitching became very radical and I was enamored with stitching again. While I plan to complete my class samples eventually, I went straight to work on #12 when I got home. Details to follow…

Napa county salt pond,...looks like a Diekenborn

Napa county salt pond

In the meantime my work was selected for a future issue of Art Quilting Studio magazine so I need to prepare the text for that. And also had work chosen for the Boundaries exhibit at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. I went to the opening reception last night and was very intrigued by a photography exhibit on sexual abuse in one of the smaller¬†galleries within the center. It was crowded and I could not get close enough to read the statements, so when I went back today to give my spiel for the docents’ talk I went through the photography exhibit.

I was so moved. Here is another woman, another artist, speaking her truth, telling her-story which is by no means pretty. This was my first experience since going public with my own story, to read and observe another’s. Stephanie Hamilton-Oravetz¬†was there so I spoke to her and told her how meaningful her work was. Actually the photography was done by another, but she was the model, acting out her childhood¬†emotions for the sexual abuse she suffered. It was such profound & moving work. She and I agreed that so much healing came to us from telling our stories. And it reminded me again how every single one of us has a story. Yet¬†very few have the courage to speak it. To do so is extremely liberating. So I keep on…telling stories while I¬†observe my own¬†transformation¬†from visual artist to storyteller. It may just be what I’ve needed to be doing all along.

stories of migration…

Thursday, April 21st, 2016
GWU Museum & Textile Museum, April 15-Sept 4, 2016

Stories of Migration at GWU Museum & Textile Museum

A week ago today my daughter & I were winging our way to Washington DC for a long weekend & the opening of Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora at the George Washington University Museum & Textile Museum. 

I am honored to have my work Defining Moments 7: Fleeing the City chosen for this prestigious venue and exhibit, which runs until September 2016.

Defining Moments 7: Fleeing the City

Defining Moments 7: Fleeing the City

Most¬†of the artists whose work was juried into this exhibit ‘migrated’ to our nation’s capitol for the opening. There were many¬†festivities including a videotaping of artists talking about our work, an opening reception for artists, their guest and members of the museum; an artists’ talk during the public opening, a private lunch with the director of the museum, a walk-through with the museum’s curator and a group¬†photo.

In addition¬†we¬†took in¬†three highly-rated vegan establishments for yummy fare, had dinner with good friends of mine also ‘in town’ for the weekend, visited with¬†my¬†long-time¬†peers, artists from all over the country; explored¬†DC by¬†Metro, walked a lot, slept little and tried to get into the Renwick for the new WONDER exhibit, for which we were unsuccessful & and had martinis at the Hay Adams Hotel bar called Off the Record!¬†Then we turned around early Sunday morn and flew home.

IMG_2529

We were dazzled by spring in DC…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always I took many¬†aerial photos along the way. I am¬†particularly inspired by salt ponds, around Salt Lake City and on San Francisco Bay. People always say to me, there’s a ‘quilt’ in that; although a photo often¬†serves its purpose by just being. So many ideas, so little time!

various salt retention ponds

Back to Diaspora…if you plan to be in the Washington DC area before September 4, 2016, go see this exhibit. You will not be disappointed. There are two floors of¬†exquisite work, many¬†pieces 3-D as well as video presentations and many¬†personal family stories of migration. It is a fascinating & interesting¬†exhibit of which I am so proud to have my work included.

Even the staircase is artful! Stories of Migration_Logo

staircase, Textile Museum

staircase, Textile Museum

reflections…

Friday, March 4th, 2016

reflectionsI spent hours today looking for ‘new work’ to submit to two juried exhibits. It was a fruitless effort which brought up a major pet peeve on this¬†subject. Dated work is something that happens predominantly in the quilt/art quilt world. It doesn’t happen so much, if ever in the fine art world. Galleries seldom, if ever, say no work made before 2013.

Since I have been engrossed in a three-year collaborative series since 2014 all my new work has been predominantly series work. I have taken time out to make a small piece for a fundraiser here or a members show there, but mostly nose to the grindstone on the collaboration.  It galls me no end that entry prospectus writers/curators request work made since a particular date; and that said date is usually just one or two years prior to today.

Granted there are clueless people who will enter the first piece they ever made in 1990 but most professional artists do not enter work to (a) “get rid of it” or (b) that is not their best work. Why on Earth would I want to show work that does not speak to who I am as an artist? Besides if they did allow entries from 1990, these shows are juried so the old work can easily be found and plucked from the pile. Think of the money they could make from all these fees for old work submissions! Another subject for another day…

People might say, well just make a new piece that fits the parameters of the call. I could but some 7-8 years ago I vowed to never make work specifically for an entry call. Never say never but mostly¬†I do not create work for someone else’s muse, only for my own. So that said I have nothing that fits the DATED call and so will not be entering my work. It is their loss really, as I see it. My work could add so much substance to their exhibit, were they not so rigid in their vision.

11, 12 and new…

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

I recall my grandmother at about my current age telling my 20 yr old self that time passes more quickly the older one gets. At the time I just thought, well, she’s old. Now I get it and I see it everywhere, like on laundry day. Is it really 12 days since I last did laundry? On the Wii Fit, what? 5 days since I last used it? Or today, as the second month of the New Year draws¬†to a close and I haven’t blogged for a month?

What I have been doing this past month is working on the collaborative series, doing Arts Guild board biz/lead communicator for our big fundraiser, and searching for a new rescue pup.

Defining Moments #11 in process

Defining Moments #11 in process

I am now stitching #11 which I hope will be the last piece I ever do about my surgeries. I thought long and hard about how I wanted to make a profound yet simple statement and I am thrilled to say that has been accomplished. What also feels like closure to the tale is the backing fabric is from the early Tall Girl Series art cloth I designed. I plan to use more fabrics from that series for the facings and sleeve as well. As number 12 is percolating in my brain I am thinking a lot about hand-writing the stories to cloth rather than printing them. With a total of 25 to do, coming up almost to the halfway point is very gratifying!

In the meantime my exemplary skills as a volunteer were heralded in the latest issue of the SAQA Journal. And I have been worker bee extraordinaire for the annual Arts Guild off Sonoma REPO show. This is a very quirky show comprised of donated artwork made of minimally 70% recycled materials. Over seventy artists are donating work. The show is up March 5-26 . Check the website for details.

Keeping Up Appearances #11, vintage cotton tablecloth

Keeping Up Appearances #11, vintage cotton tablecloth

I am submitting two pieces of the Keeping Up Appearances series; #11 and #12 to REPO. ¬†KUA #11¬†is a dye-painted screen-printed vintage 50’s cotton tablecloth. When viewed close-up the stencil printing of that era is apparent through the surface design. In addition KUA #12 was also dye-painted and screen-printed with etiquette text on mid-century pink and red monogrammed linen dinner napkins.

Finally, ever since we lost our old dog Millie last summer I have been perusing rescue sites. We rescued/then ¬†surrendered a jack russell mix last fall. It was heartbreaking and I was pretty sure then I was finished with rescuing dogs. As defiant I was in my resolve I continued to search and last weekend cast a wider net finding exactly what I was looking for…a terrier mix that was neither pittie nor chihuahua. So this week we went to Monterey and adopted this wire haired sweet girl we have named Mopsy.

Mopsy

Mopsy

And so we begin anew…she is already in training to be my ever faithful studio companion!

field trip

Monday, January 25th, 2016
Torn Earth, detail

Torn Earth, detail

Today hubs and I took a field trip to see Earth Stories at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. The stars aligned with a dry forecast, moderate¬†weekend traffic as opposed to heavier weekday traffic and best of all no Super Bowl festivities! We¬†returned through San Francisco¬†on a gorgeous clear,¬†sunny winter’s day. It was well worth the trip and a fun date!

All the work juried into this exhibit dealt with an environmental issue. My work Torn Earth celebrates the work of Architecture for Humanity, a non-profit firm dedicated to building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design. The organization’s projects focus on post-disaster development, design and reconstruction of seismic resistant housing.

Torn Earth

 

 

 

I had perused the exhibit catalog but there is nothing like seeing the work up close and personal. It was really intriguing to see how each artist dealt with their own particular cause. I was really¬†pleased that my work was installed correctly and that the journal of my work was holding up well despite lots of travel and handling. Several¬†of the journals were falling apart;¬†some¬†were detailed and interesting¬†while others¬†left me wondering about the artist’s process.

Light Towers by Mirjam Pet-Jacobs

Light Towers by Mirjam Pet-Jacobs

 

 

The pieces I most wanted to see did not disappoint, like Dutch artist, Mirjam Pet-Jacobs’¬†Light Towers¬†about energy saving lightbulbs. The piece was silk organza with lights wired within the layers. The¬†engineering feat alone was impressive, and made an impact;¬†yet it had to be flexible enough to pack and ship abroad.

Another that had caught my eye was Alternative vs. Fossil Fuels by Cynthia St. Charles. Her extensively screen-printed background was stunning and engaging using different texts, in varied fonts but in similar color paint.

Alternative vs. Fossil Fuels by Cynthia St. Charles

Alternative vs. Fossil Fuels by Cynthia St. Charles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathy Nida’s¬†Wise Choice¬†was a piece was one that could be examined¬†for hours. There was so much intricate detail. Just beautiful and intriguing work!

Wise Choice by Kathy Nida

Wise Choice by Kathy Nida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both Kathy York’s Crowded House

Crowded House by Kathy York

Crowded House by Kathy York

 

and Paula Kovarik’s Stream of Consequences were chock full of surprise. Kathy decided to count the stuff in her house which took her six months. She then wrote all the 56344 items on the work.¬†After the exhibit will she¬†have 56345?

Crowded House, detail

Crowded House by Kathy York, detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One could’ve breezed by Paula’s and think, oh, pretty work, until stepping closer to examine the stitching which was remarkable. The story lie in the details!

Stream of Consequences by Paula Kovarik

Stream of Consequences by Paula Kovarik

Stream of Consequences by Paula Kovarik, detail

Stream of Consequences by Paula Kovarik, detail

 

 

Hope is The Thing With Feathers by Mary Pal, detail

Hope is The Thing With Feathers by Mary Pal, detail

Mary Pal’s cheesecloth image of Dr. George Archibald in Hope is the Thing With Feathers was really gorgeous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Valya’s He Knew That She Knew That I Know was stunning on a bright red wall. The detail was as interesting¬†as the entire piece.

He Knew That She Knew That I Know, by Valya

He Knew That She Knew That I Know, by Valya

He Knew That She Knew That I Know by Valya, detail

He Knew That She Knew That I Know by Valya, detail

Tender Gardens by Marion Coleman

Tender Gardens by Marion Coleman

 

I also loved Marion Coleman’s Tender Gardens about community gardens in San Francisco’s Tenderloin where there are no grocery stores.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Leni Levenson Wiener’s It’s A Shell of a Problem about the endangered turtle and tortoise species worldwide

It's A Shell of A Problem by Leni Leveson Weiner

It’s A Shell of A Problem by Leni Levenson Weiner

Lynn Krawczyk’s Latte Landfill ¬†was¬†about 40% of stuff¬†in the landfill being paper products and coffee cups.

Latte Landfill by Lynn Krawczyk

Latte Landfill by Lynn Krawczyk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Noriko Endo’s Woodland, another intricate and stunning piece from her woods series

Woodland by Noriko Endo

Woodland by Noriko Endo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exhibit is up until February 28. You might want to go see it!

Earth Stories at San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Earth Stories 

 

 

Earth Stories at San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Earth Stories

 

 

going places…

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
Defining Moments 7: Fleeing the City

Defining Moments 7: Fleeing the City

I received great news today that one of the pieces from my ongoing collaboration with Marion Coleman was juried into Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora at the newly renovated Textile Museum in Washington, DC from April 15-September 4, 2016.

The jurors Rebecca A.T. Stevens and Lee Talbot, chose my work “Fleeing the City”; one of 39 pieces chosen from 292 entries. Beyond the thrill of the¬†venue and the prestigious jurors who understood¬†what I was communicating with this piece, is the joy of this being¬†my afterthought entry.¬†This is not the first time my ‘afterthought’ entry was accepted for an exhibit. It has happened twice before. There is obviously a¬†lesson in that.

I was able to¬†submit three pieces so the first two were Defining Moments 1 about my maternal great-grandparents and their emigration from Russia in 1899 for religious freedom. The second piece I entered was Defining Moments 2¬† about my paternal grandparents’ predecessors emigrating from Wales and Ireland to farm in the Midwest.

And then I thought¬†that¬†this piece Fleeing the City is about a different kind of migration. A mid-20th century migration of whites ‘fleeing the city’ for the suburbs so their children could go to school with¬†their same kind. The piece was based on a direct quote from my father ten years ago before he was struck with¬†dementia. I had asked him what motivated the move to the East Bay¬†suburbs from San Francisco and his response was ‘so you kids would not have to go to school with colored children.” I was so¬†shocked by his answer¬†that it seemed an important piece for this collaborative series.

The text at the bottom of the piece is comprised of my elementary school photos where all faces were white. The word COLORED is comprised of¬†Marion’s¬†elementary school photos.

This acceptance has renewed my inspiration¬†to¬†continue on making work¬†that says something and¬†makes¬†an impact. Undoubtedly there are some who’d prefer I would just zip it while¬†I find narrative work really meaty,¬†challenging and¬†timeless. I do love making beautiful abstract work but so often anymore I¬†question how many pretty quilts can a girl make?!

studio purge…

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Like several of my friends I got bitten by the TIDY bug and have done my clothes, most of my office and now taking a quick break from the collaboration to do the studio. The most important thing to mention off the top is I do not like clutter so I’ve continually sorted the studio for years. That said, wow have I found a lot of clutter! ¬†I annually sort through all my fabric and donate anything that does not ring my bell. Fortunately the last several¬†years I have not bought much commercial fabric but have designed a lot of fabric which has filled in the space.

What I cannot part with are mostly journals. I have at least a dozen half-filled notebooks of various sizes where I took notes in a class, made notes on a trip, wrote daily gratitude for years, made sketches of garments I wanted to sew or knit, sketches of random scenery, quotes I wanted to remember, and just thoughts about life. They do not exactly spark joy and yet my adult life is contained within the pages. So they are simply going to a new shelf to be reunited.

"Louis Feraud's Fall '96 collection was "leaves" ad 200 sewing hours later this gown may represent the collections finest hour…" -THREADS April/May 1997

“Louis Feraud’s Fall ’96 collection was “leaves” ad 200 sewing hours later this gown may represent the collections finest hour‚Ķ” -THREADS April/May 1997

One of the things I found so entertaining though was the progression of the saved articles. Step 1: (30 years ago) for a decade I saved every issue of every sewing & knitting related magazine I received (monthly), with the idea that ‘someday’ I might want to refer back to them. Only after my husband complained about the weight on the shelf did I consider tossing them.

Step 2: (20 years ago) I diligently browsed through a decade of old magazines,¬†pulled the articles that most appealed to me (at that time) and put them on a shelf.¬†I bundled leftover magazines and put out on recycling day. The total amount was 7′ wide!

Step 3: (19 years ago) about a year later I decided to actually file said articles in a binder, so I invested in several boxes of plastic sleeves, sorted the articles into categories: sewing, knitting, design, quilting, etc and filed into a 4″ binder and put it on said shelf. Occasionally in the last decade I have leafed through the huge and heavy binder looking for just that perfect whatever I wanted to make. Most often I was looking for knitting ideas.

Step 4: today. I went through the binder and tossed everything I would never make nor read. When I finished I had a 3″ stack of empty plastic sleeves and just enough articles to put into a 1″ binder‚Ķlikely to be tossed in another future purge!

unemployed plastic sleeves

unemployed plastic sleeves

What amused me most is how much space, energy and time these old magazines took up in my life. How I never went back to read anything ¬†except a few knitting patterns and even then did not knit them. ¬†One good thing that came from the great magazine purge of 20 years ago, is every magazine I’ve read since I tore out what I wanted to keep while I was reading¬†and then tossed it into the recycling bin. I found I tore out far¬†less when I actually had to do something with it in the moment.

Fast forward to present time and nearly all articles we once clung to can now be found online, anyway.