Grace and Poppy Quilt: Part 4

Well, here is where I am so far on the Grace and Poppy Quilt. I’ve got about the top two thirds pieced and the sun has been all reversed appliqued in the corner (though I am still in the process of trimming the pieces out).

GracePoppyWIP

Next I will finish up the bottom piece, in greens in browns, in the same free-flowing curvy style the top is done, and then I will reverse applique in the the actual flowers. I don’t know how I got onto this reverse-applique kick, but I’m gonna run with it for this quilt. It’s a little ’70’s, to be honest, but I’m OK with that in this setting.

After all that’s done, I’ll start piecing the back (yes, I am piecing the entire back… not entirely sure yet why, except, hey, why not?), and practice my free-motion quilting techniques (which means everyone I know is getting quilted potholders this holiday season) until I am ready to baste and quilt.

Onward and upwards!

Inspiration: Mary Ann Tipple Textile Art

I’ve been looking around at a lot of modern quilters and textile artists lately as I’ve been working on my quilting skills in general and working on how to merge photography (specifically old family photographs, which I have boxes and boxes of) with textile art. Fusing my family history with the utilitarian collective history of both photography and craft arts is something that has always interested me and been a prevalent theme in my own art, and it’s always interesting to see what others are doing in this realm as well.

And that’s how I ended up stumbling on Mary Ann Tipple‘s work. She has been working with old family and found photos for almost a decade.

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While her intention lies more in visual art than the utilitarian aspect of quilting (she transfers he images using gel-medium transfer techniques and often adds hard embellishments on the final quilts), I love her sense of history and the questioning of place in her work. You can see more oft Mary Ann Tipples work at her website, Textile Art Tipple.

The Etymology Behind the Colour

Ever wonder where certain colours got their names from? Well, Merriam-Webster decided to set our mind at ease and offers us a top-ten list of unusual colour names and where they came from.

Know what colour this is? And do you know where it got its name?

Know what colour this is? And do you know where it got its name?

Vermillion made the top of this list, followed by verdigris and titan. Bisque, puce, cattleya, smalt, damask, jasper, and bittersweet also make appearances.

Included with each colour name are interesting tidbits about art and culture, and, as all good dictionary blog posts should include, a history of the word itself.

So if you want to find out which color Francisco De Goya was so fond that people just started referring to it by his name, go check out the full list of colour names (and get your learning on) over at Merriam-Webster.

More Glances Into the Past

If you’ve read any of my posts, you’ll know that I’m in the middle of mucking about in a bunch of old family photos. The cool thing about my family photos is that I have thousands (yes, really, thousands) of prints and negatives going back 100 years. Both my great-grandmother, and my grandmother were both shutterbugs, and my grandmother kept all the negatives she could.

They both also took a lot of landscape photographs, and candid images of their families (as opposed to posed group shots), and that is primarily what I have been working with as of late.

One of the reasons I am starting to work with these images is because I am taking a photobook class. I signed up for the class mainly for the technical information (i.e. what makes a successful photobook? what is the history? what makes a successful series of images? when is a photobook the best format? etc.) that will aid with the new publishing venture in the upcoming year, and for some inspiration (as the class is being taught by one of my favorite contemporary northwest photographers).

The difference between me, and most of the other students in the class, is that they have a clear concept of one specific book they want to create. I, on the other hand, want all the information, and to be able to pick peoples brains, and see what is going on in the world of photobooks currently. But seeing as making a photobook is part of the class, I am using some of these old photographs and making what I hope will be a quiet contemplation of the land that my family farmed from 1912 through the late 1960’s. It’s a good exercise in editing, and I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Those people live again in print as intensely as when their images were captured on the old dry plates of sixty years ago . . . I am walking in their alleys, standing in their rooms and sheds and workshops, looking in and out of their windows. And they in turn seem to be aware of me.

An Unintentional Side Effect On Nature Stemming From Our Ego

How’s that for the longest title ever?!? Last month I blogged briefly about a current collaborative project I am working with a cohort of mine involving landscapes of civil war battle fields and other historical places we photographed in the deep south, namely Virginia, a few years ago. Well, in the few spare moments I have had in the last few weeks, I have thrown myself into researching and some abstract ideas have really started to form. Sometimes I have to photograph something, put it away for a while, and then revisit the project to really understand why I photographed something in the first place.

The main epiphany I had over the last few weeks is really the structural skeleton of the project that I have tried to put into words for the last few months. In the end, this project in not about civil war battles, or preserving historical events, but rather the unintentional side effect of creating spaces that are being largely untouched by the human hand and can start to regrow.

It remains a little thought about fact that the deep south’s natural resources have been cleared time and again in the last 300 years, and current forests are in their 2nd or 3rd regrowth stage (more about this is later), and the national parks created to educate and preserve historical cultural events (Jamestown, Civil War battlefields, etc) have created spaces where nature, for the first time in the area in centuries, is largely left to its own devices.

This is most visible in sites where smaller happenings occurred (i.e. The Battle of the Wilderness) where visitors are largely left to their own devices and trails make up a very small percentage of the actual parks, but even in larger destinations like Gettysburg and Jamestown, the visitor trails and attractions make up a fairly small part of the parks themselves, and much of the land is allowed to regrow from centuries of pillage. As I read on and hypothesis, I’ll have more to say on the subject, but for now I’ll let these thoughts stand.

The Fields

I need a break from Hereditics. I’ve been immersed in family photos and history for the last six weeks, and my mind is spinning in circles. So I turned  my thoughts to a collaborative project that has been on hold for the last few years. It involves civil war battle fields, and nature’s ability to heal while the traces of humanity can still be seen. And environmental consequences. It fascinated me, moving from the northwest to the south from the very beginning, that I found myself in the area of the U.S. with the richest colonial history, and the tree’s surrounded me seemed so young, while back home, the redwoods grow so big and tall you can easily for five people, standing fingertip to fingertip around a tree’s circumference. The reason for this discrepancy is actually quite simple: when Europeans first came over to the America’s, they took whatever they wanted, and that included that land. Which resulted in essential clear-cutting the southern east coast, which means many of the trees in the southern east are second-growth forests. There’s a whole book on the subject, and I’m sure much more information is out there where I will discover as I delve further into the research aspect of this project. But that’s not the point. The point was to show that destruction and recovery, and for that, the collaboration took me and my cohort to places that have been preserved strictly because of their historical significance, places that are already healing from the human presence strictly because of their significant human presence. It will be a long road I think, at least a 4-5 months, of going through negatives and research and formulating thoughts.

Rolleiflex k4; Iford HP5 B&W