Looking at the loose chevron weave of the fabric, combinations of forms emerged in my head. This is spatial reasoning which has everyday applications because it involves problem solving. Multiple studies show that early music instruction is linked to enhanced spatial reasoning abilities. Overall, learning to play a musical instrument has many mental, cognitive and emotional health benefits and should be emphasized in primary education.
No activity uses the entire brain like playing music. To illustrate, when our eyes see musical notes our brain converts these abstract symbols to appropriate timed sounds executed in rhythm by the coordination of our fingers/hands/feet. The result is improved fine motor, reading, listening, concentration and math skills.
Nearly 2,400 years ago Plato said, “I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.”
37”h x 35”w
Hand stitched, hand quilted, warp and weft threads were pulled then gathered into a tassel.
Found fabric, found metal ring, found wool batting, embroidery floss, thread, cotton backing.
Make Do and Mend
Today it's simply not enough that we use a recycle bin and donate unwanted stuff. More paramount is examining our consumer habits and sensibilities.
It wasn't that long ago when clothing and household purchases were intended to last years or even one's lifetime. Now the lifespan of personal items measures weeks or months. Consequently, there's a tremendous cost to natural resources and, unwittingly, even to our psychic health. An attitude of detachment and short-term view pervades our lifestyles. Discard and replace has become the norm rather than take the time to patch a tear or sew a button.
We can choose to see beauty not discord, see worth not trash. Creatively utilize items we already own and rejuvenate tired ones.
33”h x 46”w x 1”d
Machine stitched, hand quilted, hand beaded, hand appliqued, hand sewn button holes, garland pieces were hand sanded to obscure holiday motif and enhance texture and attached to be functional buttons.
Damaged tablecloth, recycled fabric, discarded plastic garland, faux fur from outgrown childs clothing, leftover beads from kids activity kit, cotton thread, found thread, cotton blend batting, commercial cotton backing.
House Home Hive Habitat
Some years back I decided to replace a large swath of lawn with native plants and learn to garden. I hoped to conserve water and create a more attractive outdoor space. Where there were none, I was thrilled with the abundance of new wildlife. The colors of blooming flowers drew bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to my fledgling garden.
Simple individual acts such as choosing native plants and avoiding pesticides support habitat for pollinators.
Not only do bees give us honey, they also pollinate almost half of our food crops worldwide. While honey bees are identified as the most important single species of pollinator in the world, there are alarming reports of diminished and collapsed bee colonies.
This abstract house with windows, rooms and walls of flowers represents the bees' habitat as well as the home shared by all creatures on earth. An hourglass on the door links to Albert Einstein's dire warning..."if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, man would have only four years to live".
Follow the lines. Utilizing basic plain weave and counting stitches, linear and geometric forms were created. I find the process and results akin to nature. Whether a snowflake or wildflowers blanketing a prairie, it's not random at all, rather it's always a congruent form or pattern.
Today, our natural environment and conservation are inseparable topics. Repurposing a coffee bean sack as my blank canvas, grid work inspired the creation of this piece.
Along the way, all the wool ends hung loosely inside the sack creating volume and warmth. And working this piece on my lap I appreciated this extra heat during those frigid winter days. Baby quilts had come to mind. I added cotton batting and stitched the layers together accentuating the visual lines.
The mixed materials from fine wool to the common raffia challenge the notions of value. Use once and toss is sadly too familiar. An item has worth when we choose to hold onto it and use it responsibly.
Nature was the visual imagery that guided this project. I thought of landscapes with rolling hills, wind rustling the leaves, clouds moving overhead, water flowing and shaping the earth, and even of fire as renewing life. As the project came together, these thoughts were condensed to 'fire, air, water and earth' which represent four of the five basic elements in ancient philosophies. And the term quintessence literally means 'the fifth element' in Latin.
Our natural environment consists of more than just that which are tangible. I think it's inherently spiritual and esoteric as well — possibly even otherworldly at times.
Quilts inspired this project as the title references the traditional method of stitching small fabric blocks to create a whole, designed in ornamental patterns.
I'm drawn to the resourcefulness of quilters past who repurposed fabric scraps and constructed something utilitarian that's just as pleasing to behold. More than that, each quilt is an original, relying on the remnants at hand and the patience and skill of the quilter.
With Pieced, I had the opportunity to showcase the bountiful qualities of natural woods in all their many hues and unique characteristics. All woods in Pieced are presented in their natural state, no color additives were used.
2.08.18 Awarded BEST OF SHOW at ArtSpace Gallery’s Transformation Group Exhibit, presented by the Round Rock Arts Council.