Friday, October 12, 2012

Inspiration from Creative and Talented Women


 About a month ago, a friend in Houston, Janice Shindler, posted a photo on Facebook of a beautifully executed modern quilt.  A little bell clanged in my head. Not quite as loud as the church bells, but an "aha" bell.  I commented to Janice how lovely it was and that I would like to create quilts like that - not traditional quilts.

A little while later, I remembered that my friend Mary Carruth is an avid quilter, among many other things, and is involved in a quilt group.  I called her.  We talked the following week during half-time of a LSU football game and made plans for me to attend the next quilting get-together which was yesterday.

This is not your mother's old fashioned quilting bee.  This is an extremely talented and creative group of women with a wide variety of interests.  Yesterday there was show and tell.  Then a short program on dyeing yarn with natural dyes.  Dyes such as marigold leaves, pomegranate bark, indigo, and many other items.  Fascinating.

The quilts that were shown were made from old clothes, scraps and leftovers.  A myriad of things to add texture and interest.  My brain was racing with ideas.

The skillful placement of patterns and colors added the contemporary look to these wall hangings or quilts.  Quite a bit of applique work also.

 These leaves were so puffed up and unique.  Quite intricate looking.

THIS was my favorite because of its whimsical look due to its color and embellishment.
 

Fascinating to me was this process where men's ties were taken and transferred onto silk.  These pieces will be cut out to create something wonderful.  I could see a jacket out of the pieces.

 Not to be out done by contemporary items, one woman had found these quilt pieces.  All had been pieced by hand.  Judging by the fabrics, they are from the 20's or 30's and were found in Vermont.  Just holding them made me wonder, who was this woman, how long did it take her to make all these pieces, why didn't she finish the project, etc. etc. etc. 

After I left the quilting group, I walked home with Mary to her home.  She has the ultimate studio for quilting and sewing and whatever else she wishes to create.  I hate to admit how much I envied her this space.  But, I did.........and do.

 However, I sewed for a living when the children were young for many years.  Not only did I sew clothes but I made custom applique workshirts which were the "rage" back then.  I had a teeny tiny corner in our bedroom by a window. An old rattle-trap sewing machine and somehow I was still able to create and make more money then I could imagine.  Even back then in the 70's, I was able to get close to $100 US for one custom appliqued shirt!

My goal is to get an inexpensive machine in Houston next month to sew with since I gave my machines to women in the countryside to make a living.  One that has many stitches and begin to create again.  Who knows where it will lead me.  I need to get my creative juices flowing again.

I can't wait to go to the traveling market (tianquis) on Tuesday and see if I see any unique old clothes or fabrics to use.  I'm starting from square one.  No fabrics, no implements, no machine.  This will be fascinating to see if I come up with something. 

First off will be to make quilts for the grandchildren - that's 7.  Check back with me in six months and see if I have accomplished that goal.

Those women really inspired me!
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9 comments:

Christine said...

You go girl!

maria luz said...

I am thrilled for you Barb! I used to do my clothes, and all of my bedding and drapery items, and I did quilting with my Mississippi Grandma in the summer as a child. Now, I am getting into crochet and am thinking of getting my jewelry company back up and running. I saw so much in Mexico over these last months and the juices are flowing again. To say it is target rich is an understatement.

If you feel it in your soul, and you do, it will be a go!! Best wishes for your new adventure!!

Hugs!
maria luz

Babs said...

I've had a creative block for a number of years. Just couldn't get my groove back. Writing was the only outlet. We'll see what happens. Thanks for the encouragement Christine and Maria Luz

Kay Cox said...

Oh Babs...can't wait for you to get here and let's talk. I will give you some old issues of Quilting Arts magazine and I'll be on the lookout for machines. Sew Contempo usually sells their demo machines for a really good price after the Quilt Show is over.
I will also show you a fun stuffed critter with a zipper mouth that is fun to make from scraps. Also the purse I made from scraps. We gotta talk!

Shannon said...

That's quite an ambitious project Barbara. 7 quilts! However, with your artistic background I have no doubt that you will accomplish it.
Some of the designs created by the quilting group were really lovely!

Benne' Rockett said...

WOW! That whole passage on wondering about the life of the woman who created those vintage pieces really rang a bell for me. Years ago I used a crazy quilt as the canvas for a painting. I had the same visceral response that you did when I first touched that quilt. The back had lovely stains. I could imagine grandchildren spilling chicken soup (or maybe even peeing) on this comfort quilt. And the whole quilting bee concept is a comforting reality. Can't wait to see post images of your creations!

Babs said...

Kay, you KNOW I can't wait to get up there and see you, your creations and get some supplies to start. CU in November/December.

Shannon, I didn't say how long it would take me to get 7 done - possibly a lifetime, ha.

Benne, it was interesting how touching that fabric set off emotions in me. There were such teeny tiny hand stitches. They were so neatly done. A precious thing to see.

Judy said...

Yeah! I love it when someone is re-bitten with the creative sewing bug!

If my mother and her mother were typical, the Vermont quilter got a wild hair and just decided to make Dresden Plate blocks with a vague notion of some quilts in the future.

Babs said...

Judy - I have SO missed not having a machine. Rebitten is an understatement. I've been pouring over all kinds of magazines for two days. If I were ten people I couldn't or wouldn't have time left in my life to do all the things that are running around in my head! Ha.

I'm leaning toward wanting to create wearable clothing using quilting as some of the medium for some things....