Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Carmela pillow project

I recently had the great honor of creating a special project for a family who lost their maternal grandmother last year. Blouses and smocks which Carmela had worn or purchased recently were given to me to make into pillows for the surviving family members.

Here is a picture of Carmela as a young woman, looking so much like her granddaughter Angelina.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dog Tooth Borders

These are some nine inch mats I made recently. They are made from 2 layers of 100% post consumer recycled cotton-based batting, some vintage and recycled fabrics, and some new designer fabrics.
I had a really good time making these mats and am very pleased with the results. Some of the vintage fabrics have been hanging on my studio walls for a long time, with different fabrics hanging around. That's my method of seeing if they will jive in the long term. I think of these creations as "fabric studies." Think of color studies - putting different colors together in a sketch to see how they react/interact. When I marry two or three fabrics together with stitches and quilting, I get to see what kind of relationship dynamic ensues.
I want to make more!
I'm starting to notice more themes and motifs that keep coming up in my work. This zig-zag border echos the angles at which I always put stripes and plaids. I've used it on its own before, though, to border a full-size quilt I made several years ago. The traditional term is "dog tooth border" which I like. I'm not sure the strict traditionalists wouldn't disqualify my application from the term since I'm not folding under the edges.
Instead I'm fusing interfacing to the inner border before I cut the toothed edge. Then I have a nice stiff edge with no fraying. After arranging the border I sew it down with a near satin stitch. I like to have my stitches a little wider than satin, so some of the color of the fabric hints through between the thread. What I realized after making these is that I really like angles. And I can't seem to get away from squares. Okay, I like squares. There, I said it. I don't know why, but there it is. Squares rule! (I've always like nerds and dorks, too, so I guess it fits.)

Making these has opened my mind to better visualizing my ability to make rectangular place mat-type objects. This was something I've had some sort of block on. Don't know why, since I like to compose quilts using the rectangle. Maybe it's because I don't like to use place mats at my table.

Wranglers comin'at'cha!

This is my last piece of this wonderful vintage linen. The texture and especially colors are very rich. There is a stain line that tells you this is where the fold was when it was a curtain or whatever it was in it's former life. I hereby assert that such stains are not defects of the fabric or mistakes in my fabric choices or craftsmanship, but marks that help tell the story of this object's history. Like scars and lines in an old face. You wouldn't wish those wrinkles off your great-aunt; they are part of her particular beauty. What a life she's had! What character!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Call to Artists

...or anyone who has interesting images or objects that need to be shared. I will be recruiting exhibitors for the Blake Memorial Library untill further notice. If you are an artist of any kind in the Topsham/Corinth area, or anywhere in Vermont, really, and would like to exhibit your work at our wonderful little library, please get in touch with me: sarahogreen@gmail.com.
The current exhibit is... ahem, Mountain Ash Design; sustainably created housewares and wearables. At the library you'll see "super cute!"* hostess aprons, 16" pillows, HotHolders(tm) featuring Dia de los Muertos, storybook firemen, and other charming characters. Next week I'll be adding some 9" mats I've just made. First I need to photograph them and give them a post of their own. [*overheard this comment about my aprons from Joanne Kalisz of Happy Fantastic Designs, creator of super cute Ts, tooth fairy liaisons, doggy-positive goods (esp love her pug/Buddha silkscreen) and lots of other awesomeness] http://happyfantastic.blogspot.com/
Also at the Blake Memorial Library: the winter book series is "Meet The Victorians." The first discussion is on January 14th, 3:30 pm of Anthony Trollope's Can You Forgive Her? Discussion leader, Dartmouth Lit Professor Suzanne Brown, insisted we read Anthony Trollope before Dickens, George Eliot and Charlotte Bronte. Yes, he was less familiar to me and I'm curious to hear from Suzanne why he's required (I hear he wasn't in the original line-up). And no, at halfway through the book, I can't forgive her. Not because of her "crime against womanhood" but because of her confused and misguided decisions about who to marry. I guess it was hard to be an independent young woman in mid-19th century England. Anyway, I love these book discussion series. They get me to read, and the community building in the group is very satisfying. I'll go even though I know I won't be able to finish the book by then. Join us!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


I'm learning embroidery! My daughter gave me some lessons when we were hanging out at my in-laws at xmas. I've been really ready to add this to my creative vocabulary. And the physical act of embroidering has been a very good antidote to sewing on the machine. With my sewing projects I love the design process and the results. The actual sewing at the machine can, at times, be just cold production work though. I have gone through periods when I was knitting a lot. Taking time to sit down in a soft chair and get all cozy with my hoop, floss and needle has been similarly satisfying. It is so pleasant; relaxing, creative, and productive all in one. This piece is called "Wallpaper Fantasy." It is about this little bit of kitchen wallpaper (it's actually cloth) having a fantasy about being a real ship out on the wild seas. It is either a work in progress or finished. I can't decide. If I do more it will be to add more waves and a huge sea gull soaring high above it.