Continuing with my project of small scale collage paper quilts inspired by the Gees Bend quilters, I wanted to show one in particular that I made a few days ago along with the source materials. As I mentioned in the last post on this series, I was not using the sketch book pages opposite of the collaged quilts and I decided to make drawings of the tiny collages to further enhance my exploration of the designs.
I had some drawings from a sketch book that were not working for me. Normally I would just leave the drawings in the sketch book and move on to the next page but for some reason these particular drawings called out to me to remove them from the book and use them for collage materials. I don’t have a photo of some of the other sketches, but they were all based on the same house and cloud type shapes. So here are some of the pages below I cut up for source material:
And the resulting collage-quilt is below, enhanced with some brush pens filled with fountain pen ink:
Not long ago I wrote about making small scale collage paper quilts inspired by the Gees Bend quilters. I am still working on these collages but decided my experience with these designs would be greatly enhanced if I also made drawings of the tiny paper quilts.
I was not using the sketch book pages opposite of the collaged quilts because I didn’t want the designs and textures to compete with one another. But they looked lonely and empty. I then got it in my mind to make drawings of the collages. Not exact replicas but something that would mimic the designs. As mentioned in my post about the collages, my focus is on minimalism as well as design. Below are the drawings I have done so far and I have them pictured next to the quilt they are mimicking.
I am a letter writer. I find it relaxing and a better way to air my thoughts (and grievances) than in emails. Yes, emails are good ways to communicate, but there is nothing like the act of actually writing things to help sort your thoughts.
For a long time, I could not even read my own handwriting. I would puzzle over something I wrote on the calendar or a shopping list and had no clue. I promised myself that someday I would improve my handwriting. That someday came for my friend Claudia before it came for me. She bought some books and would practice her handwriting while watching TV at night. Her handwriting was already good but it did improve. Someday came for me during the pandemic. I printed out some handwriting exercise sheets. Claudia also recommended getting a pen I would enjoy using, maybe a fountain pen (this was the beginning of another obsession of mine – stationary items, but that is another story).
A recent issue of The Atlanticincluded an article about cursive writing. It has not been taught in schools for quite a long time now. You may say ‘so what?’. The article goes on to point out that while there are still a good portion of the population alive who write in cursive, the fact remains that in past times anyone who could write, did so in cursive. History (at least western history) was recorded in cursive writing.
Many of my jobs in art, collections, and archives work depended on my deciphering other peoples’ handwriting. Off and on I volunteer with the Library of Congress with their By the People project. This involves (from the comfort of your own computer at home) transcribing historic documents which are all in cursive. I have had the pleasure of transcribing handwritten documents including: an invoice for books that Teddy Roosevelt purchased over a two year period, Gen. Sherman’s open house invitation, Gen. Sherman’s daughter’s wedding invitation, an invoice for a watch that Walt Whitman was making payments on, family correspondences from President Garfield, and so on.
At this point, I would say that knowing cursive is almost like knowing another language. I have decided that my grandson will learn to at least read cursive, if for no other reason than because
Recently I took a virtual workshop through the National Gallery of Art on collage book covers. The inspiration for the collages were based on the Gees Bend Quilters, a group of quilters from Gees Bend Alabama known for their unique quilting style. While I did not make a book cover, I did make several very small paper collages based on the stylings made so famous by this remarkable group of women. The way in which the Gees Bend quilts are pieced together spoke to me as they are not in the traditional block style quilts with perfect symmetry. My description of their quilts would do them no justice so I encourage you to take a peek for yourself by clicking the link here to get to the exhibition at the National Gallery of Art where you can see, watch videos and read about them. I have been very fortunate to see some of these quilts in person as well.
For my project, I used a very small 4″ x 6″ wire bound sketch book. I wanted to approach these collages with not only the inspiration of the Gees Bend quilts, but also with minimalistic design elements which I am very interested in, generally speaking. The first paper quilt does sort of use a block style but that is because I was trying to follow some of the guided suggestions by the workshop instructor, Sarah Matthews. The rest go in a different direction. Below are my first six from the sketch book.
Many of the papers are ones that I printed myself for different projects, the second example is a paper towel stained with paint marker that my husband made when we took a jewelry workshop a few years ago, others are various forms of ephemera I had saved.