Mr. Big

Recently I was sewing a quilt. It had a face on it which turned out to be larger than I expected.

Paschkis big pink head quiltI wondered what a REALLY big quilt would look like. Hmmm – if I sewed together pieces of old wool blankets I could make a very large quilt without backing it. And thus the idea for Mr. Big was born.

I put out the call for wool blankets and several kind people gave me some.Thank you Fay Jones, Kate Harkins, Reeta Tollefson, Diane Glenn and Marcia Paschkis! I cut all of the blankets into 12″ squares which my  trusty cat Ruby guarded.wool squares Ruby on wool

Once I knew how many squares were available, I drew up a plan.big wool quilt designEach ¼” square would be a 12″ wool piece. I didn’t have a room large enough to lay it out, so I borrowed one from Coyote Central. Once I saw the quilt  I took away the two outer rows bringing it down in size to 11′ x 18′. I left the figure intact but rearranged the background several times. Paschkis big quilt planAfter I saw how big it really was I felt overwhelmed and wondered what on earth I was doing. But if I didn’t keep going than I had needlessly destroyed a lot of nice blankets.

So I picked up each row and put it in its own bag. I came home and sewed.  The sewing became more cumbersome as the quilt grew. But it was possible! It was even fun; the ridiculousness of the project made it entertaining.sewing bigThe finished blanket was once again too big to spread out in my house, so I took it back to Coyote for a look. I stood on a ladder to photograph it.Paschkis Quilt BigAnd then took a rest (photographed by Marybeth Satterlee).me on bigIn May I will be having a show at the Bitters Barn in La Conner. I hope Mr. Big will fit on a barn wall there. After that I will need to find either a cold giant in need of a blanket, or a giant wall. Hmmm.

The Brave Little Tailor by Franz Wacik

The Brave Little Tailor by Franz Wacik

Birds

Paschkis word birdOh, birds. I love to see them, listen to them and draw them. Birds can be real or symbolic.

A bird can be conveyed in a single line, as in this French fabric from 1886.1886 france birds

Or in many lines, as in the Pennsylvania Dutch Fraktur from 1815:fraktur bird

I have a flock of bird images pinned up in my studio for inspiration. Here are a few of them.

Owls by C.F.A. Voysey from England (1897):voysey owls

Peacock from a 1920’s Japanese Matchbox: matchbox peacock

Gluckwunsche from the Wiener Werkstatte:

werkstatte bird

I put birds in my paintings, fabric and books. These birds were from my first fabric line, Folklorica.bobolinkI painted these Golden Birds for my sister.Paschkis Golden BirdsAnd designed a line of fabric called Chickadee.Paschkis Chickadee VineBut after the terribly apt Portlandia episode (Put A Bird on It) I felt ashamed of this love. I must be able to think of something else to draw!

Of course I found other subject matter.Paschkis bicycle trickBut birds flew back into paintings -Paschkis bluebirdand paper cuts:Paschkis cut bird borderand onto quilts:Paschkis yellow bird quilt crowPaschkis Cat and Bird Quilt

Birds are all around us, real and imaginary.Paschkis owl and birds

I think that if you feel like it, you should put a bird on it. Why not?Paschkis - connection

paschkis bird

 

 

 

 

A Rose is …

a rose.RosesIn June a friend brought over a big bucket of roses from her garden. There were so many roses that we had more than one bouquet.

Roses with Sundberg sculpture

The mermaid  was made by Lana Sundberg.

roses

The roses were achingly beautiful and they smelled good. But roses fade. Alas.

faded roses

Luckily roses on fabric can provide timeless pleasure. Here are some patterns to savor.

These 19th century English chintz borders are from the book  Textile Designs , an encyclopedia of historic fabrics compiled by Susan Meller and Joost Elffers.

chintz england 19th

chintz englandSusan Meller also wrote an amazing book about Russian Textiles . It includes examples of printed fabrics, embroidery, ikats, paisleys and stripes. It shows the cloth and robes made from them. Here are some rose fabrics from that book.

russia 1870s

In the variety of Russian fabrics there are so many rich reds: crimson, scarlet, cherry, carmine, rust and maroon.russia 20thrussia mid 20th

russia late 19thRussian roller printed clothTurkmen robe 1930

This Suzani piece was embroidered. The designs were drawn on the cloth, then separated into panels. Various family members would embroider the separate panels which would then be sewn back together. The slight variations in the density of the stitches and the slight flaws in the registration give the piece life.suzani embroidery 19th

Roses line this woman’s mulisak from Khiva.munisak 20th centuryReturning to Textile Designs , you can find these roses from France (1922 and 1930):

france 1922

france 1930

And this bouquet, made in England for export to Portugal in the mid 1800’s.

eng for portugal mid 19th

Here are some of my roses, from the Bohemia fabric and card line:

Paschkis roses

So, gather (and stitch) your rosebuds while ye may.
……………………………………………………………………

This poem is by Sandra Gilbert, from her book Kissing the Bread.

sandra gilbert

Kalinka

Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, my family spent part of each summer at a little cabin called the izbushka. The cabin was part of Russian Village, (also known as Churaevka)  a small community of Russian expatriates in Connecticut.rojankovsky goldilocksThis illustration by Feodor Rojankovsky (from Goldilocks) gives the feel of the izbushka. Rojankovsky was also a visitor to the village, although I never met him.

Maybe because of those early experiences at Churaevka I have always loved Russian illustration, light and dark.

Yuri Vasnetsov

Yuri Vasnetsov

Vasilisa by Ivan Bilibin

Vasilisa by Ivan Bilibin

Last year I designed a new line of fabric for In the Beginning called Kalinka; the fabric is out now. Kalinka is the name of a Russian song and it means little snowfall.  I’ve also read that it refers to a sour red berry. The fabric is for winter so it includes snowflakes, a lot of white (and red berries) . Here is the main panel:itb kalinka panelIn the designs I referred back to Russian folk tales like the Firebird and Kolobok, the story of a small bun that doesn’t want to be eaten. This ceramic fox and bun posed for me.kolobokPaschkis kalinka foxI also looked at the leaves and berries in Russian lacquer ware for inspiration.Russian lacquerwareThis is my painting for an all-over fabric design, which I called Kalinka Meadow.Paschkis kalinka meadowHere’s how it looks as fabric with a cranberry colored background:itb kalinka meadowOf course Kalinka needed a Matrushka. Here is my painting, and the resulting fabric with additional border stripes :

Paschkis matrushka bluePaschkis matrushkaIn Kalinka I barely dipped my toe into the rich river of Russian stories and imagery. I want to go back and paint more.

rojankovsky goodbye

 

p.s. If you would like to buy this fabric, you can go to Gathering Fabric, Pacific Fabric, your local shop or buy it on line at Hancock’s of Paducah.

 

 

 

 

Paper Dolls

What to wear? That is the question asked and answered by this paper doll (made by my niece Zoe Paschkis, many years ago.)

zoe paschkis paper doll

zoe paschkis paper dollsRecently I came across an article about Paper Dolls by Francine Kirsch that I had clipped from the magazine Folk Art in 2007. She talked in the article about some paper dolls that were made professionally to show certain styles of clothes, and she also showed these lovely handmade ones.paper dollsI like the way that every outfit has to confirm to the posture of the model.paper dolls with hipsI like the materials used to make the dresses:paper dollspaper dollsAs in almost everything, sometimes what is revealed is not what is intended to be revealed. In this paper doll family from 1907 the creator reveals racism: the black doll is made to be somewhere between a child and an adult in size.1907 paper dollsSome paper outfits are nearly abstract, like these from the blog Accidental Mysteries.FolkArtPaperDollDressCollection_153 FolkArtPaperDollDressCollection_130Here is a mermaid by Deborah Mersky.mersky paper mermaidLately I have been making big paper dolls. Here I am with a new friend, made with no tape, glue or staples.J. Paschkis and  friend One of my goals is to use all of the paper in different parts of the doll. Here are the pieces of a doll called Paper Howdy, cut from one sheet of paper.

Paschkis howdy pieces

Here is what remained from that 12″ x 18″ sheet of paper.

paper scraps

And here is the assembled Paper Howdy.Paschkis paper howdyI hope this post will inspire you to make some paper dolls of your own.

 

 

 

 

 

Buttons

buttons for sale        I love buttons, especially old white ones made of mother of pearl.

The tribes of the Northwest coast made (and still make) button blankets with black and red wool and white buttons. The images and color combinations are bold.

NW Button blanket

This was made by a member of the Haida tribe in 1900.haida1900

In quilts I have only used buttons for eyes. This man, woman and dog were part of my first quilt which I made in a class with Sandy Bonsib. She taught us many traditional patterns, as well as how to design and piece our own imagery, such as this man, woman and dog.

Paschkis quilt manPaschkis quilt ladypaschkis quilt dog

Someday I would like to use LOTS of buttons on a quilt. As inspiration I will look at the Pearly Queens and Kings of England “wiv buttons galore”.

pearly queen

pearly king

Stripes Please

Stripes are simple and satisfying. They speak for themselves, so there are very few words in this post.

Such as…
Russian machine woven stripes from the 19th century:

russian stripes
Uzbek stripes:uzbek stripes

Indigo stripes:

indigo

Guatemalan stripes:guatemalan stripes

Hudson Bay stripes:hudson bay blanketCharacters in my paintings often wear striped clothing:

Paschkis reading

They are in good company.
Matisse:matisse painting

Cassatt:mary cassatt

Kuniyaki:kuniyaki sumo

Rousseau:rousseau

It is as satisfying to wear stripes in life as in art.

Picasso:

picasso

Babe Ruth (photo by Nickolas Muray):

Babe Ruth

Jean Paul Gaultier:

jean_paul_gaultier_breton1

and finally a prisoner in the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, St. Gabriel photographed by Deborah Luster in 1988:

I wish I knew her name.