This is a story of many hands.
In May of 2015 I had a show at the Bitters Co barn in Mt.Vernon, WA. I wrote here
about the barn sized quilt that I made for it: Mr. Big
Here is a picture of Mr. Big
in his new home, where he can stretch his legs over two stories.
This year I wanted to make another big quilt, so Oh Mama was born.
Oh Mama is made of cotton quilting fabric that I designed over the years for In The Beginning Fabrics. I designed the quilt and cut out the pieces at home. Then I went to Coyote Central and laid it out on the floor. I came home and sewed it together, and then sewed many pieces together for the back. It was too big to spread out in the house so I spread it out on the street.
Now to sew the front and back together! I put out a request for help, and the following kind and wonderful women stepped up: Betz Bernhard, Margaret Bovingdon, Nancy Harriss, Eileen Hynes, Karen Kosoglad, Christina Reed, Liza von Rosenstiel, Marybeth Satterlee, Joanne Segura, and Lana Sundberg. Nancy took pictures as we worked (at Coyote Central).
In just a few hours we had tacked it together. I did not include quilt batting because I wanted it to be able to withstand some weather.
I took the quilt up to the Bitters Co. barn where it was welcomed by the fabulous Carson sisters, Katie and Amy.
Installation involved long poles.
Oh Mama likes to look out at the fields of Mt. Vernon, her new home.
Oh Mama was part of a show that I had at the Bitters Co.barn this year. I did the work for the show (paintings, drawings, quilts and paper dolls) over the last year and a half. Just before the show I broke my wrist and elbow. The show was still able to go up thanks to Katie and Amy and to my good friends Margaret Chodos-Irvine and Julan Chu.
I think Oh Mama is saying OH my friends are wonderful.
Read on if you would like to e-visit the show at the barn.
The pictures start with the set up and end with the work in place.
Thanks for visiting.
Virginia Lee Burton was an artist who lived from August 30,1909 – October 15, 1968. She and I share a birthday!Burton was widely known for her children’s books which include Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Katy and the Big Snow, The Little House, and Calico the Wonder Horse.
I am writing about her on this blog because she also designed fabric. She taught block printing to a group of artists in Cape Ann and they formed a group called The Folly Cove Designers. They made fabric, and they also built a community. They would have big parties and dance on the tables.
On a recent trip to Gloucester, Massachusetts I saw an exhibit about the Folly Cove Designers at the Cape Anne Museum. Here is a photo of the room there:
And here are some of the textiles that were on exhibit.
Lili Wilson for Folly Cove
Virginia Lee Burton inspires me because she jumped into life with both feet, and did what she loved. She didn’t seem to care about categories. There is a wonderful video about her called A Sense of Place.
When I flew home I got an email from a company called Vida Design Studio, based in San Francisco. Vida connects designers from all around the world, printing items on demand (clothing and scarves). The producers are paid decent money, the artists get a percentage and a portion of the profit goes to literacy programs. So they are making fabric, and they are building community. A digital age Folly- I’m in! I designed some shirts for the Vida Design Site, using the name Julie Paprika. Here are the shirts.
And I designed some men’s pocket squares – cotton scarves.
You can see these things at Vida Design. The link is to my work. You can also see zillions of other designs on their site. If you are interested in becoming a Vida Designer you can click here. Vida is having a summer sale until August 28th: discount codes are on my page.
I’m jumping in to this new project. Now I would like an international VIDA party with dancing on the tables!
Virginia Lee Burton Dancers
If you are in the Seattle area you might be familiar with the mosaic work of Betz Bernhard at Seatac Airport, or her gila monster at the zoo. Or maybe you have seen Betz’s button necklaces, prints or collages. Those are all wonderful, but today I am writing about her newest adventures, made with fabric.
Betz is an exuberant and generous person. Her personality is evident in these new textiles.
I like that she has left the edges rough and included bits of selvage.
The pieces are mostly silk. She balances the found patterns with straight shots of color and cut shapes.
The irregularities make the pieces lively.
The colors make them joyful.
Some of the pieces are completely abstract but many have references to objects, such as this big red pot and flower.
a big red hand –
a tea cup –
a red bowl with a blue plant .
The size of the quilts range from as small as 12″ square up to three or four feet.
I asked Betz if she wanted to write a few words about her work. She sent this image that has a few words embroidered on it.
Betz stitches that she wants a life without fear (and with friends, family and chocolate). These collage/quilts feel free and adventurous to me so maybe creation is an antidote to fear. They feel almost musical – I hope that you enjoy seeing them and listening to their syncopated rhythms.