Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Humble Pie

My newly planned project will be loosely structured (as if I ever really structure any of my projects), and it will be an humble, comfy quilt using a box full of earthy, homespun-like fabric scraps that I unearthed from my "stash closet." Actually, I have no "stash closet." What I do have is an accumulation of plastic bags and bins of all sizes crammed into an 8 by 12 storage room.

I am currently the 24/7 caregiver for my 94 year old mother with Alzheimer's disease. This is simply a statement of fact, not an excuse or request for empathy. In this situation, I find that I spend too much of my time in my mind, not in my life.

I'm hoping this blog will help me become more organized and focus my creative juices into tangible art rather than vicariously participating in online classes and keeping my creations in notebooks and in my head.

Speaking of online classes, if you have never visited the Joggles site, I recommend it highly. Barb and her crew have an amazing array of mixed media, doll making supplies, tools, and online classes. I've done three of the classes (each with a different instructor) and I can report them all to be excellent. I'm be participating in two more beginning in February: domino necklaces, bookmarks, and more AND distressed fish (I'll leave you guessing on that one).

I can't wait to incorporate some of the new techniques into a project to share with my friends in the Northeast Louisiana Quilt Guild. Our web page has been recently revived and can be viewed at http://www.nlqg.net/. We are an active guild with three chapters of quilters who are great cooks and love to laugh.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Reflections on Januarys Past

As I watch CNN covering celebrations and preparations, I can't help but reflect on my memories of a past Martin Luther King Day and Presidential Inauguration. On January 19, 1961, I came out of the Smithsonian Museum and walked into a snowstorm of unexpected proportions. The 53 mile ride to Baltimore, MD, where I was staying took about four and one-half hours. It was my first trip to Washington, and I was there to march with my high school band in President John F. Kennedy's inaugural parade. We were relatively privileged white teenagers representing our state in the parade. Only in retrospect can I come close to appreciating how lucky I was to have experienced part of history. It was not my last trip to Washington, D.C.

On January 17, 2000, I participated in another march. This time it was not as cold, nor as long. There were no television cameras, and the surrounding structures were not the grand marble edifices of Washington, DC: They were humble structures of wood, some boarded up, others housing families within their thin walls and patched windows. I was participating in the MLK march in a north Louisiana town, and I was honored to be asked to speak to the assembled marchers when we stopped halfway for a few minutes rest and a cold drink. Probably for the first time I realized how Dr. King's struggle applied to me: he worked for equality for all people, gender as well as race. As a child and adolescent I was aware of the racial divide in my part of the country; it was only as a young, single mother with two toddlers that I realized that the divide also included gender. I told my fellow marchers how my participation that day was the fulfillment of my own personal dream; and it was my chance to say thank you to many people who gave their all to make the world I live in a better place.

Between January 1961 and January 2000, I had the opportunity to participate in events and have experiences that would not have been open to me as a single white woman had it not been for Dr. King and his followers. But how could the fight for racial equality affect me? Part of the answer comes from the fact that the civil and cultural changes effected by Dr. King's dream and his action applied to all Americans, not just those of color. The career opportunities that I have had as a woman did not exist in 1961, or even in 1967 when I graduated college.

Now, what does any of this have to do with art? Everything! Only in a society where all people have the confidence of personal integrity, appreciation of diversity, and exposure to myriad arts and crafts, are we free to pursue our dreams and express our souls in tangible work peculiar to each of us. As I watch the 44th President of the United States assume his duties tomorrow, I will be planning my next piece, a statement of positive energy and unified hope. As this nation is a unique assemblage of mismatched fabrics and a variety of fibers, my textile art will reflect the facets of my vision of beauty and peace for all.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Hello fellow quilters and other mixed media artists. Before anyone takes offense at my use the term fellow, let me explain. I am well aware that art of all kinds is gender neutral. So as not to offend the many men are into quilting and mixed media by using the term sister, I decided to offer this caveat. This PC business can get tedious! I'd much rather spend my time creating beauty.

The is a brand new blog adventure for me, and I may be a little slow in getting it up and running. I"m delighted to have this avenue to express my artistic and technology leanings, and I look forward to sharing ideas with you. Any encouragement from you will be welcome and greatly appreciated.