|Kathy Steinsberger teaching at Blam!|
First, you need a good teacher in a great space with endless possibilities...
|the stuff of dreams|
|my handwork, cut off for this project |
and back in the possibilities drawer
|bathing suit box|
And out it came for this project. Painted with thick coats of acrylic and heavy gel medium, this is what my inside cover looked like as it was drying. (You'll see the outside cover below, in the almost finished form, because...see photo disclaimer above.)
|my inside cover|
|Kathy's stamped cover, in progress|
The signatures we folded and sewed into the cover were also fun to do and to arrange. (Like the Barnes collection, you'll have to guess at the idea behind the arrangement.) Signatures are the sections of papers - 6 or 8 usually - bound together with thread. Though most books are pasted page-to-binding now, and so come apart more easily, you can see sewn signatures in older and in custom books by looking down at the top of the book for the folded sections sewn inside the spine, one signature after another. When you put signatures together in an art book, the sheets of white or printed paper you see in a regular text book can become anything you want. They don't even have to be white, or the same kind of paper. One of Kathy's samples was built from odd papers she collected in France...menus, tickets, maps, bread wrappers, etc.
As here, each signature can even have its own cover, dividing the whole into parts that can be used for different things. The book I was making gave me an idea for its use as a future sketchbook.
|inside front cover with pocket|
Below are the three closures I came up with for the cover. Why don't you choose the one you think I should use? I'd love to hear your choices before I work on it today.
Speaking of buttons and closures (and while you're deciding on my book closure), one other unfinished project I'd found in that same blanket chest, at the very bottom of it, was a pieced crazy-quilt top my mother had bought from a woman at a farm stand near their home in New Hampshire. She'd meant to have it quilted, but never got around to it, and there it lay for thirty years or more. My mother was still alive then, so I asked if I could have the top to finish. She looked at me askance. I knew that look. You're not going to try it yourself, are you? (You can see how well respected my needlework is...possibly with reason.)
But I was going to try. For advice, I called Susan Bradley in Texas, whose art quilts hang in my house beautifully and proudly, and who pretty much reflected my mother's sentiments. Now, Rachel... Still undeterred, I came up with the idea that I certainly was competent enough to batt and back it, and then it occurred to me that I could use buttons sewn on in strategic points to knot it instead of stitching it. (That idea coming from a famous line in an old short story, "Was she going to knot it or quilt it?" "Knot it..." Those of you who recognize the story, raise your hands.)
Susan, rescue in her voice, nicely offered to have the layers put together before I buttoned it. I worked on it for quite a while, exhausting my button store, and called for familiar reinforcements. When she heard about the project, my aunt responded generously, and her daughter sent along my grandmother's collection you see above (clearly my aunt, an excellent needleworker herself, had added to it in her time, and I keep adding to it in mine, though now and then it gets raided by others, too, most recently by my niece, who needed buttons for her cute knitted ornaments). The once forgotten top was turning out to be a neat family affair.
What we had finished was a colorful, playful piece. In one of those coincidences I wrote about last time, the universe stepping in to hand us a prize as if all along we surely deserved it, a lifelong friend of one of my sons announced that he and his wife were expecting their first child, a boy who became my boy's namesake. My mother was happy, as was I; it seemed the perfect home for our treasure. A year or so ago, after their second child, his wife wrote me to say the quilt was still fascinating little ones, on the floor for play, warm while cuddling on the sofa, or taken along in the car for a trip. My mother would have been even more thrilled to know it's still loved and useful.
No, I don't have a picture of it. Once again, see declaimer above.
later the same day:
Oh, yes, I do! There in an old file from another life, I found tonight:
|quilt for Jay's baby|