Archive for the ‘Cloth in Common’ Category

I am part of Cloth in Common, a group of international artists who respond to bi-monthly prompts. The current prompt is “Spring.”

Here the crocuses have sprung, only to emerge into a cold and still brown yard.

crocusesAnd, again today, it is snowing. It’s hard for me to think “Spring!” However, I just returned from a trip to Eastern Europe (actually a little bit warmer!) where I was inspired by “rebuilding” and “renewal.” Do they count for “spring?”

Many of the drab so-called “communist condos” have been painted, and they still house a large population. (Some, it was explained, are even better built than today. But not all.)

painted communist condo

Dresden was firebombed by the Allies in Feb 1945, killing as many as 135,000 people in the single most deadly bombing of the war, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was reduced to rubble but has been painstakingly rebuilt.

We visited Zwinger Palace, and have the before and after photos to show the rebuild. It is now a museum housing priceless art.

zwinger Palace bombedZwinger Palace rebuilt

 

I made small art quilts while I was traveling. I was especially intrigued by Berlin. First it was one city, then two cities, now one city again –and still stitching itself back together. These are pieces inspired by the art on the wall, torn down in 1989.

We visited just as the US President wants to build a wall on the US border with Mexico. For future generations to tear down!

How I am going to respond to “Spring” is still the Great Unknown in my studio. Rebirth? Rebuild? Traveling to Eastern Europe in the Spring? Stay tuned.

Besides Spring will surely emerge. Any day now.

Advertisements

momma's little helper

This is my fourth piece done for the international art quilt group Cloth in Common. Our inspirationthis round was “Kitchen.” Come to think of it, kitchen is home base for me, second only to my studio.

My aged and infirm mother in law lives with us, and I must cook every meal at home for her and us. (Hubby cooks breakfast, so I get a break there.)

My earliest memories, aside from my crib, were in the kitchen, where my Mom set up a play station. I could open a bottom cupboard, take out an empty milk bottle, and drop clothes pins in. I got pretty good at it!martha as baby with the bottle078

The reference picture I chose for my quilt, however, is a different one. It was taken before I was 2 years old. I know that because we only lived in that house until I was two.

It is likely that my artistic photographer of a mother added some extra chocolate to my face, for effect. Of course it is equally likely that I did it myself, in sampling my cake.martha cooking lo res

I used a photo of my mom in the background, grafted onto a commercial fabric 1950’s woman.

The escaping cat represents Butterscotch, our only, and failed, attempt to keep a cat in the house when I was a child. We were told he “ran away” after he got fleas and went to sleep in the clean laundry basket.

Aside from poor Butterscotch, all my childhood memories are good ones!

You can follow Cloth in Common on Facebook or at Cloth in Common.

It’s also OK to play along with us!

Martha Ressler

Momma’s Little Helper

16 x 20”

Fabrics, beads, buttons

Raw Edge Applique

What Does the Newspaper Say_ On New Years Day lo res

This piece was the result of a challenge laid down in Cloth in Common, my international art quilt group. We were to use song lyrics as an inspiration for an art quilt. I love song lyrics, and thought it would be easy.  It wasn’t. My mind was blank for the month of December.  Then on January 1, as I retrieved my neighbor’s newspaper, I saw my shadow selfie, and the U2 song, New Year’s Day, sprung into my mind. It was the coldest January 1 for 100 years. The news had been mostly bad, to my mind. All I had to add was the “blood-red sky,” and I had my composition. Even the shadows could look a bit sinister — or not.

Martha Ressler

What Will the Newspapers Say/ On New Year’s Day

Art Quilt

20 x 16″

I’ve been working on several art quilts at once. I remade one that dates to 2009, among the first I ever made. I took it apart, including the binding, and a good deal of the machine quilting in the middle of the image. I re-quilted it, using a shiny Sulky rayon thread. I’ve learned a lot more about quilting since 2009! Finally, I cropped it to a smaller (5×7) size, rebound it, and framed the piece. Here is the before and after. What a difference!

Another piece that I have made two versions of (and sold both) is called “Calling the Cat.” It’s based on a story in our household, where my mother in law calls her cat every night (loudly): “Here Pussy, Pussy, Pussy.” We cringe with embarrassment, hoping the neighbors don’t hear. I doubt the cat is insulted, but either way, she pays little heed to the calls.

I ran out of the fabric with the heraldic figure imperiously blowing his trumpet, so decided to draw one of my own on fabric, using my newly purchased Pentel Gel Roller for fabric. I think it worked out well, and plan to do some more drawing on fabric using this smooth writing pen.

On another front, I purchased a Victorian crazy quilt that had been donated to our local Salvation Army Store. I am trying to decide what to do with it.

I removed a stiff cording that had been sewn around the edges that was causing puckering. That was an improvement, but I still don’t think the piece is quite worthy of being kept whole.

There are many areas of damage, and in general the workmanship is not of the highest quality.

I did want to get a professional photo of the piece though, before my scissors took a bite.  So here it is. I’m open to ideas on what to do with it!

I’m also working on my next challenge as part of the Cloth in Common international group of quilters, of which I am part. Next week I’ll blog about that. The theme is “Touch,” which is a good one that allows for a lot of leeway.

And finally I’m sewing a gift quilt for friends who just got married. Here’s a sneak peak at that. It’s a long way from finished!

Dana Dave quilt sneak preview

I am pleased to announce that I am now part of a small new group of art quilters. I was invited by the organizer, Karol Kasmaul of Florida.  We are from the United States, Canada, England, Australia, Norway, Japan and Korea — 11 fiber artists in all. We have committed to challenge ourselves over an extended period of time, using the overall theme of “Unusual Inspirations.” Following the inspiration of a new prompt every two months, we will create a small, medium or large art quilt, and post the results.

Here is our website — you can subscribe to follow our progress. https://www.clothincommon.com/

The first prompt, provided by Karol, is “What did you say?”

She concludes: “Your work could show loud, amplified sound like construction or thunder.  Or soft and faint sound, like a whisper.  How will you represent sound visually?”

The first thing that came to mind is that although I live peacefully in the countryside, my ears are assaulted day and night by the sound of my mother-in-law’s TV. She is a sweet soul who lives with us, and the TV keeps her company, though she pays scant attention to it. Instead her world consists of crossword puzzles and books. From the morning talk shows and Rachael Ray to The View and The Chew, through the afternoon to the evening news: Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Chris Matthews, and everything in between, along with the prescription medication advertisements, automobile, Progressive Insurance, and “My Pillow” ads — my peace is punctured by TV sound waves. I see them as bright, sharp colors crowding the serenity of my space.

Here are some details from Elizabeth’s World.  it is not quilted yet — still a work in progress. Your comments and suggestions are welcome!