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The Other Side of the Wall smallThe Other Side of the Wall depicts the color and vibrancy of Tijuana that abuts the US/ Mexico wall just a few miles from San Diego. It is for the Border Wall Quilt Project. All pieces, mine included, are 8 x 16″

The wall on the Mexican side is brightly painted, and the family in blue is my drawing taken from one of those paintings. There are community gardens, a Nuclear Free zone plaque, and other colorful works of art.

butterfly painting on the wall

Part of the wall lists names of those who have died crossing the border. Although theoretically one could swim around the wall that extends into the Pacific Ocean, the US side is highly militarized.

border wall

Life goes on in lively Tijuana. But a pile of “wishing rocks” reminds us of the yearning for peace and unification of families.

wishing stones 3

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I’ve started a new series, similar to Eastern Europe in Stitches.  Recently I asked a good friend fom Tijuana to give me a tour. She was raised there, and holds many happy memories of growing up, especially of her grandmother and her farm.

She is also an artist who could readily understand my interest in viewing the art on the Mexican side of the wall that separates it from the US. There is a memorial to those who died in crossing the border. (top right in the pictures below.) You can see how the border wall extends right into the sea.

So we absorbed the beauty and sadness on the Mexican side of the wall. There was a pile of “wishing stones” including wishes for “unity of my family” and “that everyone finds prosperity and love.”

I’ve made four little quilts (5 x 7″) so far in this series. I bought some used Mexican postage stamp on Etsy, and some small items while I was there so I could add found objects. Each one includes a drawing on cloth (then stitched) of something painted on the wall, or something else I saw.

 

 

 

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.

Travel Art Quilts

Posted: April 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

I decided to try an experiment during my Viking river cruise along the Elbe River in Eastern Europe. Before we left I prepared 5 by 7 inch pieces of wool felt, scraps of fabric, embroidery thread and a glue stick. Each day I make a little sketch which I then draw on white fabric with a fabric marker pen. And add to it a collage of fabrics,  papers and found objects. The whole thing is then heavily hand-stitched and hand-embroidered. I’ve made eight so far.  Here they are.

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

30 for 30 2018

Here’s a collage of my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge, complete. (I left out a few cats!)

It’s easier to see the stronger compositions when in this format. I think my favorite might be the Red Roof, Purple Sky.  or maybe Red Shed, Orange Door, Yellow Sky.  or Purple Thought.  Or maybe Barn Shadows. What about you?

Martha Ressler

Tweetie and Old Lace

Finally, we’ve arrived at Day 30.  Tweetie and Old Lace is another piece that started out as a screen print, then got embellished. Tweetie went with me on vacation, and received a lot of stitching and attention during the long hours in the car. This is one of the small “gems” that I’ll frame and sell for under $100.

Martha Ressler

Tweetie and Old Lace

Art Quilt

7 x 5″