Posts Tagged ‘history’

I started using found objects in my art quilts when I was living in Pittsburgh. I lived, worked and had my studio in an old industrial area called Lawrenceville, which inspired much of my artwork. The streets were a source of interesting detritus, which I had the idea of sewing into the quilts.  Here is an example: Walking Sketches, 20 x 20″, 2013.

walking sketches 20 x 20 lo res.jpg

When I moved to the country (Berks County in eastern PA) in 2014, I hesitantly continued to use them in rural landscapes. In the Morning I Am So Tall, 2014, is an example. I was blending the found objects with the values and colors in the piece, but I found it an uneasy alliance. The detritus didn’t come from those locations, and I was never sure the idea was working.

Still, I was and am attracted to the concept of the pieces representing an “archeological thumbprint” — markings made by humans as we traversed the world.

In the Morning I am So Tall small

I stopped using them in the rural landscapes last year. This is Red Roof, Purple Sky, 16 x 20″, 2018.

purple sky red roof lo res.jpg

I still was able to draw upon the “archeological thumbprint idea” thru incorporation of old lace, and sometimes papers — things that did come from this geographical area.

One piece that worked well was “Wild Turkey Parade,” where the found objects became turkeys parading through our meadow. Here is a detail of Wild Turkey Parade 1, 2015.

Wild Turkey Parade 1 detail lo res

The found objects still call to me.  My collection has built back up, after I got rid of most things last year.

They found their place in the Eastern Europe in Stitches series I did last year, as we travelled through that area. Visits to flea markets were a great source. Here is Secrets of Prague, 5 x 7″ 2018.

Secrets of Prague lo res

I became enamored of used postage stamps in particular. I often looked up the story behind a person or historical reference. Thus the tiny quilts encased worlds within worlds — secret histories to explore.

Here is Nicolaus, Karl and George, three unlikely postage stamps companions. 5 x 7″, 2018.

 

Nicolaus Karl and George lo res

Just recently I’ve returned to an earlier idea of creating little birds and other creatures from the found objects in the quilts. Here is Krazy Kat, 5 x 7″ inspired by a Walmart hanger that I didn’t really mean to bring home!

Krazy Kat

For 2019 I want to continue using them, both in created creatures, and in little quilts that represent a place or idea.

My stock is building back up! Here’s what I brought home just yesterday. So, stay tuned!

Found objects 1 3 19

Last week I spoke about how I get inspired to make a work of art. I used the example of a visit to the Angel Oak in South Carolina, purported to be the oldest living thing east of the Mississippi.

As I walked under its immense limbs, some curving down to touch the earth, I breathed in its fragrance, the earthy perfume of this huge living organism.

I marveled at the “Resurrection Ferns” which grow directly on the bark after a rain.

On the trunk there were ruts, scars, cut off limbs and damage done down through the ages.  Here Native Americans rested, then white settlers, slave masters and enslaved workers, warriors, artists, children, and lovers.

This is the end product of the process that began for me with a sketch that day in May when I visited the Angel Oak. It is entitled “The Secrets it Has Kept,” 40.5 x 40.5. Studio Art Quilt with fabrics, papers and found objects by Martha Ressler.

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

Excited Sky is based on a painting by Hayley Lever, “The Allegheny in 1923.” Materials used: fabrics, antique lace, silk cord. Methods: free motion quilting, hand embroidery. Size 19 x 22 framed.  On the right is where the David L Lawrence Convention Center is today. This was created for a customer, and it is already hanging on her wall.  She reports that she is enjoying it a lot!