For many years my mother made what she called “soft sculpture” dolls. The bodies were cut from muslin using a pattern she had purchased over 40 years ago (“Gingersnap Friends” by DreamSpinners; see the last photo, below). She embroidered the faces, added yarn hair and other details, and sewed clothes for them — often using recycled fabrics. She made these unique and personal dolls for family and friends (mine, made when I moved into an apartment with no roommates, is shown below; she dubbed the winking doll “NTR” — the No Trouble Roommate). Recently my brother asked her to make dolls for his granddaughters, but because of her illness it was too much for her. I took it over and — due to time constraints — attempted to simplify their construction. I figured if I used colorful, printed fabric then the dolls were already “dressed”, saving me some work. Once I found the vibrant colors and patterns of Bright Eyes fabric by @annamariahorner I decided they didn’t need hair or faces either. And they really came alive when I added embroidery details to their knees, elbows, and heads.
My mother was delighted with the colorful dolls and she helped me stuff them (when we were finished, she said “I mean how can a kid look at that and not smile?”). I told her that hers were “Fine Art” and mine were “Folk Art”! Her mother fondly called her “Frankie” so we christened our soft sculptures “Frankie Dolls”.
My “Grab ‘Em By The Mid-terms” oven mitt was voted-in to the “Know Your Meme: Stitching Viral Art” exhibition and is on display at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles from October 20, 2019 through January 12, 2020. In true “meme” fashion, the artwork selection for the exhibit was driven by the power of the people, curated by the number of online votes.
The exhibition explores the concept of the meme as a poignant method to summarize, understand, and critique important societal issues and current events. All artworks must depict, relate to, or reference a meme through a textile method such as quilting, embroidery, cross- stitching, knitting and crocheting, weaving, basketry, etc.
My Artist's Statement: What better way to “grab ‘em by the mid-terms” than with a hardy, handmade oven mitt! Stitched and sewn in anticipation of the November 2018 mid-term elections. The magenta pink harkens back to the women’s pussy hat marches. A Newsweek story about the January 2018 women’s march called “grab ‘em by the mid-terms” a “mordant” slogan – i.e., biting or stinging. A mitt that is useful in the kitchen and when marching in the street…
I made my own Espadrille shoes in a class at the Butcher's Sew Shop. We brought our own fabric then cut and sewed the two fabrics (outside and lining) into a top and sides.
The fabric was then fitted to the traditional rubber and jute soles (from Diegos), pinned, and blanket-stitched using cotton twine.
What a kick! My pussy-hat-magenta-pink "Girls Just Want to have Fundamental Human Rights" chiffon scarf is in the just-released CMYK issue of Uppercase magazine! The issue is full of the work of many talented people and pulls together so many of my favorite things (the Folly Cove Designers, Josef Albers-inspired weavings, offset lithography, typography, and fabric just to name a few). There's even a story about an innovative new ink derived from car exhaust, that turns pollutants into artistic possibilities (Graviky).
Each page and that eye-catching drawdown cover by Baltimore Print Studios is a delight that leaves me feeling "hi-res"!
My father made this wooden sewing caddy while in school and gave it to his mother. It hold spools of thread, scissors, and above the wings -- along the body -- is a place for pins. It was well-used by my grandmother who excelled in the Peaceful Arts and now I am using it as well.