Monday, April 29, 2013

my lovely bones

"these were the lovely bones
that had grown around my absence..."
- alice sebold

so much of my time has been wrapped up in music of late. exploring this new (to me) world of cigar box guitars and their link to depression era delta blues. so much so that it felt almost foreign to my fingers to pick up a needle and thread and begin chanting upon cloth once again. almost. but memories have a way of ebbing back into place once we are receptive to them again...

oh so long ago (there's a blog entry somewhere about it, but i haven't taken the time to hunt it down) i mentioned having this enormous collection of vintage linens. pillow cases. dresser scarves. chair leaves. candle mats. kitchen linens. i had been contemplating using them somehow in a new interpretation of a crazy quilt. perhaps there is a predominantly white crazy quilt or two out there somewhere. i'm quite certain that a quick google search would probably spit back an endless flow of images (google seems to be good at that). but i don't want to contaminate my idea with someone else's so i will resist the urge to investigate further. instead, i simply acknowledge the old axiom that there are no new ideas is most likely true and forge on ahead nonetheless.

this is the beginning of my first block for what will become a large shelter cloth. it will span generations of expression in that it will be comprised of the daily toil of countless stitchers from unknown generations, cobbled together by my own vision. i'm calling it (for the moment at least) my lovely bones and will be infusing it with tangent images and design. as many of you know, bones have long been one of my own personal symbols of great meaning and endless whispering... i will be dispensing with "traditional" crazy quilting techniques (with the exception of embellished seams) and utilizing contemporary boro, or slow cloth, techniques. building layers of cloth fragments one upon another until the shelter cloth is of the size and weight desired. allowing the layers of time to provide its own density and warmth.

for now, however, i must get my head back under the steam cloth for i can not breathe (how dare this cold strike me down in the hour of my inspiration!).



  1. Lovely bones that speak not only of what was, but of what is to come. I always marvel at the stichwork on old linens. Combined with crochet, tatting, or needle lace and I am over the moon awed. I think of these makers who created during their quiet time. The did in one day, more than I do in 3 and without the modern conviences I enjoy. All I need is for the microwave to go out just as I wanted to warm up a cup of tea to remind me of all that makes life easier. Compound that with poor lighting, eye glasses that were not the best, and being tired from a full day - the stitchmaker's art is amazing. The need to create out weighs the need for rest. :) Wishing you a speedy recovery and a sun filled week.

    1. it does boggle the mind. we think of our lives today as being so busy and filled with "necessary" activities that prevent us from our "idle distractions". yet these women toiled long and hard without any of our "modern conveniences" and still managed to create amazing beauty at the end of their needles!

  2. I just found your blog, Joe, and I love it. Hope you get over your cold soon.