Friday, June 15, 2007

Make Holy Art!

Here's a quote from an interview with Howard Finster done in 1984: "One day – how I got started in art – when I was 60 years old, after I’d retired from pastoring, my shop was over in the garden that I have, my environment, I found out that when something got scratched, you do a touch up job on it. Well I’d put my finger in the paint like that – I could smooth it with my finger much better than with a brush. I’d learned to do that. I took my finger and dipped it in white paint, and I looked to do that. I took my finger and dipped it in white paint and I looked at it and this white paint was a human face on the ball of my finger there. And while I was looking at it, just a warm flash kinda went all over me all the way down and said, “Paint sacred art.” And I said to it, I said, “I cain’t do that.” I said, “I know professionals can, but not me.” And it come to me again and says, “How do you know?” Then I asked myself that question. I said, “how do I know that I can’t paint?” I took a dollar bill out of my wallet and I taped it on a piece of plyboard and went out in front of my shop. And I started drawing George Washington off that dollar bill. And the school kids got out along about three and they began to groom up behind me, you know, and watch me painting. That was a little exciting, and touching too, you know. I felt almost like an artist then. [Laughing] And then from that, then, I started painting. And my idea was, what I’ll do, I’ll paint ’em and I’ll hang ’em in my garden."

Why am I quoting Rev. Finster right now? I feel like I got my little face appearing in the paint telling me to make art! I entered the quilt for my mother in a nationally juried Art Quilt Show ( -- I promise to learn how to do hyperlinks, soon, at least i learned the word for them!) and I got accepted into the show!
I am very excited!

Monday, June 4, 2007

I get by with a little help with my friends...

When my grandfather died almost 20 years ago, i took the vests from his very dapper 3 piece suits, out of his closet. I didn't tell my mother or ask my grandmother. I wore them (Annie Hall influence even though i hadn't seen the movie). Then i put them in boxes and carried them around with me, move after move. A couple of years ago i got the idea to make them into a quilt for my mom. every holiday i wrote it on my to do list, but never got around to it. Recently she told me she had finally gotten rid of my grandfather's suits. She had been driving around with them in her car for a couple of weeks.

I guess that lit a fire under me and i completed the top of the quilt, but then i got stuck with the backing and binding and it sat around for another 6 months or so! Mother's Day seemed the perfect goal to get it done, but when i got out my sewing machine, I discovered that my son had worked little bits and pieces off of the machine, and I can't find them all!

Discouraged, depressed, angry at myself, i finally admitted that I needed help. I had to humble myself and I needed to ask someone for help.

I am very lucky becus i have three friends who immediately said "yes" and set a date to help me! I arrived at Kathy Grady's house on a hot day at the end of May. She was sitting outside on her patio under an awning with Lisa Basile and Susan Brauner. They looked at the quilt and quickly sent me back to my house to get a different fabric for the backing than the one I had brought. They were right, of course, i was settling for the fabric i could easily find. After some frantic digging, I found the one i wanted and returned. Everyone was busy working, cutting and ironing the binding (made from the silk lining of the vests). Susan has a really simple elegant way of doing the binding and she showed me how it works.

I felt so much pleasure in having the quilt finished, (well, i still had to go home and do some hand sewing, but practically done), and so grateful to my friends for this gift that i wondered if someone had slipped me some Ecstasy! It reminded me of when i lived in New York City and my 18 year old roommate (i was 29), and her friend were doing ecstasy. They gave me a big hug and said, "We love you Kristen! We love the way you bring home junk from the street and fill up the whole apartment!"