Monday, November 17, 2014

Let's have a big hand for persistence

Let's have a big hand for persistence. 

I'm working on an image of hands (a pair of dark-skinned hands working on a project with a pair of light-skinned hands) for an upcoming art quilt show centered on a theme of civil rights.  I'm using a technique taught by an art quilter named Susan Carlson

The photo of the hands was kindly furnished to me by Dani Abrams, whose mother, Jackie Abrams, owns the hands on the right.  Jackie was teaching basket-making in Namibia at the time.

Susan Carlson's technique involves using lots and lots of little teeny-weeny pieces of fabric, holding  each one in place with a tiny spot of glue in the center until all the pieces are in place.  Here's my initial attempt at that technique:

But after many hours spent on this iteration, I decided that the pieces had a more haphazard look than I wanted.  The hands looked...well, scabby.  Or leprotic.  Or psoriataic.  The skin on them looked as if it were exfoliating.

See what I mean?

So I started all over with a second pair of hands.  Here's what I have so far.

The pieces are still teeny-weeny, and the concentration it takes to place them is still intense.  But at least they don't look like they have psoriasis.

 I'm willing to put in the time because, well, I want this image to be good.  It will hang at the Hartford Public Library starting in about mid-December, for a show with a theme of civil rights.  It's worth doing right.

You know how they say art is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration? Well.

Persistence.  Let's have a big hand for persistence.


  1. Beautiful capture of perspective and reality using texture and design. I am looking forward to seeing the finished piece of work.

  2. I just found your work today. I am gasping much, in awe of your capture of textures and rhythms and moments. And Cabbages!

    But THIS piece, Fragile Ties, is so evocative it gave me tears. It so frankly presents the notion that fragile ties should be nurtured. And it shows how: gently, patiently PERSISTENTLY! I'm in a situation where fragile ties are being nurtured, and it does not feel like business as usual. It's work, against prevailing winds, under harsh conditions.

    I especially enjoy that you showed how weird the hands looked in the beginning. They ended up Perfect in the finished piece.