Keeping the Faith: Inspired by the Storied Quilts of Faith Ringgold

Keeping the Faith: Inspired by the Storied Quilts of Faith Ringgold

WEB2I recently led elementary school-aged students through a project inspired by the storied artist Faith Ringgold, progenitor of the art of the “Story Quilt

WEB9Students used pieces of “eco-fi” (made of recycled plastic bottles) felt, upon which they built their “story”, using pieces of cloth/fabric/textiles, ribbon, more felt, “pom poms“, feathers, fabric tape and so forth. All materials soft fabric or adornment materials.

WEB7Some young artists glued two to three pieces of felt together, some used a single sheet.

WEB1Students learned about gluing different sorts of materials together. How does one glue down feathers to a surface, while retaining their “feather-like” quality?

WEB3Students worked in close proximity at the cafeteria tables where our class is held, interacting and sharing about their pieces as they went along.

WEB4The color and texture of the materials seemed to affect the makers. The young girl above in the flowered dress put her piece to her cheek a number of times, enjoying its softness.

WEB6This young artist displayed incredible patience, cutting and gluing multitudes of repeating shapes onto the felt, bordering them with fabric tape, and even backing the piece with black felt.

WEB8All of the makers displayed relish and joy in the materials, and unbounded creativity. Whether working abstractly or figuratively, the students shared their stories with shapes, color, texture and imagery!

What a JOY!

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Inspired by Faith and her Storied Quilts

Inspired by Faith and her Storied Quilts

Teaching a class for the C.R.E.S.T. Enrichment program of Santa Monica entitled, “Making Art Inspired By Great Artists” allows for many exciting possibilities.

The artist Faith Ringgold is a natural for children, as she has written and illustrated for them herself. She created a unique “hybrid” art form she calls the “Story Quilt”, which combines quilting and painting, with a focus on cloth.

WEBjStudents aged 5-9 worked with pre-cut pieces of Eco-fi “felt (made from recycled plastic bottles), and developed their scenes or stories by adding cloth,pom poms, ribbon, leather, textiles, feathers and fabric tape.

WEBiMany of the students chose to glue pieces of the felt together, to create larger works.

WEBdAlthough some look abstract, each holds a story that expresses aspects of the maker’s experience. The piece above holds an ice cream cone, and later pizza was added!

WEBbWhen I asked the talented young artist why she put a dollar sign on the piece above, she shrugged and said simply, “I don’t know.” Somewhere in there, is a story!

WEBaThis young artist kept putting her piece up to her cheek, enjoying its tactile softness.  She said it depicted a “state”.  Did she mean flag?

WEBfWEBgWEBe1It was fascinating to see how several students used pieces of the same textile or cloth.

WEBhThe piece above is actually backed in black felt, and the six-year-old artist framed it with a border , hallmarks of Ringgold’s “Story Quilts”. This first grader’s old’s patience in piecing together all of the felt rectangles, (which she also cut out), is stunning, as is the finished piece!

As all of the “Story Quilts” are.  Inspired, and inspiring!

MemoryMaking Books

MemoryMaking Books

In celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Santa Monica Public Library, I had the opportunity to lead a bookmaking program at the  Montana Avenue Library, my home branch of the SMPL

“Making Memory Books” was requested… a single signature style book, embellished with fabric.

WEBaLeather, denim, beads, as well as decorative papers and fabric scrap were some of the goodies laid out for participants to use.

WEBcThe signatures were already prepared, with holes punched. Once bound with the three-hole pamphlet stitch, the first and last pages were glued to the inside of the front and back covers, and the book was formed.

WEBiThen, the fun could really begin!  let the embellishment commence!

WEBkPaper, “eco-fi” felt, cloth, lace and leather transformed the book structures into unique works of art.

WEBdUpon request, a square shape was used, instead of the more common vertical  rectangle.

WEBeA mother daughter duo enjoyed adorning their book covers with butterflies.

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WEBfIs this a pink planet, surrounded by butteries?

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WEB2The inspiration for the project was a series of fabric covered sewn book models,

WEB8with cloth pieces applied patchwork style.

WEB1The colors, patterns, shapes and tactile quality of cloth and textiles can evoke powerful memories.

WEB2The effect can be pleasing visually, as well as tracing remnants of life stories barely remembered but held in the body, memory and emotions through the sense of touch.

These books, that may hold memories barely discernible to the maker, can now become the repository of new memories, as scrapbooks, photo albums, journals, or sketchbooks.

What a beautiful gift.

Happy Holidays, and peace and blessings for the New Year.

Behind the Mask 3

Behind the Mask 3

It has been fun integrating my Mom, Judy Disman’s “mini-masks” into a series of my handmade books.

WEB1The series is comprised of small (approximately 4.5 x 6 x1-1.5″), single and multiple signature books,

WEB3made of repurposed board, paper, jewelry parts,

WEB6 hemp cord, linen thread, and Eco-fi felt (made from recycled plastic bottles.)

WEB5It is a joy to play with color and  the tension of opposites.  Here the compliments blue and orange, are couched in bright white, reflecting flag colors of red, white and blue, with a twist.

WEB4The stitched, or “lashed” edges are inspired by  medieval clothing and lacing.

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Braided ties can keep the books closed, and the pages are blank.

All the better of stashing secrets!

 

Behind the Mask 2

Behind the Mask 2

It has been fun integrating my Mom, Judy Disman’s “mini-masks” into a series of my handmade books.

WEB2The series is comprised of small (approximately 4.5 x 6 x1-1.5″), single and multiple signature books,

WEB6made of repurposed board, paper, jewelry parts, and raffia,

WEB1as well as hemp cord, linen thread, and Eco-fi felt (made of recycled plastic bottles.)

WEB3The stitched, or “lashed” edges are inspired by

WEB4medieval clothing and lacing, and of course…color.

WEB5The books tie together, and the pages are blank…

all the better of stashing secrets!

 

Behind the Mask 1

Behind the Mask 1

It has been fun integrating my Mom, Judy Disman’s “mini-masks” into a series of my handmade books.

WEB3The series is comprised of small (approximately 4.5 x 6 x1-1.5″), single and multiple signature books,

WEB5made of repurposed board, paper, jewelry parts, and raffia,

WEB1as well as hemp cord, linen thread, and Eco-fi felt (made of recycled plastic bottles.)

WEB6The bound edges are inspired by

WEB7medieval clothing and lacing,

WEBaand of course…color.

The books tie together, and the pages are blank…all the better of stashing secrets!

Making the French Connection: Linkage

Making the French Connection: Linkage

I have already posted about learning the “French Link” binding technique, twice. But here I wanted to take a look at the bound backs, aka, the “spines” of my explorations of this binding, and see how they play as a collective grouping.

WEBaSample…sometimes the little “models become the pieces I like the most. This practice piece is made from repurposed board, newsprint, paper image, cord and ribbon.

I don’t think I am alone in being fascinated by groupings, collections, series, and other means of seeing how singular parts can come together to create  a unique whole.  A group of things brought together will often become something wholly different ( pun intended) then (indeed transcend) the sum of its parts.

Here then, I peruse my forays into The French Link, (a form of Coptic binding) as a way of exploring not only the technique itself, but also this phenomena of parts coming together to create new meanings, often unintentionally.

WEB3The book I made in the class. with covered boards and 6 sections. A bit wobbly with only 2 connector ribbons.

WEB2Seeking to heal the “wobble”, I added a third connector ribbon (my nomenclature), and two more ribbons to tie the book closed. Made of board covered with Eco-fi felt , repurposed paper, hemp cord, and ribbon.

WEB4Continuing the polka dot theme…this two connector ribbon book was made in honor of an eight-year-old’s birthday. The thickness of the ribbons also helped with the wobble.

WEB2Red and black book fit for a warrior, and one turning six, who is fascinated by outer space. Because the “space” connector ribbons have such bling, I used thin off-white linen thread for the stitching, so as not to compete.

WEB4Wanting yet more polka dots to show, I added some slits to the covers of this book to weave the connector ribbons through, thus adding strength to the structure. The pages are made of foam sheets, all the better for the three-year-old owner.

WEB4Inspired by the bear,  this book is a plain, brown, bare ode to the bear, a favorite ‘spirit animal” in our household. Made from bits and pieces of this and that…one of my favorite ways of working. With books, that is.

As I continue to delve into the rich and endless world of bookmaking as an art form, separating works into groupings lends some sense of direction and  organization around the process, a  container for limitless exploration.

Looking at books from the back can be an interesting vantage point. I have their back, so to speak. And so do You.

 

Linkage: How I Learned to Love to Link

Linkage: How I  Learned to Love to Link

The French Link

WEBbI recently learned the French Link stitch in a class, and then almost immediately made 7 books using it. I had struggled with the structure in class, and felt sure that if I could just sit down far from the maddening crowd in the relative sanctity of my studio, I could get comfortable with this process, and be on my way to mastering it. The little model above is my first solo flight, and it was fun, and gratifying.

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The Brown Bear Book. A Gift. For a Brown Bear. Made of paper, board, ribbon, Eco-fi felt and hemp cord. Five signatures, or sections, or three folios each. The “x” is the French Link.

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My book from class. Fun use of paper.

 

And maps. WEB4WEB5This book is composed of seven sections of four folios each. The links are created over the ribbons, which are then inserted through slits in the covers, glued to the inside of the covers, and then in this case, covered with paper.

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Getting daring, I employed three ribbons on this one, inspired by polkas dots, linking four sections of three folios each.

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The inside was fun.WEB4

There are some nifty-looking sites and tutorials out there that deal with the French Link, so i feel confident that should i need further support, it will be easy to find.  I hope this post has whetted your appetite…you have to love this stitch…its French! C’est si bon!

 

 

Books: unZIPPED

Books: unZIPPED

It can be fascinating, fun…and sometimes startling  to add elements to books that compel, or at least encourage engagement by giving the viewer, or, “handler”, (peruser?)  something to do. Books by their nature are most often opened and closed…but in what other ways can they move, or be moved?

WEB4WEB5This humble structure is informed by the Japanese concept of “Wabi-sabi“, an aesthetic of imperfection, impermanence, and even incompleteness. Repurposed cloth is sewn to thin, repurposed cardboard with jute cord, with other strips glued on inside. Repurposed paper passed to me by a colleague is sewn with jute to the cardboard spine in a single signature with a five-hole pamphlet stitch, to create the pages.

WEBcWEBhWEBnInspired by the cheesecake box from which it’s covers and spine are made, this piece was covered first in hand-me-down newsprint strips, then repurposed muslin fragments, then appliquéd (in the strict sense of the term) with repurposed lace and a zipper. It’s pages are five single folded sheet signatures, or bifolium , sewn to the spine with unwaxed linen thread.

WEB2WEB1This multiple signature (technically “section“) book is made from repurposed cardboard, acid-free drawing paper, hemp cord, a zipper, and Eco-fi felt. The signatures technically bifolium, are sewn onto a strip of the “felt”, which is then centered and glued over the spine. The book is covered, or “wrapped” in Eco-fi felt, which is used to decorative effect, and gives it a “cozy” feel. The zipper is glued to the spine.

web1web3This book is constructed in the same way as the one above, except that the pages are created from a  single signature, and three zippers are applied, making sound effects when engaged.

Participation encouraged. Books are made to interact with.