Eleanor Levie has a gift for laughter as well as the skill of a fine 'needler.' She fits right in with Subversive Stitchers everywhere. She has been a part of the quilting community for so long she made a Timeline quilt to document it -- oh, that's the history of quilting....
Check out her website for more fascinating details concerning this fun and imaginative quilt!
She also writes books and teaches and lectures and whew. she's one busy quilt lover!
You know Eleanor is in a room -- just follow the laughter. Yet her quilts often have a more serious message, such as her poppy quilt below. --Dawn
Speaking out loudly in fabric and thread,
Art from the heart, never spread on a bed,
Planning precisely, then slicing and skewing,
Mistake and surprise rarely seam my undoing!
Making a statement in free-motion cursive…
Ahhh, that's the life of a stitcher subversive. --Eleanor Levie
I'm a big fan of Dawn's blog: As a runaway from a goody-two-shoes childhood, I'm always thrilled to be labeled subversive in any aspect of my life or work. Hey, you know it's more fun to break the rules than follow them, right?
Exhibit A: During the decades I have edited quilt books, and hung my reputation on the hook of clarity and reliability. However, I can't, for the life of me, follow directions. As an editor for McCalls Needlework & Crafts in the '80s, and as the freelance producer of the Rodale's Successful Quilting Library series at the turn of the new century, I really do know the right way to do all aspects of quilting. I just get sidetracked with the voice that says, "What if I do this instead…?".
My choices aren't life and death, but I do choose to forego square, 90 degree angles. Another flower piece that subverts the square is "What's Your Body Type?" I made this memory quilt (43" x 21") in 2005 for a show at the Allentown Art Museum. Part of an invitational exhibit, it supplemented entries for a contest sponsored by P & B Textiles to promote a reproduction toile fabric collection. A triple "self-portrait" represents my body at three phases of life: the slender bud vase of my budding youth, the bulbous pot as I burst with life and voluptuousness during pregnancy; and in pear-shaped, big-bottomed maturity. Despite the ridiculous messages society screams to be skinny, skinny, skinny, aren't all women beautiful?
My skinny memory quilt, titled "Stringbeans" (14" x 56", 2008), pokes fun at how skinny everyone in my gene pool started out. Sun-prints of stringbeans, sliced in half and pinned to the painted fabric, suggest how scrawny the lot of us were, almost like Diane Arbus shots. Transfers of old photos on sheer fabric, vintage lace scraps, and wallpaper florals convey nostalgia.
Within the last few years, in no small part due to my son's passion for ecology, I've looked to quilting and crafting to call attention to the urgency of lifestyle change to repair the earth. We've got to stop contributing to the making of and the mountains of plastic bags. And if you're like me, you need help remembering to bring your reusable cloth bags into the supermarket. Hence, my latest book: Unforgettable Tote Bags—20 Designs Too Cool to Leave in the Car. Again, I looked to celebrity quilters to provide inspiration and variety. Here I am, shopping locally, with my 14-Carrot Gold bag.
These days, I'm taking the reuse, recycle, repurpose shtick in another direction. Foil-lined plastic bags that hold a crease, such as bags that hold coffee and single tea bags, are the staples of my current stash. Counting the weird top, a stabilizer, and a felt backing, it's three layers, all right. And it's pieced, appliqued, and free-motion quilted...but a quilt? Your call.
Subversive? Maybe. Stitched, yes, indeedy. A message? Well, certainly a mess of fun.
This is a first effort in this direction -- any suggestions? Advice?