Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Quilter’s Guide to Publishing

We talk of the men and women who helped revitalize quilting in the 1970s and moved it into a respected art form. Here is Caron Mosey, who saw a need and filled it, sharing her love and knowledge of quilting, bringing it to women across the United States. She met them in classrooms and exhibits and through her books. Her books were giant steps toward the art and landscape and pictorial quilts we enjoy creating today.

Thanks Caron for agreeing to guest blog on Subversive Stitchers: Women Armed with Needles and thank you, thank you, thank you, for stepping up and moving fabric art forward for us to enjoy today. -- Dawn

Caron Mosey in her own words:

When I was asked to be a guest blogger on Subversive Stitchers, I was so excited. I wasn’t sure what to write about, so I polled some friends and guests on my own blog for their input. Everyone I spoke with wanted to know the same thing: how do quilters get published? It’s slightly different for each individual, but here are some basic steps that worked for me.

First, in order to be a quilter/writer, it is necessary to have completed enough quilts to be knowledgeable about the quilting process.

Your work should stand out as being unique, skillful, and worthy of publishing. In other words, know the quilting process inside out! If you have never submitted your quilting in a juried show, I highly suggest you do so. It is a good idea to have your own “quilting resume”. Each time your quilt is shown or published, or each time your name is mentioned in a magazine or newspaper article, include that in your resume.

Second, you should be able to write clearly in your native language, following all those rules of grammar and punctuation your teachers pounded into you when you were young. Editors will help you with little slip ups, but they would rather not have to do that. Always put your best foot (or pen) forward.

You will want to send a sample of your manuscript to several different publishers. It is important that you find out in advance exactly what they want to see and how they want to view it. Some publishers only accept electronic documents, others still want to see a hard copy they can touch. Some will want it in a 3 ring binder, others will want it stapled. Start by locating 3-6 publishers who handle quilting books. Visit their websites and do a search for any of the following terms within their website: manuscript submissions writer’s guidelines, new books, submission guidelines. Click here for Guidelines for the American Quilter’s Society.

Whether you are writing a short article for a magazine or an entire book, it is necessary to have a unique topic. Develop your own method, pattern or quilting style – something that sets you apart from others. You will need enough samples of finished quilts and projects to show your readers. These can be created entirely by you, or you can round up your friends and tell them what you need. Provide instruction and guidance so that their quilts work for your topic. You are in the driver’s seat! A fun way to do this is to host a pre-book party, then meet regularly to stitch and compare ideas. Take photos all along the way. The more photos, the better!

When you have collected lots of great shots and ideas, take time to think through your article or book. Organize your thoughts on paper until they flow the way you want them. Write 1 or 2 chapters of the book (or 15-20 pages, depending on the type of book you are creating), and place markers within the text showing where photos should be placed. Prepare a photo sheet that contains numbered photos to go with your text, including title and caption for each photo.

Your writing sample will be sent to several publishing companies. Prepare a written explanation of the purpose of your book. Is your book for beginners or advanced quilters? Will you provide explicit patterns or is your book primarily for visual enjoyment, such as a coffee table book? Include the outline for the book and copies of the photos that go with your writing sample. Write a letter to a specific person at the company that tells who you are and what you are sending. Include all your contact information – name, address, phone numbers, email address, your website and/or blog (if you have one).

Label every single sheet with your name, working book title and copyright date (Example: The Quilter’s Guide to Publishing, copyright 2009 Caron Mosey). Number all pages consecutively, put them together the way the publisher wants to see them, and mail (email or snail mail).

Now, here is the hard part: BE PATIENT. You may hear back in four weeks, but it could be as long as months. If you don’t hear anything in three months, a friendly letter of inquiry is not out of line. You will probably receive the famous “letter of rejection.” Do not take it personally, and try not to let it sway you from your goal of being published. Read the letter carefully several times, look at any suggestions that were made, tweak your writing sample if necessary, look in the mirror, smile and say NEXT! Mail your manuscript to the next publisher on your list.

Photos: French Star Quilt and close up of same quilt's stitching. Made in 2007.

Caron Mosey is the author of America’s Pictorial Quilts and Contemporary Quilts From Traditional Designs. America’s Pictorial Quilts was written out of frustration at not finding books on pictorial quilts. It was the early 1980’s, and while you could find pictorial quilts in magazines, there wasn’t a pictorial quilt book to be found. I was blessed to be one of the first quilter/writers to be published by the brand NEW American Quilter’s Society. I participated as a teacher and exhibitor at the first AQS quilt show and contest in April of 1985, and for several years toured the country teaching what I loved: quilting.

Cyril Nelson of E.P. Dutton Publishers (now PenguinBooks,USA) became the editor for my second book, Contemporary Quilts From Traditional Designs. Cy joined me in my excitement with the changing face of quilting, and I was thrilled that he supported my second venture. I learned a lot about quilts, folk art and writing from Cyril, who sadly passed away in June of 2005.

Her complete quilting resume can be found on her website.

A couple other publishers of craft and quilting books:

C&T Publishing

Lark Books

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mad about fashion or Mad Fashions?

Everyone should know that quilting has been around forever. Yet modern designers spit and accuse each other of ripping off their designs.

In January it was reported that Giorgio Armani pointed fingers at Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana for ripping off his idea for quilted trousers. The idea has been around longer than Armani! Check out the art to the left -- quilting and fashion have been arm in arm for centuries.

Although not a slave to fashion nor usually within a decade of being considered 'fashionable' I find myself hearing bits and seeing pieces of fashion trends. And what I'm seeing and hearing is all about 'embellished' and 'quilted' and 'appliqued' as being hot, hot, hot!

And when I hear those terms -- embellished, quilted, and appliqued -- I'm there! It's almost as good as a quilt show!

Check out Carolina Herrara's appliqued dress from her Spring 2009 collection in the photo below.

According to the Fashion Directory, precision laser cut patterns, ribbon embellishment on filmy fabrics like tulle and chiffon (see below) and butterflies are in -- appliqued, embroidered, and print. The dresses in the photo below are respectively designed by: Preen, Rodarte, Alexander Wang, Chado Ralph Rucci from left to right.

Anything a fashion designer can do with a piece of clothing -- a quilt designer can do with a quilt -- fringe, folds, bejeweled? Oh yeah!

Remember Michelle Obama's inauguration ball gown embellished with Swarovski crystals? I saw it first on a quilt!

Black, white, lemongrass and assorted yellows are good choices for your fashions this year -- or so I've heard. It seems like they're good choices for art quilts, too.

Art and fashion have always been connected whether consciously or not. Artists are usually the most in tune with current trends and feelings and needs of people or cultures or civilization in general.

An interesting article about art inspiring Yves Saint Laurent is up at the News 24 site and demonstrates how Van Gogh, Braque, Matisse, Picasso all inspired the fashion designers collections. It seems that "art was a physical need even stronger than a passion" for Saint Laurent and when he needed to find peace or calm -- he found it in an art exhibit or gallery.

Quilters know he could have slept peacefully -- under a quilt. Talk about 'piece-makers.'

This may be the year you make your quilted art into wearable art. WOW (World of Wearable) Art has quite a display of 'wearable art' -- a bit outrageous, but maybe not when compared to runway styles of top designers. And after a visit to Bernina's fashion show in Houston last fall, I see some skilled designers coming up with some pretty and spectacular designs incorporating intricate techniques in the construction. Check out this entry in the last Bernina fashion show by Toni Carroll.

Is wearable art a part of your wardrobe now or in the future? If not -- why not?

NOTE: AP reports: An auction held in Paris to sell some of the art collections of the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his longtime partner Pierre Berge included pieces that influenced Laurent's fashion. For example "Piet Mondrian's 1922 painting 'Composition in Blue, Red, Yellow and Black,' with rectangles of saturated colors that inspired Saint Laurent's 1965 shift dress, sold for euro19.2 million ($24.6 million)."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mary Kay Mouton: Fresh idea leads to first book

Flip-Flop Paper Piecing:Revolutionary Single-Foundation Technique • 52 Full-Size Patterns
by Mary Kay Mouton
C&T Publishing, Feb. 16, 2009 $27.95

Delivered to book shelves for sale beginning Feb. 16: Mary Kay Mouton's first book for C&T Publishing. It features a new twist on foundation piecing.

The author, originally from Illinois now lives in Milledgeville, Georgia where she is
a member of the Lake Oconee Quilt Guild, a local bee group called the Old Capital Stitchers, and the Georgia Quilt Council.

quilts have been juried into The Pacific International Quilt Festival, Quilt Odyssey, The Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza, The American Quilter's Society Annual Quilt Show & Contest, The American Quilter's Society Quilt Exposition, The American Sewing Exposition, and Road to California. She won ribbons at The American Quilter's Society Annual Quilt Show & Contest (Honorable Mention), The Pacific International Quilt Festival (Second Place), The American Sewing Exposition (Second Place), and most recently Road to California (First Place -- shown below). She will begin teaching her first class in April.

Photos: cover of her book; sampler of some of her quilt blocks pieced using her new technique; 18x18-inch quilt that won first place in the Road to California Quilt Show; book author Mary Kay Mouton; and last a detailed photo
of four-basket quilt square.

Mary Kay Mouton in her own words:

It was in the making of a pieced border for one of my art quilts that I fumbled into Flip-Flop Paper Piecing. I was constructing a block featuring a plai
d fabric. Because I am nothing if not compulsive, I wanted that plaid to look continuous across the block, to be perfectly matched. And yet, I was tired just thinking of fussy cutting each piece and sewing each so precisely that the plaid would appear undisturbed, though actually broken by other non-plaids pieces in the block.

Suddenly I thought, why not just plop the plaid fabric down on a printed paper foundation. Then insert the other non-plaid fabrics by sewing them from both sides of the foundation! The plaid would look continuous because it would be continuous, and it would be precise because it would be foundation pieced on a printed foundation. By golly, I was on to something here!

Once I performed that first basic Work-Alternately-On-Both-Sides-Of-the-Foundation maneuver, my mind was flooded with one variation after another of what has come to be called Flip-Flop Paper Piecing (so named because the foundation is flipped back & forth, back & forth, flip flop, flip flop, as seams are sewn first on one side of the foundation, and then the other).

Sewing has been a passion since I first became armed and dangerous, needle-wise, at the age of 12. My mother took me to Singers' summer sewing classes. I have never had a better time, and I have never been the same since. As I progressed, I made everything from lined wool suits to jeans to underwear (but take my wise advice, underwear is better purchased than made). Indeed, I was rarely seen without a tape measure hanging around my neck.

I grew up, though, to become a Medical Records Administrator, very practical, very dull, very unsubversive. Next along came marriage, and oh-my-goodness-a-baby-changes-everything. My plans were to go back to work when my babies went off to school, but life intervened. A home-based business using my sewing skills came to my rescue. I made and repaired doll clothes. In my "spare time," mostly at odd moments stolen between the math tutoring and the potato mashing, I developed my only passion outside my family and my cat: quilting.

Quilting is the best of sewing.
It doesn't have to fit, and it can
never make
you look fat.
(I still mourn over the perfectly executed, striped linen suit that was, shall we say, less than flattering.) I started competition quilting. There is nothing like the thrill of having your quilts accepted into national quilt shows, ribbon won or not.

My quilts were largely appliqué, and generally nostalgic art with just a bit of piecing thrown in for contrast. But, as I worked with my new technique, I discovered hundreds, even thousands, of blocks could be pieced, each on its own undivided paper foundation. My greatest inspiration came one night, when half-asleep, dreaming of, what else, quilting, I sprang up to consciousness with the realization I could piece an 8-pointed Lemoyne Star, Flip-Flop-style. And once you have a Lemoyne Star, a Mariner's Compass is not far behind.

I developed 13 maneuvers in my piecing system, and submitted them to C&T Publishing, who, bless their little hearts, decided they'd take me in and publish my book. Now anyone can learn to Flip-Flop Paper Piece. Precision sewing no longer requires either exact and careful cutting, or the meticulous stitching of an "accurate" 1/4" seam. Nor does it demand constant measuring, and seam ripping, and resewing as the block is constructed. A little Flip-Flop maneuver here and there will produce precision, painlessly.

And the beauty part is that Flip-Flop Paper Piecing fits any quilting style or genre. The final product can be an innovative swirl of distorted blocks, a pieced landscape, or a reproduction of an antique masterpiece. It's all up to the individual subverter. Flip-Flopping is a technique with the speed and accuracy of traditional foundation piecing but with a range as limitless as our imaginations: There are Flip-Flop circles & Flip-Flop borders, Flip-Flop trees and Flip-Flop Houses, and a sky full of Flip -Flop stars. I love this technique.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kathy McNeil: Each quilt has a story and what a story!

Kathy McNeil believes passionately in the healthy benefits of a creative life. What a life. This Washington state-based quilt artist, teacher, designer, and judge pays close attention to the nature around her and recreates it in fabric right down to the slightest detail. She also captures major moments of her life in her pictorial quilts. These very personal and beautifully crafted quilts can be found in museums, magazines, calendars and the American Quilt Society's website. She's held solo shows at the top quilt museums and many of her quilts reside in private collections. When asked, "Why fabric art?" She responds: "I get to combine the elements of painting with the tactile and emotional response we all have to fabric." Since her life is featured in her quilts, you might want to know that she's 55, was a nurse for 35 years, married her childhood sweetheart, and is the mother of four children, two adopted from Korea. Below are the stories behind two of her pictorial quilts -- in her own words.

45 x48
Road to California show 2003 - 2nd place Innovative Wall Quilts

My mother died. She had always refused to discuss any issue concerning her emotional life. At the age of fifty, my mother left my father and went to live with another woman. A year later she returned. Their angry tumultuous marriage survived till the end of her life.

After her death, at the bottom of an old drawer, my two sisters and I discovered an old college Anthropology paper she had written and saved titled- Deviance.

“Deviance I learned on the street, and the labeling process, I learned in that jungle called society. I am sorry but there was no way to separate myself from this paper. I was never put behind bars, but I built a wall around myself that no one could penetrate, a wall of hatred, distrust and bitterness…”

Sadly she didn't overcome her walls. The pain I felt upon hearing her story, finally in her own words, is reflected in this quilt. The Puffins (natures little clowns) are filled with questions wondering why the Mime wears a mask pretending to be happy. My mother was happiest in th e islands. Turquoise was her favorite stone and the box reflects the contents of her life.

Hand applique - puffins, rocks, water, face, and hands Strip pieced blocks- background Traditional Patterns- variations of Mariner’s Compass Machine Embroidery- firework extensions Machine appliqué- eyebrows, eyes, and mouth Paper Foundation String Piecing- mime costume and collar
Embellishment- hair and seams of the costume Machine quilted

45 x 45
2006 by Kathy McNeil

Dedicated to my youngest daughter Mei Li and her birth mother.
The courage to love takes many forms.
Hand Appliqué on Silk Dupioni background Machine Piecing Hand Embroidery Machine Quilted, Machine Sashiko over tracing paper Celtic and Asian designs

I wrote her letters every year until my daughter started school. I still find myself whispering the latest news, hoping that somehow it will find it’s way to her. She would be so proud of this little one we share. A University sophomore, now, 5 feet tall, smart, beautiful, stubborn, and one of the worlds greatest procrastinators.

Is it 50/50? Nature -versus nurture? If so, then we would have a lot to discuss. What came from where? The stubbornness is up for grabs. Her
beauty and charm, I definitely will have to concede.

I think about you a lot. Maybe more than our daughter does at this phase of her young exciting life. She is almost the same age as when you made this monumental decision. Would it have all been different if your circumstances at this age had been similar to hers?

The letters have never been read. When my daughter was twelve, we sent extra money to the agency asking that they try and find an updated address or contact. We were told that after that first year, they had not been able to locate any forwarding information. At this time, my
daughter says she is not interested in searching, but the connection between the three of us still exists.

A connection of courage and hope. That little one, wide eyed, trusting that love will help her become the best of whom God created her to be. Each mother filled with a different type of courage. Hoping that love would conquer many of the obstacles in her path. We share this amazing young woman. I wish there was a way to reassure you that she has thrived with our love. An image of that connection came to me in a way that words could not express. So I made a visual verse from hundreds of scraps of fabric. A quilt that holds the courage and love that all
three of us share.

Soon it will be my turn to let her go out in to the world. Her wings are strong, her character solid, her choices wise. I will borrow your courage. She will continue to thrive. The 50/50 we have given her will be enough.

Kathy is now available to teach classes in her new home studio, offering a diverse list of lectures, workshops and trunk shows. Her next class will be Landscapes to Love, March 20 and 21. Kathy also travels to many guilds and conferences around the U.S to teach and judge every year. E mail her for more information. In July 2010, she will offer classes on the Quilters Cruise to Alaska.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Gwendolyn Magee in her own words

Textile artist Gwendolyn Magee presents an impressive resume. "Her work is found in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Mississippi Museum of Art and has been exhibited internationally. It is archived at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. In 2007 she was named a Ford Fellow by United States Artists - it came with an unencumbered $50,000 award.

2006 she was named as an "Honored Artist" by its Mississippi State Committee. In 2005 she was awarded an Artist Fellowship Grant by the Mississippi Arts Commission and selected in 2004 to represent the state on, a showcase "…spotlighting the diversity and achievements of outstanding artists who live and work in the South." Gwen was recognized by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters as Visual Artist of the Year in 2003." -- from her website. And most recently her work and those of several fellow artists have been the subject of controversy based upon Jo-Ann Fabric's decision to ban the March issue of "Quilters Home" from their stores. This issue includes the article, Shocking Quilts, written by Jake Finch. Other artists featured in this article include SAQA members Shawn Quinlan, Mary Beth Bellah, and Randall Cook, as well as Gayle McKay and Diane Johns.

Now, in her own words --


What is it about the artwork imagery featured in the March 2009 issue of Quilter's Home that is so objectionable that two major retailers decided not to make it available to their customers? Is there something intrinsically offensive about these artworks because of their subject matter, point of view, or style of execution that any who view it would swoon or get the vapors? None of the quilts can be described as being sleazy, debasing, or as portraying graphic sex or violence. From what exactly did the customer base of these merchants need to be protected?

I have not a clue.

As one of those whose art is featured in the article, I have been in turn amused, baffled, and even flattered about the banning. Responses by the art quilt world have ranged from outrage over the censorship to total support for it (which in itself is a little strange if you think about it). What puzzles me most, however, have been the accusations seeking to demean the work by implying or outright stating that artists who produce work beyond the province of abstracts or landscapes only do so for its "shock value".

I've never thought of my work as being shocking; controversial, perhaps. Thought-provoking, definitely – because that is exactly what I strive to achieve. From my perspective, art is about communication – the communication of feelings, the evoking of emotions, and the contemplation of ideas. It raises questions, examines perspectives, and depicts points of view. It is about creating dialogue and with engaging viewers to think about and/or otherwise react to the artwork. This has long been the primary goal for my art. I seek for it to be infused with meaning, for it to be imbued it with relevance, for it to engage the viewer in an extended internal dialogue.

My use of the quilt form as the medium through which my art is expressed is deliberate because ancestral matriarchs toiled untold hours in servitude as slaves, as sharecroppers, and as underpaid domestic servants. To keep their families warm during bitterly cold winter nights when "the hawk" came sweeping through the cracks and crevices of the shacks and shanties in which they were forced to live, they painstakingly made quilts using whatever materials they could find and whatever time they could manage to eke out of their bone crushing days. It is in their honor that I now tell their stories through the medium of cloth.

This is how I have been chosen to speak for those Big Mama's and Aunt Effies and Muh Dears and for the countless others that had no voices, or whose voices were silent or silenced. I find it fitting to use versions of those humble/homespun/unpretentious quilts to tell their stories and those of their descendents; to use the quilt format as the medium through which are represented their trials and tribulations from the horrors and degradation of slavery to the havoc that its aftermath of oppression, segregation and discrimination has wreaked on the minds, bodies and spirits of African Americans for well over 300 years.

I am fully aware that the dissonance is palpable between this medium through which my art finds expression and the subject matter that it articulates. I know that the quilt form usually is associated with feelings of warmth, comfort, serenity and security and that my subject matter often is harsh, intense, somber and frequently brutal. However, viewers of the art frequently convey to me that they find the work to be compelling, evocative, meaningful and riveting.

From my perspective, the offensiveness that those retailers found expressed in my art and that of the other artists featured in the Quilter's Home article resided only "…in the eye of the beholder…"

--Gwendolyn A. Magee

To order a copy of the book, visit Mississippi Museum of Art
Photos: Southern Heritage/Southern Shame: This was my response to the failure of a referendum to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the Mississippi state flag. God of Our Silent Tears: An execution scene addressing the disproportionate percentage of African-Americans given the death penalty and executed. It does not address the question of guilt or innocence, but questions whether or not our system of justice is truly equal for all. (Lift Every Voice and Sing series) These two quilts were included in the magazine article.

Mark Lipinski, publisher of Quilters Home wrote on his blog "
However, the issue has been still been banned, which I find personally upsetting because I think it’s a good article, but also upsetting as part of the press being censored, art being censored, and as a quilter who is one who doesn’t believe that a quilt is only for use on a bed, that women/quilters can make their own decisions
about what they’d like to read/see, and more, that it pains me that the industry at large is still so seemingly out of touch with who the 2009 woman/man/quilter is, as we continue to fight the stereotype that we are all not little old boring subservient church ladies."

(As of yet, I have not heard word from Jo-Ann Fabrics.)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My View: Miniatures in Minutes by Terrie Sandelin

Miniatures in Minutes
by Terrie Sandelin
C&T Publishing $27.95

80 pages

What's not to like about this book "Miniatures in Minutes" by Terrie Sandelin? She offers 24 paper-pieced projects that are completed with a single foundation. Yes, these are traditional patterns and art quilters may think that's not their cup of tea. But what these tiny traditions offer is a small quilt venue in which one can dabble and experiment with color. And I freely admit that color choice is a big stumbling block for me.

I particularly like where the author uses the same pattern with different color choices and then shows why one is better than the other. For example she pieced one little quilt using numerous light fabrics set against dark. And she pieced the same pattern using one light fabric with a couple medium and a dark fabric. It is easy to see that the first sample doesn't work because there are too many areas of high contrast and the overall pattern gets lost. Plus the second sample, with the choice of a warm apricot color as well as white, caramel and dark brown fabrics really is more appealing to my taste.

This author also warmed my heart with her honesty. "I'm your average, workaday kind of quilter. I make quilts that I love and that my family and friends appreciate.... That's enough for me."

She wants precision without "turning myself into knots" and she found the technique in the Fold and Sew method, which she first encountered through Anita Grossman Solomon's "Make It Simpler" books. Solomon's method was geared toward 6-inch blocks and taught paper piecing with multiple sections all on a single foundation. Sandelin adapted the concept for complete miniature quilts rather than one block.

She also had me nodding in agreement when she explained the attraction of miniature quilt making. "Many times, I hadn't really wanted to make a big quit. Perhaps I wanted a seasonal quilt for display or to play with some wonderful fabric that had leaped out and grabbed me. I learned that a lot of times, making a miniature satisfied my creative urge, and I had the pleasure of a finished quilt."

Sandelin also shows various uses for miniatures, not only as wall decor or doll quilts, but also as central motifs for notebook covers (or scrapbook covers) and tote bags.

The author doesn't identify levels of difficulty, but rather estimates how long it will take to cut the fabric, prepare the foundation, sew the foundation and remove the paper for each quilt design. And most of the patterns in the book can be made in LESS THAN EIGHT HOURS.

The tools needed are pretty basic and most quilters will have them already. Clover Mini iron, Roxanne Glue-Baste-It, a light box, fabric grips, freezer paper, and a printer copier may be a few items not already in your equipment cache. But should be. She recommends and even brow beats a little in her recommendation of translucent vellum and since this book is all about foundation piecing -- I'd listen to her recommendations.

This is a very thorough book and gives step by step directions and includes a pullout section with the foundation patterns already printed, easy way to copy and get started right away. Of course once you learn this method, it could be adapted to larger quilts, or portions of larger quilts. The fold and sew demonstration section really makes this technique easy to grasp.

C&T Publishing always makes such delightful books with color photos, enough white space to make them easy to read and enjoy. And quality paper and finished product.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Politicians target art funds when searching for budget cuts

Fabric Artist Eileen Doughty of Alexandria, VA, presents a rebuttal to what several politicians are saying about the value (or lack of) funding to art and artists.

Photo: Here's an image of one of her new Obama pieces, "Freedom's Box". Basically an allegory of Pandora's Box. Bush invoked Freedom (which is personified by the Statue on top of the capitol), but it had unforeseen consequences, letting loose all the troubles. Hope remains - symbolized by a golden brown bird, Obama.
To see more of Eileen's activist quilts, check out this link.

With the economy in the tank and government budgets being slashed, it was just a matter of time till the art community was targeted. Here are two recent examples:

  • Washington State Senator Steve Hobbs has introduced a bill which would remove the requirement to purchase art for public buildings for the years 2010 and 2011. Currently, Washington state agencies set aside half of 1 percent of the cost of any new government building to purchase public art.
  • U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers expressed concern about for $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in the stimulus bill. "That's not a(stimulus) expenditure," Rogers said. "You may like the NEA, but $50 million in art spending is not a stimulus in the economy."
So Congressman, what am I, chopped liver? Art doesn't stimulate the economy? I, as an artist do not contribute to economic stimulus? Perhaps these politicians subscribe to the common stereotype that artists should be starving and are happy to be broke.

Let's be real. I am a studio artist and have been helping to support my family with sales of my art for about 17 years. With my oldest going to college next year, that income will be even more necessary.

I do not make my art in a vacuum, pulling both ideas and materials out of thin air. Let's take a look at where I fit in "stimulating the economy" by not only selling, but by buying goods and services from other companies.

Here's a quick list, off the top of my head:

  • business stores like Staples, for paper and ink and copying services
  • freight companies: USPS, FedEx, UPS
  • local fabric stores and my local woman-owned quilt shop
  • insurance company
  • Internet service for my website hosting
  • art supplies - local stores, preferably locally owned (not chains)
  • hardware stores, prefer the locally owned one in my town
  • art galleries, museums, and other venues that show art
  • bookstores, to buy publications on art and business
  • magazines on art, art quilts, public art, business
  • framing shops
  • art consultants, architects, and others who help make those percent-for-art projects a reality
Then there is the the Torpedo Factory, a huge art center in Alexandria, Virginia. I am a member of a co-op which has had a gallery there since the place was renovated and reopened in 1974. This place draws crowds of people from all over. It is not unusual to have visitors from Europe and Australia and Japan, let alone every state of our Union. This year it became a "port" for a new water taxi that goes to a few hot spots along the Potomac. It also anchors the trolley system that runs through Old Town Alexandria. How many tourist dollars do you suppose our art helps bring to this area? Do you think the hotels and restaurants, airports, metro transportation system, taxi companies would notice if we went under?

I pay state taxes on retail sales and fed income taxes. That's your salary, Mr Politician. And I vote.

No, I'm not just chopped liver. I'm a portion of a nutritious and ambitious five course meal.

Photo: Eileen Doughty

Eileen is definitely NOT chopped liver. I met her via the Internet several years ago. I'm not sure if it was when I interviewed her for an article in Quilters World Magazine or just what it was that brought us together. She has been in my life so long I can't remember when she wasn't. She has certainly been patient and opened up a whole new world of fabric artistry to me.

Since that first interview, she has graciously answered questions and helped me connect with other artists, including Thelma Smith and her Activist Quilt
s exhibit "Changing the World One Thread at a Time." Astounded at what artists were doing with fabrics and what messages they incorporated in them, I quickly became an ardent fan of this free speech forum they have created. I also admire Eileen because she pursued an amazing first career -- cartography. Anyone who sees maps, must also see them as art forms. Exact and exacting art forms.

In 1991, Eileen, who had resigned her position as a supervisory cartographer to stay home with her newborn daughter, opened
her business "Doughty Designs."

Photo above: Root Domain, one of Eileen's favorite projects incorporates thread painting and offers much for us to take away from it.

She describes her artwork's evolution: "My philosophy is that I am a fiber artist, and my work should emphasize that it cannot be achieved with a simple flat surface. My newest work has more dimensionality by employing frayed edges, weaving, holes, non-cotton fabrics, multiple layers, etc. I am also learning how to express my worldview and political opinions in my art."

Here are a couple of upcoming shows where you can enjoy her work if you're in the neighborhood:

  • February 9 - March 5, 2009 "President Obama: A Celebration in Art Quilts"Cafritz Arts Center, Montgomery College, Takoma Park, Maryland
  • March 25 – April 8, 2009 Taiwan International Quilt Exhibition 2009 National Tainan Living Art Center, Tainan city, Taiwan