Work In Progress: Clothing Quilt
My latest project is a big, scary one, so I thought I would share some of my progress here on the blog. Let me begin with the back story:
Last year I decided that I really, really wanted to get my husband an original painting by one of his former grad school professors, Katharine Sandoz. I love Katharine’s work, and I especially love her portraits.
The more I went through her work, the more I wanted her to draw my family. That idea lead to another idea: Between Steve and I, we know a lot of artists. Really fantastic artists and illustrators. So I decided that every year, I want to ask one of those artists or illustrators to draw or paint our family through their eyes. The works would have to be small, 12 x 12 inches or smaller (since I plan to collect dozens of these) and would have to show us as we are right now. And every year our family would grow in these little pieces of art.
Since her work is what sparked the idea, I had to ask Katherine first. I was nervous because I knew it wouldn’t be cheap–nor should it be, because her work is exquisite. I calculated just how many tampon bags I’d have to sell to pay her, and crossed my fingers for a Former Student’s Wife Deep Discount Blowout Sale, or something. To my surprise and delight, she proposed a trade. Four miniature portraits of each of us in exchange for a “portrait” of her family. She would send me a box of her boys’ outgrown clothing along with bits of her and her husband’s clothes, and I would cut it all up and put it back together as a quilt.
I told her that I am not a quilter. I’ve made a few quilt-ish blankets. Like this one and this one, but never a quilt quilt, and never one that big and certainly never with someone else’s precious baby clothes! But she was like, yeah, whatever, you can do it. And I got a big box in the mail full of khakis and jeans and stripey socks. And we started a Pinboard with really beautiful and intimidating quilts and textiles. I fell in love with some vintage Japanese quilts. And after agonizing and planning, I finally dove in with my scissors and pins and started cutting and arranging and sewing.
Here’s a sneak of some of what I have put together so far:
Labels, tags and elastic belting.
A worn sleeve.
Toddler socks peeking out. of strips of mama’s jeans.
If you want to see more progress, you can follow me on my new Instagram account. I’ll post pics as it comes along. I want to have it completed by next week, so I’ll share once it is done. And as for the family portraits, I’ve already received them and they are perfect! But I’m not allowing myself to hang them (or share them) until I complete my end of the bargain. Motivation!