Container Blog

Monday, November 11th, 2019

Three Seraphim

Machine pieced & hand quilted t-shirt remnants, old quilt remnants, assorted yarns

On view at the 107th Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annual Exhibition; Westmoreland Museum of American Art; November 9, 1919-January 26th, 2020.

I use ordinary textile remnants to create art quilts. This work is one in a series of mantles representing spiritual entities. The mantle, like a quilt, serves the practical function of keeping one warm while protecting from the elements. These mantles serve as symbolic divine representation multiplied by the power of three.  The purple stars of Sariel evoke inner wisdom. The eyes of Chamuel, surrounded in green, channel strength and courage. The yellow and orange wheels of Uriel bring knowledge and insights. 

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

A Patch Work Life: The Hands On Guide To Living Piece By Piece


Life is a Verb



Voluminous layers
Countless hues and values
Embedded with meaning
Personal herstory
Minuscule patches that speaks volumes
Ensconcing with warmth and protection
Hand Stitched patterns
Endless sizes, shapes and forms
Piecing, Stitching, Darning, Mending, Ripping

Producing Quilts:
The next one is always better than the one before
Organized cutting and construction steps
Staying at the machine until the entire set is pieced
Process over product
Creating something original comes unexpectedly without planning

Memory Quilts:
One little patch tells its own story
Stains and holes add meaning
Satisfies individual needs for healing
Can heal through past, present and future

Essence of Me:
Strong family ties
Thinking outside the box
A little ahead and to the left
Reticent to get involved yet too quick to jump in
Problem solver, looking for practical solutions
Transforming continually from being to doing and back again
Compelling deep connection with spirit
Big heart
Gestalt, big picture thinker
Direct understanding derived through personal experience

Being Prolific:
Always have the next step ready to go before stopping
Use idle time to think through ideas
Keep the materials organized, separated by type, easily accessible
Prepare the leftovers as you go
Having enough materials on hand for alternative options
Constant desire to create something new
Great outlet for compulsive behavior

Being in Relationship:
A constant search for the balance of together and alone
Prioritize its importance and give it its due
Eating meals together, getting up and going to bed at the same time
When feeling criticized step back to understand what is behind the statement
Instead of over reacting, stop, feel, find a reaction that is soft, positive and personal
When the reasons are not clear for an action, stop and ask why
Never make assumptions
Express needs, concerns, feelings openly
Step away as needed
Support the other person’s effort to be independent and responsible in other relationships
Maintain a sense of humor

Forms of Anxiety:
Fear of making a mistake
Fear of not knowing enough
Not feeling good enough
Negative and faulty beliefs about self
Lack of trust
What is unknown or not understood

Self-care enables care of others
Untold life rewards
The truest meaning of instinct
Contributes to life purpose

Quality sleep is the backbone
Overcoming food likes, obsessions, cravings is a lifelong challenge
Aging gracefully requires a real commitment to keeping physically active
See who is in the mirror
The stillness of meditation shows the way
Anything can be a spiritual practice
Change is the only constant
Quality over quantity
Identifying and feeling emotions allows for flow
Ask questions and apply critical thinking

Life Goals:
Die with awareness
Give up judgement
Combat prejudice, promote diversity, advocate social justice
Do things that bring happiness
Listen carefully and speak from the heart

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

Moving Through Loss: A Wise Woman Ritual circa 2000

Moving Through Loss


A Letter to the Most Illustrious the Contessina Allagia degli Aldobrandeschi, written Christmas Eve, Anno Domini 1513

I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.

Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see. And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.

And so, at this time, I greet you, not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and shadows flee away.

Fra Giovanni Giocondo

Sunday, June 2nd, 2019

The Thousand Zippers

FiberArts Internation 2019

FiberArts Internation 2019

The thousand zippers,
One for each time
You were told to “zip it”.
A thousand times
When all you were looking for
Was an answer,
A response,
Someone to notice
That you were alive.

Your size
Made you hard to miss.
But even harder to reach.
Your hands,
Big as the basketball
You spent hours with
On the abandoned playground,
Had a gentle touch
That your grandmother
Knew well.
You carried her
From her bed
On the second floor
Down to her chair
By the window
Every morning,
Then back up the stairs
Every night.
No one ever saw
How you brushed out her hair,
Braiding it
When she was young
And beautiful.
No one knew
How much you cried
When she passed.

All that remains
Is this shell
Of who you appeared to be
But really weren’t.

Laura McGinnis
Pittsburgh, PA
May, 2019

Friday, May 31st, 2019

Forty Years and Counting

Today is the opening for Fiberarts International. It’s pretty special. The best and the brightest innovation in a traditionally warm and fuzzy medium.

Meeting the artists and the guild organizers yesterday, I am awed by this organization’s influence and support of my personally arduous and circuitous path in an ever changing definition of the fiber medium and the fiber artist.

Three Rivers

Archangel Michal and me2019

Sunday, May 26th, 2019


Terrorist society

Terrorist Society2

craft + activism = craftivism. Maker participation that uses the creative process making a stronger more compassionate voice, strengthening personal activism, connecting beyond the self, and making items that facilitate political thought and action.

My age old question on the hierarchy of art and craft rears its ugly head: studio art vs fiber art vs craftivism vs fine art vs contemporary craft when I listen to JULIA BRYAN-WILSON discuss her conclusions from her 2017 book: Fray:Art and Textile Politics.

I totally identified with her portrayal of the 70’s Women’s Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society, owning one of the original tee-shirts. I was completely aligned with her fine portrayal of relevant contemporary artists producing thought provoking textiles like Willam Pope, Cecilia Vicuña, Margarita Cabrera, and Harmony Hammond. Her information about the inherently progressive nature of the small hand-sewn tapestries depicting Pinochet’s torture, arpilleras (tapestries) and the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt were evidence of handcrafted textiles recruited to satisfy ambivalent ends. She also proved that the malleability of fiber means that textiles can be activated for many ideological debates about feminized labor, protest cultures, and queer identities.

But, please, when you articulate all of that so clearly, give the artists the credit they deserve. They are artists escaping the assertions of high or low, alternative or mainstream, professional and amateur, success or fail: They are the artists offering crucial insight into how textiles inhabit the broad space we call art.

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Another Ending Equals Another Beginning

Alternate 4-Patch detail

Alternate 4-Patch

Alternate 9 Patch Detail

Alternate 9 Patch

In the fall, I joined the teaching network of SkillShare and created the first four of a series of SkillShare Classes, one of them covered how to make a basic traditional quilt top.

The samples I created for that class went on to become 4 different quilts. Two of them I turned into new tablecloths for family dinners and the others I sent to my reliable Amish quilter, Netty, to be made into a queen and throw size quilt. They all turned out beautifully- there is nothing like a traditional four-patch made with elegant quality quilting materials.

Here’s the big news: I am done making traditional patchwork quilts for my personal consumption. I have reached my limit.

I continue to make quilts- I’m not close to the end of that but acknowledging that I am finally and irrevocably limiting my traditional repertoire translates to a damn exciting mature phase of my career. Exciting!

Monday, January 14th, 2019

A New Wall Equals A New Quilt




City Quilt 9-Patch in a 9-Patch Cutter Quilt
MaryAnn’s Napkin and Tablecloths
Sadye’s Napkins and Tablecloth
Bubbe’s Turtlenecks
Maya’s Tee-Shirt
Hailey’s Denim Shorts Romper
Ida’s Cable Afghans
Sadye’s Stocking Bag
Maya and Hailey’s Baby Shirts
Ben’s Sport Shirts
Run Around The Square Tee-Shirt
Bubbe’s Socks
Sadye’s Beaded Belt
SilkDenim Shirts
Leslie’s silkscreen Bird Fabric
Amanda’s Chuppah
Maurcy Gottlieb Print
Bubbe’s Hemp Shirt
Heath’s Wool Sweater
Bubbe’s Wedding Dress
Sarah’s Quilt Backing

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

Program Application-Artist Statement


For over forty years I have been fashioning fiberart that celebrates the loving and healing capacity of spirit.

In the seventies, an article in MS magazine about quilt making as a women’s art form lead me to patchwork as my chosen means of expression.

In the eighties, leadership in our local fiberarts guild helped me to explore, learn and foster traditional skills and contemporary concepts in the fiber field.

In the nineties, I worked tirelessly to participate in and legitimize the art quilt movement. Getting a Master’s degree in leadership established the practice of Self-leadership where I encourage others to develop independent self-leadership skills.

At the turn of the century, I personally experienced the transformational healing power resident in the process of selecting, cutting and re-stitching clothing into quilts as I mourned the loss of my parents. This developed into a service business making memory quilts for others.

In the early part of this century I added a spiritual component to my work publishing The Quilting Path: A Guide To Spiritual Discovery through Fabric, Thread and Kabbalah, a book on quilting as an integral part of our creative life process.

In 2011, becoming a grandmother, I defined BubbeWisdom as the compilation of philosophical values, physical consciousness, psychological emotions, ephemeral spirit, moral knowledge and common sense that reflects upon and determines action that encourages humans to be and do good.

In 2015, my one-person exhibition: BubbeWisdom: Faith. Belief. Practice. integrated my quilting knowledge and experience with my sixty-fifth birthday celebration.

Today I recycle remnants into fine art quilts; produce meaningful memory quilt products by commission; work with my daughter upcycling used denim; and identify vehicles such as this that allow me to pass on a life time of experience and learning, in the effort to strive beyond everyday mundane function and outcome.

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

Bubbe’s Lady of the Lake 2018

Lady of the Lake

Lady of the Lake detail

Lady of the Lake detail2

Lady of the Lake Detail

Panche Silk Robe Tie
Sarah’s Molas
Sadye’s Lingerie Bag
Heath’s Buddah Wheel
Japanese Kimono Fabric
Indigo Dress Hem from Victoria,BC
Riding Pants
J.Jill Dressy Skirt
Max Studio Dress from Annie’s Graduation
E.B.Pepper PJ Pants Suit in a Bag
Leftover Kilim
Howie’s Tux Remnants
Jo’s Handwoven Remnants
Heath’s Corduroy Shirt
Hand Embroidered Wool Kashmiri Shawl from Tsultrim Allione Workshop
Christmas, Buddha Day, Valentine, Kawanza from 1994 Calendar
SilkDenim’s Hand Stitched Corduroy Shirt
Eli’s Favorite Summer Shirt
Sadye’s Cross Stitch
Canadian Winter Hat
Hospital Socks
Several Favorite CP Shades Shirts
Nicole Miller Pittsburgh Tie
Leftovers Presbyterian Senior Care Quilts
Florida Brocade Skirt
Arab Dress Embroidery
J. Jill Waffle Turtle Neck
Antique Quilt Remnants
Marcy Gottlieb Curtain
Ikat Remnants
Alexander Henry Butterfly Fabric
Velour Robe
Hemp Dress
Most Favorite Original Old Navy Black Yoga Pants
Gerry Kay’s Shawl
Anthropologie Black Corduroy Suit
Eileen Fisher Suit for Paris Trip
Gutcheon White on White Quilt Fabric
Striped Long Sleeveless Button Down Dress
Remnants from 4-Patch Table Cloth

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Flag Quilt Part III

Still the Mind







Be Truth

Live In Joy

Live Greatly

Fare Well

Walk the Talk

Sunday, November 11th, 2018

Flag Quilt Part II


Stand Tall



Right Effort

I am

Right Livelihood


Process Not Product

Be Fearless

All content © Copyright 2020 by Bubbe Wisdom.
Subscribe to RSS Feed – Bubbe Wisdom Blog or Container Blog