Container Blog

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Denim by the Pound

Denim by the pound

Whitewashed figures daven deep
Considering the weight of time
Crushed and torn and cast away
A vintage shore their sanctum.
She harvests them, denim by the pound.

Her basket brims with archetypes
The demons and the gods alike
Dance sacred weft and warp
Weavers of the infinite loom.
She blesses them, denim by the pound.

A Zipper maps the spiritual path
A button unlocks truths
A snap reveals the song of night
Out of nothingness comes the root.
She transforms them, denim by the pound.

These weathered refugees bow down
And welcome the unraveling
Ren garments joined in silent prayer
Shape-shift through time and space.
She resurrects them, denim by the pound.

Karen Bryant
Inspired by the work and writing of Louise Silk
October 14, 2018


Sunday, June 17th, 2018

A Fiberartist Heads To Ireland

My Irish Knitting

We are headed off to Ireland and then London for a family vacation. Looking ahead to figure out what I would like to see I ran into this article on Irish Knitwear Designers You Need To Know. So stimulating for the creative spirit!

I felt immediate love for Claire Ann O’Brien’s contemporary approach. Maybe these are applicable to denim???

On the traditional side loved loved loved the information about Ireland’s Eye. With that their expanded stitch explanation:

Each stitch carries its own unique meaning, a historic legacy from the lives of the Island community many years ago. The Cable Stitch is a depiction of the fisherman’s ropes, and represents a wish for a fruitful day at sea. The Diamond Stitch reflects the small fields of the islands. These diamonds are sometimes filled with Irish moss stitch, depicting the seaweed that was used to fertilise the barren fields and produce a good harvest. Hence the diamond stitch is a wish for success and wealth. The Zig Zag Stitch, a half diamond, is often used in the Aran Sweaters, and popularly represents the twisting cliff paths on the islands. The Tree of Life is one of the original stitches, and is unique to the earliest examples of the Aran knitwear. It again reflects the importance of the clan, and is an expression of a desire for clan unity, with long-lived parents and strong children.

Check out my attempt at the Irish in the photo!


Sunday, June 10th, 2018

KADDISH: A PRAYER PERFORMANCE QUILT

stone kaddish
Preformed at A Gathering of Jewish Learners: 1996 Summer CAJE Conference

The performance space is arranged with chairs forming two large concentric circles. The inner circle is made of 26 individually separated chairs. The outer circle has two or three chairs placed side by side behind each of the inner 26 chairs. On the outer circle chairs are 26 individual pieces of “pellon” and assorted colored markers. Each fabric piece has a line from the prayer drawn on it in pencil. The prayer lines are arranged in order going left around the circle.
Participants are greeted by the artist as they enter the area. Each person is handed one statement from below, a program, and a copy of the prayer. They are instructed to sit anywhere in the inner circle.
The performance begins with an explanation of the task of the group which is to perform the Kaddish Prayer after they have learned about Performance Art, Quiltmaking, and the Kaddish Prayer. The microphone is passed so that each person reads a relevant statement, first about Performance Art, then Quiltmaking, and finally about the Prayer.
Next each participant connects with an individual portion of the prayer, by decorating one of the pellon fabric pieces. As they are working, the artist leads a discussion helping the group agree on how to perform the prayer.
The performance ends with the actual recitation of the prayer. If time allows, there is a “dress rehearsal” with evaluation and modification, and a discussion of how and why the participants decorated their quilt pieces. Participants keep their part of the Prayer Quilt.

THE ART OF PERFORMANCE ART
(Printed on blue paper)

The “observer” is a notion that belonged to the classical way of looking at the world. The observer approaches the world without taking part. But our social reality is not to just observe. Our vision is constructed from the way our private beliefs and intentions actively interact and merge.

We live in a toxic culture. If one’s work is to succeed as part of a necessary healing process, there must be a willingness to abandon old programming. The person who is in touch with the future is the creative personality who is in touch with the necessary psychological tasks that prepare for conflict solutions to emerge, and for the healing of the toxic defects.

Increasingly, as artists begin to question their responsibility and perceive that “success” in capitalist, patriarchal terms may not be the enlightened path to the future, they will change from demystifier to cultural healer. Healing is the most powerful aspect of reconstructive postmodernism art movement.

As participating co-creators, we become ourselves the shapers of new frameworks, the orchestrators of culture and consciousness.

In our present situation, the effectiveness of art needs to be judged by how well it overturns the perception of the world we have accepted.

It is not enough for artists to create or express an idea; they must also awaken the experiences that will make their ideas take root in the consciousness of others. To do this the artist must empower the participants and raise their consciousness as to their shared conditions.

Most of us see art as a tradition in which individuals and individual art work are the basic elements. We do not recognize that it contains the standard capitalistic values of pursuit of power, production, prestige and accomplishment. In this mind set, it is hard to see art as interactive, inclusive of ritual process, as a possible act of healing, and as an awareness of living in the world soul.

Interaction is the key that moves art beyond the aesthetic mode: letting the audience intersect with, and even form a part of, the process, recognizing that when observer and observed merge, the vision of static autonomy is undermined.

A great deal of modern art was intended to be against the audience. But there is another possibility. Art that collaborates consciously with the audience and is concerned with how that audience connects, can actually create a sense of community.

Performance art is a prototype that embodies the next historical and evolutionary stage of consciousness, in which the capacity to be compassionate will be central not only to the ideas of success, but also to the recovery of both a meaningful society and meaningful art.

THE ART OF QUILTING
(Printed on pink paper.)

Quiltmaking is a unique and powerful medium of expression signifying shelter and tranquillity. Particularly with our high-tech age, the quilt and the quilting process remain powerful metaphors for sharing and connecting with the human community.

Quilts have always been made to acknowledge and honor such life events as birth, friendship, marriage and death.

The quilt satisfies the public’s craving for both the old and the new, familiar and modern. It can be composed of ordered soothing geometric tactile materials in familiar techniques yet it’s bold graphic design bear a striking resemblance to modern art.

In this country during the 18th and 19th centuries, many women stitched their thoughts, hopes and fears into their needlework. In this century, the idea of using quilting to express a social or political message has evolved into a global activity in which men, women, and children participate.

The names of individual traditional quilts from the last two centuries tell stories of the times in which they were designed. Today, it’s not so much the individual quilt design but the communal process of creating and displaying quilts that is important.

Oliver Wendell Holmes advised, ”Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that… take one stitch at a time. Taken patiently… the pattern will come to right.”

Pete Seeger said. ”We’ll stitch this world together yet. Don’t give up.”

Although quilt designs are named, each design is rarely the same twice. The variations
in borders, color, fabric, thread, and quilting stitches make it impossible for two quilts to be identical.

Because they were not considered artists, quiltmakers were free from the stereotypes of what women’s art should be. They were outside the repression of the “high” art tradition. They succeeded in building an art form so strong that its influence has extended over 400 years.

In the past decade a quilt revolution has been taking place. It has pulled the covers off the bed and nailed them to the wall. No longer are quilts patched from treasured hand-me downs: Grandmother’s calico curtains, Mother’s wedding gown, or Aunt Ida’s petticoat. Now new fabrics are carefully selected, custom dyed and painted like canvas. Hand and machine work may co-exist on a single quilt. New techniques in quiltmaking include air brushing, photography, silkscreening, batiking, pleating, and computer generated designs.

THE ART OF KADDISH
(Printed on green paper.)

Originally, the Kaddish was a hymn to the greatness and holiness of God’s name, recited after a lesson devoted to the study of Torah or at the close of a service of worship. It most probably originated in the talmudic period because it is written in Aramaic, the language spoken by the Jews of Babylon.

Two important ideas are involved in the recital of the Kaddish: the mighty role of Torah in Jewish spiritual life and the great merit attached to the recital of formula that constituted Kaddush Hashem, Sanctification of God’s name.

Kaddish became associated with paying respect to the memory of the dead because at one time lectures on Torah were given in the house of mourning the week after the death of a learned man as a means of honoring his memory. Later, this period was prolonged and lectures were continued for a whole year.

Traditionally, The Kaddish is an Aramaic prayer said 7 times a day in the prayer service. This is based on the verse “Seven times a day I praise Thee” from Psalm 119:164.

The Kaddish yatom- Orphan’s Kaddish- is said at the services by a mourner for the first eleven months of the year and at each recurring Yahrtzeit.

Kaddish means sanctification.

Rabbi Akiba is said to have taught an orphan to recite “May His great Name be blessed” in order to rescue his father from Gehinnom (punishment in hell).

The nucleus of Kaddish is the congregation response,” May His great Name be blessed.” It is around this response, rooted in Daniel 2:20, that the entire Kaddish evolved. The sages said,” He who responds ‘Amen. May His great Name be blessed’ with all his might, his decreed sentence is torn up” (if Heaven has decreed evil for him). By this is meant that one should say it with his heart and soul and should not merely pronounce it with his lips without having in mind what he is saying.
A slight pause should be made between Amen and “May His great Name” because the word Amen serves as a response to what the community prayer has said and what follows is an independent statement.

Kaddish contains ten expressions of praise: exalted, sanctified (the first two words Yitgadal veyetkadosh), and the eight words: blessed, praised, glorified, extolled. exalted, honored, elevated, and lauded. The ten expressions correspond to the ten utterances and Ten Emanations by which God created the world, the ten expressions of praise King David uttered in the Book of Psalms, and the Ten Commandments. The reason the first two praises are separated from the other eight is because the first two commandments were given directly by God to the Israelites whereas the last eight were transmitted to the people by Moses.


Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Raf Simons AKA Calvin Klein Is Channeling ME!

I’m in an interesting place in my work, having had a singularly productive 2017, looking, wondering, encouraging my creative muse into new uncharted directions. Lots of ideas percolating wanting to see physical expression and then I am attracted to an ad for Calvin Klein on the NYTimes and I am astonished to see the latest CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC FALL 2018 RUNWAY SHOW with so many of my ideas I’m actually floored. If the whole runway show is too much, you can see the looks individually here.

My developing thoughts:

Rethinking those ugly hazard vest that street workers have to wear:
calvin-klein-205w39nyc

Old Quilts as clothing:
KleinoldLogCabin

Off-center Patchwork:
KleinPatchwork

Patchwork made into clothing:
KleinDiagonalsquares

The whole experience reminds me of a time in 1997 when I saw the movie “How To Make and American Quilt”. After that one I went on to write my own book about the subject. It will be interesting to see where my reaction to Calvin Klein takes me. More to come……


Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Upcycle Extreme

3 Zip Bag Order

ZipBackFront and Back

Ipad Slip

One of the biggest problems when deconstructing jeans for SilkDenim projects is what to do with all of the unused zippers? It would be a crime to throw them into the land fill but often it requires more time and energy that it’s worth to make something reusable from them.

Thus the assignment was to combine multiple zippers with left over denim and tee-shirt remnants into an attractive, useful, and innovative bag.

This turned into a very technically sophisticated construction. Each zipper is a closed compartment, one building on the next from the bottom up. Next an interesting raw edge on a back piece of denim that gets a pocket and a waist button and finally a cotton tee-lining. The strap is deconstructed and reconstructed waistbands and then the whole piece challenges the machine (and its operator) with it’s many layers until with great organization, patience and resolve, everything comes into one amazingly brilliant SilkDenim iPad-Plus Carrying Bag.


Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Directions For The Upcycled Denim Cube

Step One: Gather about 20 pairs of baby jeans.
Lots of Baby Jeans

Step Two: Deconstruct the jeans into 6″ strips.
Six Inch Strips

Step Three: Build 6 blocks starting with a 6″ center and building out to 5 rows across and 5 rows down:
Build The Block

Second Side

One Side

Step Four: For the last row of the 6th side, incorporate the snaps of the inner leg seam from one of the jeans.
Baby Snaps opening

Snaps Sewn In

Step Five: Construct the cube, right sides together.
Making the Cube

Step Six: Open snaps and turn right sides out. Stuff with stuffed animals and pillow inserts.
Baby Jeans Transformed

Step Seven: Relax!


Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

Bursting At The Seams

It’s hard to believe at my age I’m going through a growth spurt, but that’s what feels like, for sure. To name a few of the meaningful projects that abound:
A gift for a mother from her daughter of her mother’s unfinished quilt blocks:
Grandma for Mom

A Memory quilt for a mother and a daughter:
Mom

Schmattas for a massage therapist:
Schmattas

A Sleepover bed for a granddaughter:
Baby Molly

10 pillows to remember a colorful grandmother:
Pillows

A bean bag chair:
Baby Jeans Transformed

A jeans scrap quilt:
Flying Geese Scraps

A graduation present:
Tee-shirt Quilt

The newest piece in my art quilt series:
Mantles cont

It’s time for a break. I think I’ll head for Europe:
Ready for Vacation


Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Quilter Extraordinaire

Two Sided Daughter

Two Sided Mom

Two Sided Dad

Son

She said she had a lot of t-shirts. I told her I’m okay with that.

I’m used to lots of shirts. I have a well honed system for taking a huge pile of shirts and extracting the logos to condense them into a magnificent, functional, memorable quilt.

Still, she had more shirts than I have ever had presented to me on any previous occasion. I would venture to say representing a huge investment of time and money.

The result, a totally unique solution, one double-sided queen-size quilt for each of the four members of the family.


Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Pussies United

stars of America

pussy7

pussy14

pussy15

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemoller (1892-1984)

My apologies for not writing more often these days, but like most of us, I’m a mess- waiting, watching, writing, signing, marching. I was excited to learn about this quilting exhibit: Threads of Resistance- an opportunity to take out my frustrations with a needle and thread. I used a quilt I made in 1991 as part of The Great American Quilt Festival sponsored by the Museum of American Folk Art: Stars of America. Instead of 50 stars, I used 50 pussy hats with embroidery. It was great fun and very satisfying.


Sunday, February 19th, 2017

Special Remnants Flying Geese Quilt

FlyingGeesedetail

MyFLying Geese

Yoga pants
lime green capris
Extra LogCabin block from Quilting Path Project
MaryAnn’s Batiks
Art Book Project with Adrienne
Ann’s ethnic embroideries
Terrible Towel
Tina’s Dedication Panel
Steve’s sweater
JAF Challah Cover
J Jill Hemp Clothing
Nana’s Afghan
Cool Pajama Shirt
Favorite Batiks
Hailey’s Pants
Top remake remnants from CP Shades clothing
Alexander Henry Peacock fabric
Tye-Dye Tee
Lots of Black Clothing
Dress from Annie’s Graduation
Remnants from Amy’s Chuppah
Panache Ikat Dress
Presby Senior Care Quilt Remnants
Leslie and Michelle fabric
Spoonflower shehecheyanu fabric
Heath’s pinstripe shirt
Kate’s Curtain
Alex’s Bedspread


Sunday, February 19th, 2017

Pillows for Me

Pillows2

Pillows3

Pillows4

Pillows5


Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Memory Quilt II

cart-cover

cartcover

The need to cover a kitchen cart creates a desire to gather more meaningful remnants, listed in no particular order:
Kaffe Fassett quilt fabrics
border fabric from Quilting Path Tree Quilt
Alexander Henry fabric for Eli’s Quilt
leftovers from Maya’s and Hailey’s first quilt
MaryAnn’s batik skirt
Ben’s gatkes
Sarah’s ikat
SilkThread batiks
Classic 80s Hoffman border batik
Sunflower produced Shekianu fabric
Leonard’s hand-stitched corduroy shirt
Freda’s Bark Cloth
City Quilt Shop Double Wedding Ring Peter Pan fabric



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