Container Blog

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

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


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.

(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.

(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.

(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:

Old Quilts as clothing:

Off-center Patchwork:

Patchwork made into clothing:

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……

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