Lisa’s (ex)quilt – the fabric’s ready

in a sense, all stages are beginning stages, because i have to completely rethink every time i get to something new.

i’ve desewn, washed, ironed and folded all the fabric, which took forever.

it was fun ripping the seams of everything, and ironing everything. because i got to be involved for several hours with things the family wore all day long many many times. the things are steeped in essence-of-my-sister’s-family, and i felt like i was spending time with them as i shredded their clothes.

of course, i was just revisiting the time i did spend with them last month, and going over conversations and observations. so i got a big kick handling their clothes and thinking about them.

it was cool to see that sister lisa is an accomplished seam-person in her own right, because much of the fabric she gave me was ex or almost homemade clothes. maybe she will find the time hahahahah to take up fabric work one of these days hahahahahahah.

here are the exclothes sorted into neutral light to darkon the top and dark to light colors going down. the whites, which are really more white than they show, range across the bottom.

and here is my first attempt to place the various colors on the pattern, which is what that kraft paper and masking tape is, a pattern drawn in invisible pencil. i was sitting there looking from my photo to my stacks of cloth and noticed that the middle darks worked the most natrallly for the mountains in the background. then i noticed with some surprise that my red (kids t-shirt in cosmic hippie spiral pattern) went along with my true brown (kids button shrit, white pinstripe), both of which show in the foreground.

at bottom we have grass and dirt. the yellow on the left is gorse. there’s green grass and brown earth, then a checked kid’s shirt as field rocks, my dad’s wastbannd as a shoreline, then glistening lake, and a horizon of dark mountains, and cloudy to clear sky.

so what will i do with it? it’s going to be layers, and this fabric’s opaque so i won’t waste time buildling up layers except for texture…. i’ll be able to scrunch up fabric and glob it on if i want to. i can use padding. i would like to use that waistband as such, as well as cuffs and colars and button fronts. wherever possible. that means not cutting them up into just fabric, but making patches of fabric fit.

i can see myself actually shredding some of the clothes. i still have visions of putting the fabric into the blender and gluing it on in blobs of color, like making paper by hand. what do they use to bind the fibers in paper – gelatin? some glue. some binder, and the only question is which binder has what qualities. know your materials.

i’m assuming i’m going to use acrylic medium to glue down cut or torn pieces in layers on a support canvas. that would be the sane, methodical way. stitching would be the more tradtional, but screw that. i don’t want to pierce the fabric and let out any more mold spores.

what i want is a flexible papier mache of torn fabric strips, laid onto a sheet of stretched muslin to dry, and then i want to do a border, like a regular quilt would have, out of the leftover fabrics, but i want to attach the border to a piece of canvas. and not just any ordinary piece of canvas. but one that’s been dyed, and one that’s been soaking in size so when i lay the muslin and fabric on it and kink it into all sorts of shapes together, it’ll all stay that way when i’m done and it’s hanging on a wall.

and this is why every time i do another step i feel like i’m reinventing the wheel.

but, being nonprofit, it’s got the added advantage of not having to be practical, just interesting. and beautiful.

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