Sunday, June 26, 2016

Garbage Quilt Part 2

The previous post talked about how I started my "Garbage Quilt",  here I have a few more squares to show you.  My trip to New Jersey is a very busy collage, but then the trip was full also, and it reflects the conflicting priorities of a husband who was in Texas waiting for his hip surgery and. a mother who was turning 94 in New Jersey. The flowers are coffee filters (yes I brought NJ garbage back to Texas with me) as Mom loves her coffee.

NJ collage

For the bottle cap square, I ,  drilled holes in the bottle caps and tied them to the square with leftover yarn, I save leftover bit of yarn for projects like this.  It is not a traditional tied pattern but the caps are staying on!  Each cap is from a recycled bottle or jar.

Bottle Caps

My other use for leftover yarn (bits to small to make much of anything) is to crochet edgings on coffee cup holders.  Paper coffee cups get dirty, but the holders usually do not.  I started this in 2013 after I retired and we were in California.  The Santa Cruz area has a lot of great coffee shops and my friend Robin and I would "taste test" the coffee.  We were working in my friend Robin's art studio when I started playing around with them.  Originally I was going to make funky bracelets and then I got the idea of recycling them.  I wanted to learn how to use the app Instagram so I made a site for the coffee holders.  If you take a picture of one in use you can post it at Instagram or Facebook "Pick Me Use Me" (#PickMeUseMe).  I had a great time leaving these around Santa Cruz and giving them away.  Here in South Texas there is not quite the coffee shop culture and I got away from it, however I decided it would make a great square and I got back into it again and found some nice coffee shops too.  At the International Knit in Public Day  I even got another lady to make one to practice her crochet (here in Texas we are equal opportunity yarnists, knit, crochet, looms, our LYS The Lambs Loom encourages all skills).

Coffee Holders for Pick Me Use Me

The plan is to have the recycled holders in the cup on the square.  My sewing machine stopped working so I had to hand sew this, more, non-traditional material experience. The brown square is the paper we use here in Texas when you get Bar-B-Q, paper, not plates! so I went with a funky marker look to explain it.

I have "bound" them with duct tape (the industrial kind not the cute stuff) and I am planning to attach them together with twist ties and use larger twist ties as the hanging "sleeve".  You know, the little wire things that are sometimes on bread or you can use them in the produce department to close you plastic bags.  Friends are saving twist ties for me.  Plastic in the produce aisle is another story, I am working on string bags for the grocery store, but that will have to be another post.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Year in Garbage

I have joined a wonderful group of ladies in an Art Quilt group, Fiber Arts Unlimited.  We agree on challenges and one of our challenges was a Trash Quilt, a 12 inch square with at least 25% made from trash.  I overcompensated and made the whole thing from trash.  Now I am not talking banana peels here - I am not using "organic" trash, rather the stuff that piles up like packing, boxes, snack bags, etc.  I had so much fun I decided to make one square every month, next January I will have Art Quilt to submit to the Quilt show (I hope).

Traditional Applique

So far I have made several squares.  Some I used traditional quilting techniques like applique and piecing, one is tied.

Traditional Piecing

I like stories so I find myself exploring themes, my trip to New Jersey to see my mom, claims and announcements from manufacturers, bottle caps that represent recycled bottles.  I am learning about working with non-traditional material with each square.

New Jersey Collage

A lot of this started because on our last trip to NJ with the motor home we brought back artwork that had been in my mom's basement for the whole time we were on the road, 14 years.  They were wrapped in bubble wrap (yes some of it is 14 years old) which became my batting of choice, except where I used dryer lint (the NJ square).   I once swore I would not use dryer lint for crafts but "never say never" because my moms dryer filter puts out lovely big sheets about 3 inches wide, how could I resist that?

Seriously, it is leading me to explore my own practices, I recycle a lot more and I am much more aware of the packaging of what I buy and how I store things.  It also makes me want to do some more "awareness quilts". 

This is my form of "Craftivism".  For those of you not familiar with the term, it is a way for those of us who are not prone to protesting to be socially responsible and champion a cause using our crafts.  Here is a link to The Craftivist Collective ,a movement started by Sarah Corbett in England, as her own approach to "Gentle Protest".  I find it ironic that here in the Rio Grand Valley, Texas, our only "mountain" is made of trash.  We all hear about the problems with trash and the plastics in our ocean, it becomes one more sad story in a whole list of sad stories. I hope that in presenting the problem in this way, people will see the problem in a new light.  I will post additional squares in the future, and some information about how I will connect and hang this piece.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Shaman Basket

Well, I have not posted in a long while, but I have not been idle.  I have recently joined an Art Quilt Group (The Out of the Box Fiber Artists) associated with the Upper Valley Art League in Mission Texas.  Great group of ladies and they challenge me (which is what I was looking for).  They recently had a Fiber Art Show and I hung 2 wall hangings and a Tunisian Crochet basket.  The basket sold (I am sooo excited).  The basket was Tunisian crochet in the round with a variety of novelty yarns, charms and wild turkey feathers from New Jersey turkeys.  I riffed off of the infinity scarves I have been making so there is no pattern, but I am going to try to make another one.  I am also going to try to resume posting...we will see.

Shaman Basket 2016 (photo by Tara Kalima)

Monday, September 15, 2014

San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Our summer in California is coming to an end.  It did not go as planned (does anything ever go as planned) but it was a good summer.  I had a lot of grandbaby time and my friend Robin and I did some art and we "pole walked", a skill I will be taking home with me.

 One of the most exciting things that happened occurred on a trip to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles ( .  I saw a post that they had a TECHstyle Art Exhibit ( TECHstyle Art Biennial 3 )  opening and mentioned it to Tom, he was willing to go so we set off on an adventure.  It is a lovely museum, dedicated to quilts and textiles and we saw 3 exhibits.  The first was of water color quilts made up of an astounding number of prints.  The second was  three women artists and their comments on what it means to be a woman (portrayed in altered clothing), becoming healthy (beautiful swimming quilts) and not fitting in (the third artist had been surgically altered as a child to make her shorter) it was very moving. Here is the outside of the museum

San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

The third, and main, exhibit was the Tech Style exhibit, it was wonderful.  Many different types of textile art, weaving, crochet, quilting, image transfer, altered objects.  There had all been made using modern technology somewhere in the process.  some included sound, laser light patterns, photo technology and multimedia items, it was wonderful, even Tom enjoyed it.  This was one of my personal favorites.  Images taken of the changing shadows of the artists car while driving along, printed on fabric, enhanced and connected with plastic ties.

While I was there, one of the volunteers likes an amulet bag that I had made and introduced me to Louise Horkey, the Volunteer and Visitor Coordinator.  We agreed to meet later in the week to look over my "stuff" and possibly place it in the gift store on consignment.  I am still "over the moon" as my friend Cheryl likes to say.  Louise took nine of my amulet bags on consignment so now I can say..."as seen in the San Jose Museum of Quilts &Textiles ", how cool is that?!

Me and my Amulet bags on display

It is a great little museum and I heartily recommend it if you are in the area.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

DAM Quilts and button coats

There was just to much going on at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) for one post.  While I was there for the barkcloth talk there were also quilts displayed in the textile section and button blankets/coats in the Northwest section.  The new policy is that it is OK to take pictures without a flash, but I recommend asking.  I was not allowed to take pictures of the American Masters exhibit.  The quilts are beautifully displayed with lots of room around them so that you will not be distracted by to many items.  The lighting is soft to minimize exposure of the fabric and sometimes I could not get out of the way of shadows, so I apologize in advance for any shadows in the photos.

Cigarette "Flannels"
There were several "recycled" quilts including a quilt made of "tobacco flannels" (which came in the packages with the cigarettes and there was also a quilt that made of labels, originally the quilter was trying to mend a beloved quilt, but she ended up adding so many labels that she covered both sides with them.

Labels, labels,labels

Banded clothing
One of my favorites was a "banded" quilt, where the design is concentric square bands that was displayed next to a Navajo shirt to show a different use of banding
"Banded" Quilt

There was also a chintz quilt, obviously not a "recycle" quilt but rather one that speaks of a certain level of wealth and expertise, with a beautiful trim.

Chintz Quilt

Trim on Chintz quilt

In addition there is a little room with a comfy sofa and items to peruse.  They did have a little bit of everything and here is the crochet example.

Lace Display

Great Quote
On my way to the Textile area I had to breeze through the Northwest display so I went back after my assigned time for the American Masters.  the had several wonderful pieces of Indian art but I loved these button coat/blankets the best. 
This one had shell buttons

They are a combination of button and appliqué and they were just stunning.  They reminded me of "Button Coats" that I had seen in an article about people from a specific part of London, who decorated their clothing with buttons.

I may just have to do this on my old denim jacket!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Denver Art Museum and Bark Cloth

Wednesday I went to the Denver Art Museum (DAM).  I had signed up for a talk about Bark Cloth and it was fascinating.  They have recently expanded the Textile Department and the talk took place in the "Preview" area.  This is one of the areas where they prepare items for exhibit.  Here they examine, prepare, catalogue, photograph every step, perform any necessary conservation actions and develop mounting.  The talk was given by Allison McClosky, Associate Textile Conservator.  Allison sowed us 3 different pieces of Bark Cloth and spoke about the process involved in getting them ready for exhibit.

Blue and Brown Barkcloth
Beige and Brown barkcloth
Barkcloth is made from pounding the inner bark of the Mulberry tree, so it is sort of a crossover between paper and cloth.  These samples were made in the Samoan Islands, possibly around the end of the 19th century or the beginning of the 20th century.  The cloth was stored rolled up and covered in muslin so it has a bit of a curl.  In order to relax it the cloth is placed under plastic and humidified.  As it softens glass plates are placed on the cloth with a fiber interface or  acrylic blocks are placed on the cloth with rare earth magnets as weights.  The introduction of humidity gives the fibers a chance to re-form hydrogen bonds and relax.  One of the examples had undergone humidification and needed a bit more. They also  have a hoist, to lift the items, a camera attached to the computer to take pictures and special tables were the glass can be removed so that both sides of the item can be accessed.
Humidification process and hoist
Rolled with muslin cover removed

No action is taken until an item is evaluated and reports are written.  After approval of the proposed process, each step is carefully documented and recorded.  I found it fascinating that they use rare earth magnets quite a bit.  Apparently in addition to being strong, they can be calibrated to determine just how much pressure they will be exerting on the item so as to have just enough pressure  to display the item but not so much as to make an impression.  In addition they wrap the magnet in tyvek, so as not to damage the cloth and if the item to be displayed has a pattern, they might photocopy the pattern and wrap the magnet in the photocopy to further disguise it.  Cool eh?

Other items to be displayed go through similar processes that can take months of work to prepare them for display.  These talks are offered every first and third Wednesdays and the Preview room is open Thursday afternoon.  I heartily recommend checking on the lectures and taking a look at the Preview room. 

When I was there they also had a wonderful display of quilts in the display area adjacent to the Preview Room.  More on quilts and button coats next post.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Week 14 of Crochet Challenge

This week is crochet in public week, and I did.  I frequently crochet in public as I used to travel a lot and always crocheted in airports and on planes, in fact that is how I got involved in bead crochet.  Small project, pre-strung beads made for a great travel project.  Today I was at the Denver Art Museum and in between the talk about Bark Cloth conservation (next post) and the Modern Masters exhibit, I had coffee at the Café.  No interaction with people, which is what I usually find when I crochet in public.  Occasionally I will get a comment about "my mother used to do that" or "is that knitting?" (arrghhh seize the teaching moment), but usually people just take it in stride.
Crochet project and Pick Me Use Me Java Jacket
I am using the cotton/wool/silk yarn I got at the Quilted skein to make a bag.  I had swatched and pulled out about 5 lace patterns before I finally admitted that it was a bit to thick for the lace look I wanted, so now I am making a bag from Cheryl Theis' get hooked on Tunisian Crochet.  It is supposedly a market bag but I think it will be a project bag.

You can also see my crochet trimmed Java Jacket.  This past week Crochet Concupiscence reviewed Craftivism by Betsy Greer (  I had seen a post on craftivism by Betsy last year on and I started my Java Jacket project.  You know those cardboard sleeves that you get for coffee in a paper cup?  The ones that usually don't get dirty or wet but we throw them away anyway?  Well I poke holes in them and crochet them.  Then I use them, give them away or leave them at coffee shops.  They say "take a pic of me in use and post at or".  It is fun and it reminds me to reuse stuff.

Oh yes, I also got to crochet at the Enterprise location while I waited for my hubby after I turned in the car.  We had had a spot of trouble with the truck and rented a car while it was being fixed ($$$ don't ask).  There was a noisy 3 year old boy running around so no one was looking at a grey haired lady crocheting.  All in all a great day, next post I will tell you about the museum.