Ironing Birds Very Very Flat…

It seems ironic to take something that can fly wherever it likes (well, within the atmosphere) and to make it flat and iron it onto a very flat piece of fabric. Those birds…some of them actually exist as quilt tops now! Except they’re so small, some of them could be potholders…the reviled statement about any small work…”Is that a placemat?” Maybe this is why I work so big…”Is that a bed quilt? It’s not the right size.”

So I ironed a bunch of birds yesterday, mostly because I was at Susan’s house and it was a portable thing, which most of what I have to do right now is not.

I started with birds cut out in tupperware…

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Which I then ironed together with the drawing under the teflon…

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And then I would try them out on a variety of backgrounds until I found the one I thought worked best…

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This one seemed to need an asymmetrical background. I may change my mind later…

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Most of the rest were a little more standard, wanting to sit in the middle of their square or rectangle…

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So then I had to decide, light or dark?

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Bright or not?

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This one looks really different on this background…I tried him on like 5 different shades of blue and this is the one that talked to me.

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Here’s his twin with the eyeball…

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Slightly different fabrics for him…including the background…

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And one that’s not so square…

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Seemed to do better with dark.

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So that’s 5 done to this stage. I also cut out the other 5 yesterday afternoon and evening. It didn’t take long. I was hoping to iron the rest together tonight, and I may still get to that, but I’m not feeling well…combination of tired and hormones and cramps and crappy mental shit that goes along with a bunch of other stuff.

BLAHHHH. Exactly. That feeling.

I ironed the 5 above onto backgrounds in about 30 minutes between hanging out with Susan and friends and leaving for my monthly stitching meeting, the only place I work on this…

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Girlchild’s Christmas stocking. It’s really slow. I gave up on trying to stitch the white AROUND the motifs and started stitching the damn motifs. It took a lot of counting…and then counting again, because we were talking about birds (shocking…real ones, not Kathy ones) and books and writing and movies and how I should make my own Meetup group of people who want to sit in the 2nd row at the movies and sit through the credits, and how I would still be the only one going. I must become one with my freak status. Even in the Art House Movie crowd, I am a freak. That is very sad.

In the parking lot, I documented these three (no, there are four) badly drawn penises…

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Materials: dust, car window, finger

I’m debating doing a series of quilts a la Keith Haring with replicas of my students’ badly drawn penises, but then I’d have to give them credit, and that would probably lose me my job. See, I DO think these things through!

Then after that, I had to drive to North Park to pick up 4 teenaged girls at a concert, but we weren’t sure when it would be over, so I had packed my sketchbook, yes, the BIG one, because I have no fear (really, apparently I don’t) and I was just going to hang out near where the concert was, in like a coffee bar or wine bar or anything that had the word bar in it? And draw until they were ready for me. Because I told the girlchild it wasn’t safe for her to walk around down there, because of some recent assaults, but I guess I was safe because I had my sketchbook.

I had gotten the drawing to this point the night before because I was too tired to keep making art stuff, but I didn’t feel like going to sleep, so I sat in front of the computer, watching videos, and decided to be bold, rip the previous drawing out of the sketchbook…this one…

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because the male figure just plain old sucked…reminded me of Draco in Harry Potter, and that’s not what I wanted. However angry I might be with particular males in the universe, my goal in this drawing is some vision of equality, of working together, of being different and yet on the same team. We can’t be the same. It’s impossible. (As I sit here dealing with menstrual cramping from hell and wondering if I can just go overmedicate myself and go to bed right now, I’m fairly sure none of the males in my life have ever felt this uncomfortable for any reason, let alone once a month, every month, for the last 35 fucking years…oh wait, I didn’t have my period while pregnant…but then I was just puking my guts out. That’s a separate hell.).

Plus the hammer bugged me. Not that there shouldn’t be a hammer in this quilt. There totally should be. Just not in his hand. She’s holding a baby. He’s holding a hammer. Not working for me.

So. I put the original drawing under a blank page and basically traced the female figure…

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because she was mostly OK. I changed her tattoo, I added some arrows, because I had forgotten them the first time around, and I gave her lungs. Can’t breathe without fucking lungs, you know. Yes, I am venturing into the 1500+ piece range at the moment, and I need to deal with measuring this piece too, because it has to be a particular size. Then I made another pass at drawing a male…different hair, different mouth, stronger face. Better. But then what? I had an idea that I wanted a tree to be growing from them, between them, and that the tree might hold some things that would be relevant to both genders, that were maybe in the realm of male or female in the past, but could be either now, like hammers and aprons and lawnmowers and Valium. Wait. Not Valium. I also debated about what to do with their arms in the middle…I was going to put their arms across each other’s shoulders, but I wanted them joined, not necessarily leaning on each other…the arm/shoulder thing seemed awkward.

Really, if you had been watching me, there were short bursts of drawing, then long moments where I just stared at the drawing, and you couldn’t tell, but I was visualizing things (like arms over shoulders) and trying them out on the drawing in my head, rejecting some, setting some aside, deciding some might work. I still have some saved in my mental clipboard.

So when I got to the bar last night, I plopped my money down for a single glass of wine (I was driving 4 teenaged girls and it was already late) and sat down at a table in a mostly empty wine bar, pulled open my sketchbook and started to draw…and no one bugged me and it was dark (not necessarily a plus) and when I couldn’t visualize what their hands should look like (I guess it’s been that long since I’ve held a hand…telling, that is), I Googled stuff until I found a few and stared at them until it made sense to me again.

And I drew…

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Yes, I stopped there. Not because I’m afraid to draw a penis in a wine bar. I’m not. It’s just that the girls had texted me that they really liked the band they were watching and we negotiated a pickup time and it was time for me to leave and go get them a half block away. (Actually, first they said they would walk to the coffee bar I was at…um…WHOOPS…not at a coffee bar) So I did.

There’s a couple things that need fixing, and it’s definitely going longer (although I don’t know how much longer…should figure that out). I didn’t work on the tree because I’d like to go taller too, and I don’t know if I have the space. So I’ll finish his body to the knees and then run a copy so I can continue the drawing down. And I will check the measurements before I do that. But I’m feeling much better about this project now, because I was able to get my head out of the shit in which it had been wallowing. Whatever my experiences in relationships have been, I do have an incredibly clear idea of what they SHOULD be…I always have…perhaps that is what gets me in trouble. I expect teamwork and cooperation and gender roles being questioned and negotiated with care for each other. I don’t have to be the cook just because I am a girl. I can mow a lawn even though I am a girl. You know, that shit. Hate that shit.

I expect both people to pay attention. I don’t really think those things are beyond most people’s ability…I just think most people treat other people badly. A good relationship requires attention and work, and if those things are diverted or ignored, then the relationship will fail.

I can believe in it even if I’ve never experienced it. Maybe that’s what this quilt is really about…a dream of equality for me personally, with the hope that my own children will get to experience something like that. It’s difficult to draw a dream…nightmares are so much easier. Reality…it’s pretty easy to draw as well. But hopes? Wishes? Dreams for something better? That’s harder to get right.

2 thoughts on “Ironing Birds Very Very Flat…

  1. (Big Big Smile!) I Love it! I Love that dream…
    and I laughed out loud at those “penis” drawings… you’d think they’d never seen one! (Maybe they hadn’t… ) Ha Ha Ha…

    xoxo

    Like

  2. I believe too. Broken picker though, and if I’m honest I’m not sure I’m capable of living up to my own ideals so meh, art and kids and silly facebook games instead 🙂

    Like

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