Working on It…

Ah, my head is filled with things. I have to admit to being a hermit when I’m head down, making a piece. I don’t watch the news, I rarely read it, I barely surface for meals, I don’t leave the house if I can help it. Sometimes bits and pieces of it surface when the people around me say something, and then I fall down a Google rabbit hole. I heard about Nia Wilson a few days ago, but didn’t follow up until this morning. Young woman of color, killed randomly (or not? probably not.). Shit. This world sucks for women in general, but add color to the mix and it explodes in their faces. Imagine as a mom…I worry about my kids all the time, but they’re white. It’s a million times safer to send them out into the world than if they were of color. It’s interesting (or telling, maybe) that so many times, we hear that the white murderer has mental issues…does this make it OK? Sure, the US does not manage psych issues well…there are very few ways to get some people help, but still…WHY did he murder a young black girl and try to kill her sister? Sigh. There is so much violence. None of it is OK, but it’s hard to believe racism wasn’t part of this death. If you raise your children to be blind to racism (and perhaps I didn’t do enough there…I constantly check myself in the classroom, with race, culture, religion, and gender…did I do enough?), then you are part of the problem. It isn’t enough to treat all races, cultures, religions, and genders the same (is equality enough? No, equity is the aim…make up for the privilege)…you have to acknowledge that there are stereotypes and incorrect beliefs in play. Constantly. I know this is something I try to do All the Time in my classroom. Do I do it everywhere else? Nope. I’m sure I don’t. Working on it.

So that’s in my head as I’m starting to pick out fabrics for this new quilt, which is hard to explain in terms of theme, but has more distinct human figures in it than any quilt I’ve ever made (they’re all female…which is another issue I keep going over in my head…the thought of gender and how it determines what we are, or not, and how to portray alternate gender issues from my perspective, which seems woefully incomplete). In my last multiple-women quilt, I had a long moment where I was troubled by my own whitewashing of experience. So much of my work is interior, based on my experience, not quite autobiographical, but mostly…yeah…me. So self-centered, white, but we do what we know? I can’t speak for others. But this quilt is about a wider experience of female, about viewpoints and issues and saving the Earth…really, it’s my brain on the news, a small portion of the news. Not all the women in the quilt are meant to be white. More of a universal womanscape…so my brain is percolating over whether it’s even OK for me to talk about immigration when it doesn’t affect me directly, unless you consider my students who are affected by it. But I won’t be deported. I won’t be torn away from my children (this pains me so greatly, those parents who were sent back without their children…WTF are the people in charge thinking, and if you say to me that those parents DESERVE that because they brought their kids up here, I will let loose in a rant about safety and asylum so verbose that the words might bury you). But there is immigration in the quilt. And pollution. And birth. And loss. And abortion. And breastfeeding in public. And the male gaze. Dick pics. Geez. And how to portray women of color in a way that doesn’t perpetuate racism or stereotypes or assumptions. I’m working on it.

It’s not pretty. It probably won’t get into the show for which I’m making it. That’s OK. I think sometimes I have to make these just to get some of this shit out of my head. Although getting this…Nia?…out of my head? Not happening. Love to her family. May she receive justice, although I don’t think that ever makes up for a death. If John Cowell is really mentally ill, maybe he will get the help he needs, but that will never make up for killing an 18-year-old woman.

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We have to speak up. Us white folks, we have to hold the world accountable, best we can. Better than we can.

With all that in my head, here’s a rattlesnake skin picked up on the last hike…

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Yeah, I just left it on the hat rack. Like you do.

I started ironing yesterday with the oil slicks. I got fabric for that.

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Hell, I’ve got fabric for everything. Who am I kidding?

Then all the water…this took a while, both to pick and to iron.

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I took a break. Satchemo enjoying the breeze with the second tower of Wonder Under pieces. Hopefully he won’t knock that over.

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Boychild made dinner. This incorporation of three people into meal choices can be difficult.

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‘Twas tasty.

Then I saw this message in multiple places explaining the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo’s official reason for removing the Threads of Resistance exhibit from their last two shows…

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Um. Yeah. Right. (cough…bullshit). Hey, I don’t have a problem with your pulling it because your sponsors and vendors objected and threatened to pull out…but be honest about it, please? Sure, your vendors and sponsors don’t want to be called out, but hell, this world would be a better place with some sincere honesty. Then I can look at the sponsors and decide if that’s where I need to focus my efforts next (there are three sponsors listed whose products I use all the time…). I find that often the negative comments are so loud that vendors and organizers can’t hear the positive comments. Maybe they need to hear those. Louder. Like, I made my Threads of Resistance quilts USING YOUR PRODUCTS. I have a Viking sewing machine. I use Sulky threads. I use Wonder Under. I buy fabric from just about ALL the companies. My batting is Warm and Natural. There. Those guys. (By the way, none of them have given me anything for free…)

I’m back to this, although having a wool quilt on your lap in summer is still an issue. I haven’t been working on it at all.

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Time to get the balls done. Seriously.

Then back to ironing. I set a goal for yesterday of 6-8 hours of ironing…I made 6. Every time I took a rest (from standing and the heat in here of ironing under bright lights with little air flow), I would let myself sit for a bit and then I would say, I need to go back to ironing. It worked.

Here’s the mermaid earth mother…all in greens and purples.

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I still need to do her internal organs and her hair. I quit just after midnight. I was tired.

So I’m in the 400s, but there are some of the 300s that aren’t ironed yet. The pile of stuff to be cut out and the pile of fabrics used so far.

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Based on yesterday, it’s going to take more than 25 hours, but not much more. Today’s goal? Another 6-8 hours…hopefully on the longer end of it, because I’m starting earlier. Although I might need to leave the house. I can’t handle anything else when I’m in this space, in this head space. Careful introspection of how to depict women of color in this quilt. Sometimes I just want to make them all rainbows, but that’s a cop out too. Working on it.