Sunday, December 23, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"My Quiet Book" -- a book written and made by my grandmother Catherine Hermes

This just turned up a couple of weeks ago after having been stored in the back of a closet for the past 40+ years.

It has so many things in common with some of my own recent work -- off-white cotton background, drawing with marker on cotton, felt shapes, applique, the use of black.  It amazed me to open it after so long and see so much of my own work in my grandmother's.

The book is all about being quiet and focusing on small tasks.
The brown pocket above held a pad and pencil.

The train cars can be unsnapped and rearranged.

 Love this big black shape of a shoe.

This Durer painting of St Jerome in his study perfectly captures the feeling of being quiet and looking at books.  I've spent many hours doing just that.

Thanks grandma.


Mary Catherine Hermes.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Birds made from old clothes... in progress

I just started laying these out earlier in the week using old clothes, some of my mom's leftover fabric, and an old tea-dyed cotton canvas shower curtain for the background.  I'm already looking forward to working on a larger scale because it's hard to maintain the clarity of line and shape with such small scraps.
I do love the black.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Textile collage-- a cross between a city plan and a barnacle

It all started with a piece of china which broke in the mail, sent by my friend's grandmother, who lives in Australia, to my friend in NYC.  She gave the broken pieces to me and said "Maybe you can make something with this."

Which I did.
I started stitching and attaching things. I couldn't stop.
It turned into a something of a cross between a city plan and a barnacle.

An onyx turtle, a souvenir from a childhood trip to Mexico in the late sixties.
Objects in the pie safe in my studio that I drew on fabric-- 1930's Mull Soy baby formula tin and teacups, among other things.

A ruler from one of my mom's students ca. 1970's, a seashell from Louisiana Gulf Coast, Texas pecan shell, and a Portuguese fishing weight I bought in a fishing village on the NW coast of Portugal, 1995.

I was thinking of Piero della Francesca's "Madonna of the Egg".

Hans Holbein portrait of Martin Luther on a 1983 commemorative stamp.

Old buttons, an old penny, old string, and cow bone fragments.
Reminds me of the chrysanthemum of my dreams.

Fossils from my sister's childhood collection.  She's a geologist, so that passion stuck.
A grouping of grey buttons.  I was thinking about both a grove of trees and  lukasas, the African memory boards.

The buttons  and shells help you remember what's important.

A 1970's newspaper ad for a leisure suit began to fall off almost as soon as I sewed it on, so I covered it with a button. It was made in Holland, has been in Texas the past 50+ years and is now in NYC.   I like that.


and thinking of Latin American Madonnas.

A stone circle made of a rock, a cow bone fragment, and the onyx feet that broke off the turtle's companion, a burro.

Orange silk from the hat I made last year for my friend.
She chose the fabric for the hat.  I'm quite sure she recognizes it.

Water pooling around a seashell. Covered buttons from my mom's dresses, 1940's-50's.
Always moving back and forth between the conceptual and the real, the tangible and intangible.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall shadows

                              The shadows in the fall afternoons are long, and make incredibly wonderful, distorted shapes.  The dried leaves and acorn caps have strong sculptural qualities, and are yet another sign of fall.

I can't end this post without noting that I took these photos while walking my dog the other afternoon on the sidewalk in front of the town courthouse (above), designed by architect J. Reily Gordon. It's in the style of  H.H. Richardson -- reference Woburn Public Library (below).   The concrete sidewalk is the least interesting detail of the courthouse, but did make a fantastic backdrop for shadows.