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innovations in textiles 8 2009

©Lindsay Obermeyer Leucocyte 2

"It's not our art, but our heart that's on display."  --  Gary Holland

Innovations in Textiles 8 is a citywide St. Louis celebration of the textile arts.  Held biennially in September this conference is definitely not to be missed.  This year I have the good fortune of participating in two of the featured exhibitions.  At the Regional Arts Commission is Sing the Body Electric curated by Sarah Colby with artists Jennifer Wilkey and Julia Karll and myself.  The Red Thread Project's performance and exhibition will be taking place at the St. Louis Artists' Guild.

The organizers of the conference have put together a blog on the conference.  Exhibiting artists were asked to respond to 4 from a list of 20 or so questions.  Read our responses.  

quilting, art and a book


If I stitch fast enough, does it count as aerobic exercise? --  Anonymous

Yesterday I stayed piled under my great grandmother's quilt with coffee in one hand and book in the other.  I had to finish this lovely collection of stories about women who piece together lives built around friendship, humor, family and of course, quilts.
Quilting has been on the brain for several years.  I've been to Paducah, Kentucky to visit the American Quilt Museum.  A collection on the subject fills my studio bookshelves.  Pride of place, my grandmother's "purse" filled with her hexagon pattern, cut pieces, her thimble and favorite needles.   

For the upcoming exhibition "A Synestethic Plan of Chicago," I  am making a signature quilt based on my family's love of the "Flower Garden" block.  The project's description is as follows:  

Urbs en Horto – The City in a Garden Signature Quilt 

Chicago’s motto honors the 75,000 acres of city parkland, but also pays tribute to the city’s leadership in environmentally friendly urban development.  From City Hall’s garden rooftop to residential recycling bins and the numerous garden traffic islands, Chicago is indeed a greening city.    It is also a city consisting of many neighborhoods.  Like a quilt, each neighborhood is connected to and a vital part of our society’s fabric. 

The City in a Garden Signature Quilt pays tribute to our city parks while honoring our many neighborhoods.  It delves into the city’s frontier history.  The traditional hexagon quilt pattern “ the flower garden” uses fabric scraps to make a rich and colorful mosaic.  It was a pattern long used in my family and one popular throughout the 1800’s reaching its height in popularity during the Great Depression.  Signature quilts were equally popular as mementoes of births, marriages, and families separated through immigration.  The City in a Garden Signature Quilt melds both traditions.  It will feature a signature from one of the thousands of people visiting the Cultural Center at the center of each flower.  Like a visitors’ book, this quilt will record those who visit and live in Chicago.

Each week I will be at the Cultural Center piecing the quilt by hand.  Viewers are encouraged to both sign a flower center and participate in the actual sewing.  Once the quilt top is finished, an old fashioned quilting bee will be held, bringing together neighbors from across the city.  At the end, the finished quilt will be auctioned on Ebay with all proceeds being donated to the Chicago Food Depository.   It is a quilt made by neighbors for neighbors.

i love candy!

©Lindsay Obermeyer Candy2

"It is not the form that dictates the color, but the color that dictates the form."  --  Hans Hoffmann

I love candy!  Can you tell?  Lollipops.  Jelly beans.  Sweet tarts.  It was inevitable that such yumminess would find its way into my designs.  

The Etsy shop has and still is a learning curve.  The most challenging aspect to date - other than raking in the sales - is getting good photographs.  The decision to not take a photography class in college was as short sighted as it gets.  I'm gaining confidence with the process and am figuring out how to handle backdrops, but haven't a clue as how to get a decent photo of my jewelry - hence why they aren't being shown on Enjolive at present.  

©Lindsay Obermeyer Candy1

I'm really loving this combination of machine felted knitting with needle felted adornment.  I have much more freedom than with intarsia or fair isle.  I want color here?  No problem.  And there?  Yes, I think I'll add some orange.....  The feeling is akin to my leaving behind weaving in favor of embroidery.  I don't have to plan everything in advance and can let color be my leader.

NEW knit felted bags at Enjolive

© Lindsay Obermeyer Dotty Bag

"Seek the strongest color effect possible...the content is of no importance."  --  Henri Matisse

After years of not knowing where my little gouache studies would lead, they have morphed into cheerful knit bags for the young at heart.  Happiness!  

I've been determined to add a new line to Enjolive.  The process has been laborious.  Swatch.  Needle felt.  Toss.  Swatch.  Needle felt.  Toss.  Et voilà!  A Dotty Bag!  Perfect for trips to the beach or grocery store.  Have a stack of books to carry?  No problem.

What especially thrills me with this line is how it has unleashed ideas for other work in the studio.  Stay tuned! 

emergency plans

“He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything.” -- Proverb 

Hospitals have been on the brain of late, hence this collection of medically themed items on Etsy. Last week I had a CT scan. Fortunately, it came back negative. 

I hadn't taken the test all that seriously until I was told that my IV shunt would be left in place until a doctor did an emergency read of my scan. Emergency read?! What?! I'm used to doctors going a bit nutty on me given my history with Wilm's Tumor at Stage IV and surviving it, so I didn't think much of it - until that IV shunt was left in place....I thought I was having the scan to see if there was scar tissue impeding proper function of my lungs or heart, but as it turned out, there was concern of a blood clot in which case I was going to need immediate surgery. 

How my doctor managed to forget telling me that part, hmmm, I don't know. I don't expect doctors to be perfect, but they can't expect me (or any of their other patients) to read their minds. The irony was that I had just received a copy of my new will and trust papers. I had left them to sign upon my return from the hospital. Needless to say, they're signed now! 

My daughter was great. I called to tell her what may happen and she calmly said "Okay. Call me back when you know for certain. If I have to put the Emergency Plan into place, I will. But Mom - I won't need to do it." She was instant balm on frazzled nerves. As a single parent with no family in town, I've trained my daughter since early elementary school what to do if I ever end up in the ER. It sounds overly dramatic, but it's actually very reassuring for us both. Do you have a plan in place in the event you take ill? Think about it. Write it out. You will be amazed at the relief it brings if you need to put it into action.

studio sale! June 7th

© Lindsay Obermeyer cells3

"Energy is eternal delight."  -- William Blake

Yesterday I saw a pig pass me on the street.  Mind you, I live in Chicago where farm animals are typically relegated to the zoo.  Madame Swine (or Monsieur Swine) blew snorty kisses at me as she sped by in a car chauffeured by a distinctly nonchalant driver.  And yes, she was wearing a seat belt.  I kid you not, this happened within blocks of my home as I was taking an evening walk to stretch my legs after a day in the studio.  

I spent the day shuffling piles of stuff.  By the end, I was frazzled.  I need more space.  I've considered the possibility of moving my studio to a separate location, but I like to roll out of bed and work in my pajamas if the mood strikes me.  So what to do?  Have a sale!  Anyone want a 16 harness AVL dobby loom?  Make me an offer.   I'll be destashing this and other goodies on June 7th including a vintage 1950's stove, a large dresser, fabrics, videos and more.

friday fiber fun #8

Calvin Klein Origami dress

"Style is the dress of thoughts."  --  Lord Chesterfield

I'm in love with Francisco Costa's origami dress for Calvin Klein's spring 2009 collection.  It is so simple, so creative, so sexy!  A dress destined to be a classic.  Well, truth be known, I'd love to wear the entire collection.  The recent curve hugging obsession of the fashion houses does little for my willowy body shape.  I just end up looking like a live version of Olive Oyle.  Not good.  But the architectural quality of this collection suits me just fine.  

Hussein Chalayan is another master of fashion.  If you are lucky enough to be in London, check out a retrospective of his work currently on exhibit at the Design Museum of London.  Conceptual and witty, he takes full advantage of contemporary fabric technology.  Digital dress, hats fitted with lasers and my favorite, the collection with moveable parts.   

Nanotechnology is being applied to develop smart textiles that repel bacteria and viruses.  I wonder if broader use of this technology would reduce the spread of such nasty bugs like the swine flu, especially if applied to paper currency.  

That reminds me, I need to purchase some UV protective beachwear for my daughter's upcoming birthday.  The fabric is pretreated with a UV resistant coating.  One thinks to put suntan lotion on exposed skin, but rarely on the portion of the body covered.     

photo credit: Seth Wenig/AP