new hobby

I'm happy to announce that I'm taking a little break from the weekly collage project.  (It will resume at a later date) but in the meantime, I've resolved to take up a hobby: sewing.  


I was fortunate to inherit a 1922 Singer sewing machine this year that my great-grandmother used.  And used.  And used.  According to my family, my great grandma, Roxy Smith (don't you just love that name?) sewed every article of clothing for her family on it.  Except stockings and the rare shopping splurge.  She had 5 girls, and refused to pay for clothing she knew she could make herself.  Talk about inspiring!


Sewing has skipped two generations and with the added inspiration of my dear friend Phaedra, and my sister-in-law Whitney, I'm determined to learn how to do it and bring it back into the family.   





(Above: Gorgeous antique sewing machine and the little sewing tools I've inherited.)



Last night, I pulled out some old fabric scraps, and with the help of a few youtube tutorials and Phaedra's sewing machine, I managed to make my first project: an eye pillow.  It turned out much skinnier than it was supposed to be and I stuffed it with mulling spices and flaxseed (rather than the suggested lavendar and rice). But I'm happy with the results.  To finish the project, I attempted to hand-stitch a paper airplane on the front.  I have a lot to learn, but I'm super excited to experiment.










Long-term, I'm not so much interested in making clothing or craft projects, though, as I am in sewing fabrics, book pages and organic matter together to make the art installations I've been seeing in my head for years.  (Think: more illuminatd seed pods out of stitched fabric and imaginative creatures hanging from the ceiling)


I hope to someday make a few special pieces on the family sewing machine (don't worry - I'll only use fabric on that one!) and perhaps create an installation that touches on the domestic arts and my family heritage.


On a final note, I'll give you a glimpse into the kind of textile art I'd love to make someday.  These artists have created fantastic works that have, in my humble opinion, successfully incporated traditionally "feminine" and "fragile" materials to create work that has sparked questions about what it means to be human (regardless of gender).  


Eva Hesse:


Helen Hiebert:



Magdelena Abacanowitz:




An artist who've mentioned many times before, Brenda Mallory:




And the beautiful work of my friend, Whitney Stansell.  I love her sculptural work, but she mostly works with acrylic and thread.