sustainability

Time for a Handkerchief…handmade, of course!

Being a regular dog-walker and outdoor person, there are many occasions when a good old fashioned handkerchief would be just the ticket. Launder once a week or sooner if you like. Took the quest to heart and searched for some women’s handkerchiefs and found that they are simply unavailable in local stores. So, I decided to make some, — a great way to share a little eco-conscious gesture with friends, family, and those who want to make the purchase at Iowa Artisans Gallery or on its website.

The challenge: a handkerchief that is attractive enough but can withstand regular washing with ordinary clothes. The solution: use 100% cotton (batiste) handkerchiefs, available in lots of a dozen at Dharma Trading. Look at some of my 36 silk screens and use several to print using Pro-Chemical’s pro-fab textile paint, heat set and wash. Avoid using dyes which complicate the laundering-in-all-temperatures and with-all-clothes mission. Labels printed on New Leaf’s 100% recycled paper using banana fiber waste (available at Office Depot). Note: all images are based on my own drawings. Here are the results.

When I was ready to post this piece, I ran across the acceptance speech that Roumanian novelist Herta Muller recently gave at the ceremony honoring her Nobel Prize for Literature. Entitled, Every word knows something of a vicious circle, Herta begins this lecture, “DO YOU HAVE A HANDKERCHIEF was the question my mother asked me every morning, standing by the gate to our house, before I went out onto the street. I didn’t have a handkerchief…” It’s a touching and compelling piece detailing life in iron-curtain era Romania. Born in 1953, Muller and I are the same age – her young years are very different from mine.

By the way, my handkerchiefs are not ecologically perfect- they are hem-stitched in China and the cotton is not organic. I am on an organic cotton quest for my own art quilts- this is still carried on in conjunction with people like Harmony Susalla, but there are trade-offs in getting all of us to adopt new habits, and moderation in price and availability are a major incentives.

PS- the crow design came about from watching crows eat the discarded, old popcorn in the snow, —from my kids’ Sesame Street-time snacks. The kids are gone. The silk screen lives on.


Linda Gass: Seeing Green


My friend Linda Gass combines two passions in her career arc: fiber art and sustainability. Gass paints complex “birds’ eye” view silk art quilts that explore themes of land use and policy.

Gass recently sent several announcements of interest: “Three of my new quilted paintings on silk are included in Seeing Green: Visions of a Changing Planet at the Visions Gallery, San Diego through August 16, 2009. Inspired by work I did with my local environmental organization, I decided to get personal and dirty in these new artworks. Seeing Green is an environmentally inspired exhibition, curated by Quilt Visions, featuring artwork by 10 different artists that comment about the current state of our natural environment. The work includes reflections about water quality, the impact of urban sprawl on landscape and wildlife, biodiversity, and nature. For more information, visit the Visions Gallery website.

Refined?, 30×30″ (Above) and Sanitary? 30 x 30″ (top)

In addition, if you’re in the San Diego area, she includes information about her special presentation there, Saturday July 18, 2009 from 7 – 8 pm. “If you’re in the San Diego area, please join me for this special event featuring presentations by yours truly and San Diego Coastkeeper followed by a reception in the Visions Gallery where you can view the “Seeing Green” exhibit. I’ll be giving an entertaining and educational presentation on how I use my artwork to raise awareness about water issues in California and the American West. Representatives from San Diego Coastkeepers will present about local clean water issues and activities. The event is on July 18, 2009 from 7-8 pm at the NTC Command Center in Liberty Station, right next to the gallery at 2825 Dewey Road, CA. $15 general admission, $10 for Quilt Visions and Coastkeeper members. There is plenty of free parking across the street at the corner of Dewey and Historic Decator Road.