Stretching Art and Tradition

Back in January I finished Dreaming of Cool, Clear, Abundant Water and got it mailed off. Today all the Stretching Art and Tradition quilts are online here and next year’s challenge is here.

Enjoy viewing and consider playing.

Meanwhile, I’ve prewashed my Riley Blake challenge fabric, and I’m plodding away at my Threads of Resistance piece. Templates made, pieces cut, and a few stitched.  But it isn’t photogenic yet. Soon.

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Shifting from ‘Criminal Justice’ Frame to ‘Racial Justice’ Frame in One Book

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of ColorblindnessThe New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Because this book has been around since 2010, information from it has trickled into my awareness. Still, there was much in it that I did not already know.

Alexander (no relation) explicated in detail how laws that sound neutral can be racist in their effect; the drug war involves such laws. The short version: blacks and whites use and sell drugs at about the same rate; blacks are imprisoned with felony charges, whites are less likely to be so charged. Felony charges affect people for life after prison: no public housing, no food stamps, the box on employment applications–becoming outcasts. Whites are less likely to go to jail. The judicial system has made it impossible to win lawsuits claiming racism unless there is overt hostile intent–impact is ignored.

She shows how nothing can change without a change in public consciousness as she traces similarities in slavery, Jim Crow, and contemporary drug-war imprisonments. Attitudes find new ways to express themselves and maintain what she names a racial caste system.

The book is very detailed, as it must be, to show the systemic nature of the racism she addresses, something that occurs on an almost subconscious level. I did find the similarities section of Chapter 5, “The New Jim Crow” to repeat too much of what had been clearly presented before, but when she got to the differences, new information surfaced.

The concluding chapter, “The Fire This Time,” defends her claim that legislative change alone will only open new variations of oppression unless public consciousness changes as well. She discusses other solutions that have not worked, including “color blindness.” The claimed neutrality of “color blindness” serves to mask systemic racism. Rather than becoming blind to color, we need to stop being blind to injustice. We need to learn to talk about race. (This is beginning to happen more in the years since the book’s publication.) She points to a time when slaves and white impoverished workers were divided even though they had issues in common and urges a return to working together.

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The High Cost of Free Fabric

Seems like forever since I’ve added enough fabric to warrant a stash report, but at long last, a shopping day!

It started with the six free fat eighths provided by Riley Blake for this year’s MQG challenge (Creative Rockstar line). In the past,a requirement has been to add print fabrics only from the same line as the freebies and any solids.  This year the solids had to be Riley Blake cotton confetti.

Well, I don’t label my solids,so whenever a brand is required, I must shop. And shop I did.

Riley Blake additions

And of course some additional of the prints. The four small prints are the same as some in my six free pieces; the multicolored triangle print is for the backing. The varying shades of solid have two functions. I like using near shades/tints. And I couldn’t be sure what I saw on my monitor really matched what I had in my hand.

I did try to shop at my local quilt shops. But luckily I phoned before traveling, and none carried the challenge fabrics or the cotton confetti solids. I suppose they can’t keep up with all the challenges that are out there. I might have bought more variety in prints, but limited myself because the shop had a one-yard minimum cut. Otherwise I might have bought the two gray variations–I’d had an idea for using them. But they were not essential.

The plan I have so far involves improv. I’ve been wanting to try Score #9, Get Your Curve On, from Sherri Lynn Wood‘s Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. This seemed a good chance to begin. So no sketch this time. I have nothing planned except which colors will go in which rows, which is background, and an overall size (either 45 x 45 or 40 x 60, whichever works with what I get).

This quilt is due April 30 so I can dawdle a tiny bit.

I’ll be linking with Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash Report someday (Molli is on vacation). Here is the button so you can see past posts.

“Sunday-Stash-with-Molli
The button isn’t working today–it was back when I posted. Here is another link.

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Idea Forming for Threads of Resistance

The Threads of Resistance challenge has been in the back of my mind for a while. I’ve been thinking and sketching and thinking and sketching some more. Actually mostly thinking. I probably should sketch sooner as nothing shows an unformed idea so quickly as trying to put it on paper. Until I actually sketch, I can delude myself that an idea is good.

Because of my interest in the Standing Rock Water Protectors, oil accidents contaminating water sources have been my first consideration.

threads-sketch-1

One of the first tries, oil pouring out of the slash-zero ‘Forbidden’ sign. Meh. Too in-your-face. I tried again, making stripes of blue and black for a background an forgetting the oil falls.

threads-sketch-2

Not much better. Then I got the idea of fragmenting the sign.

threads-sketch-3

Now I feel like I have something to work with. My next design move is to cut the sign full size, cut it in parts, and then move the parts around on a full sized piece of paper. (Minimum size is 20 x 20–not sure what size I am aiming for yet.)

Penciled in dark = black, medium = red, uncolored =blue. The background will most likely be shades and tints of blue; I’m debating on what shade of red (or varied) for the fragmenting ‘Forbidden’ sign; and the dark will be the black for oil.

Then there is the matter of title and the question of how much to depend on it. Ideas so far include “Waters of the United States,” “Deregulation,” and “Foxes Guarding the Hen Houses.”

Come Friday I’ll link with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall–button in the sidebar.

 

 

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This Year’s Everybody Reads Book

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American CityEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a timely “Everybody Reads” book because of the housing crisis in Portland, OR (some rents increased as much as 100%, gentrification, lack of affordable housing).

Ethnography tends to produce readable books, and this one is no exception. The book is about 90% narrative, stories of people in Milwaukee who experience not one, but serial evictions. Interspersed among the stories are comments about statistics and trends. And the final two chapters discuss causes and possible solutions to the housing crisis and methods. One fault was pointed out in a panel discussion that the author didn’t situate himself as white, male, a reflective move usually associated with ethnography. Strengths were that he triangulated sources so that his lived experiences among the evicted were corroborated by statistics and surveys.

The panel discussing the book included a sociologist, an urban planner,who specializes in intersections of race and gender, and a community psychologist. The book’s finding that evictions cause poverty instead of vice versa was presented as new information to sociology, though not to urban planning.

The stories are vivid, the experiences depressing. It is well written, but still hard reading. Some evictions were for trivial issues. Not all were for non-payment of rent. Property managers would sometimes work with those behind in rent, other times not. It seemed arbitrary. Court expenses were added on, so that the person whose rent was 3/4 or more of their monthly check had more to pay than just back rent to clear their records. In addition, it was hard to get another place to rent with a recent eviction on their record, starting a downward spiral. Every eviction disrupted not only the family, but also the neighborhood network. And then there were the school changes for the children. Another finding of the book was that the more children one had, the more likely they family to be evicted.

In the solution section, Desmond observes, if housing is a basic right, we have to rethink “the right to make as much money as possible by providing families with housing–and especially to profit excessively from the less fortunate” (305). Where previously we have made choices favoring profit, we need to reconsider those choices and values. Without that change, he asks us how we would respond to a situation where we could make a lot of money. Thus even while faulting the system, he is sympathetic to the landlords and property managers.

It is definitely a book worth reading and pondering. Then working to make changes needed to alleviate the problem of housing insecurity.

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Riley Blake Challenge Fabric

Tonight at the Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting, the Riley Blake challenge fabrics were handed out. Here are mine.

riley-blake-challenge-fabric-2017

Each piece is a fat eighth; of course I am allowed to buy more from the Creative Rockstar collection. I can also combine the prints with Riley Blake confetti cotton solids. The only other rule is to make something quilted. And finished. I usually aim for a child sized quilt. I have until April 30th. That should be enough time to get an idea, shop for fabric,  and make a project.

The words on the bottom fabric are subtle. So far I’ve seen “eat,” “sleep,” and “creativity.” I’ll look more closely later. Maybe the words will give me a design idea. This “show” is online, with quilt photographs entered and judged. The projects never become a physical show.

Guild has another challenge going as well,  quilts that speak.  Every month someone will present a different technique for making letters.  In preparation, the presentation tonight was about quilts with words.  The first part was history of friendship and charity quilts with embroidered signatures, of alphabet quilts–embroidered, pieced and appliqued,  of signatures and mottoes.  The second part was about tips for legible messages and for design decisions from bold to subtle. The goal is that members finish a bunch of quilts with messages, from serious to funny, to be included in our corner of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in 2018. Although the Sisters show is not a juried show, our guild juries our entries.

My thinking cap is on for both those projects. And for the Threads of Resistance call for entries. That one has to be finished and photographed by May 1. It is a juried show that has several venues planned.

Getting three ideas in that amount of time is not so difficult; finishing the projects may be another story.

I guess getting fabric is moving forward, even if barely. So linking up. Button in sidebar.

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Last 5 Weather Blocks

I guess it is time to get with the program and finish off this 2016 project. So here are blocks for August-December

weather-aug-dec

These are ready to put with January – July, blocks that have been patiently waiting. (If you click back to the early post you will have to scroll way down to get to the weather update.)

October . . .

weather-oct-2017

. . . I think it is safe to say, was the most boring month! If I had divided temperatures into groups of 5 instead of 10, I’d have been able to switch out only 7 of the grass green squares.

The design definitely works out best in a strip setting instead of monthly setting, as you can see from the others in the Facebook group. But I had to try. The image in my head was of calendar dish towels.

I’m aiming for 50 x 70 for the AIDS camp that I make several quilts for; here’s hoping one of the participants is a weather geek. I’m thinking of 1-inch strips between months and a narrow border on the right. On the left a wider border with the key to the temperatures. In keeping with the dish towel look, the top border will have “2017.” And the bottom “Portland Highs.”  So now to make the letters and numbers.

I didn’t get to use red for 100s or purple for 20s. I’d have been able to use the latter for this January–at least three days, so cold does happen here. Hot not so much.  I’m pondering using them for the letters and numbers and/or binding.

ETA: Linking with Moving it Forward Monday–button in sidebar.

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