On a cold January Saturday, my friend Amy and I went over to another CMA Textile Art Alliance member's house to look through boxes of deaccessioned textiles (modern and historic) from the Cleveland Museum of Art's Education Collection. We were there to select textiles to use either in new art work or to inspire new artwork. I fell in love with 2 pieces of paisley fabric that use the same color palette but were created in different countries at different times. I'm going to need to send the tag information to the organizer of the show to find out again the dates and origins of the cloth - so look for an update to this post when I know more.
UPDATE: The woven paisley piece is a piece of a wool paisley shawl - there was limited information on this piece, but based on the name of the donor - it is estimated to have been made during the 1800's. The embroidered paisley piece is a piece of a cashmere wool shawl made in India in the 1800's.
Well - I have been in love with both pieces since I picked them up - and had probably decided in February that I wanted to create a stuffed elephant out the fabric... but I have been slow in getting to it! I recently had the idea to 'hire' my 13-year-old niece as an intern in my studio: spend a couple days a month together, get help in my studio, get a chance to teach her some sewing/weaving/textile things that I think she would enjoy knowing, and not to be underscored - spend a couple of days a month together - did I mention that I adore this girl?
So, Saturday was our first intern-day and I had a blast. We started with a short visit to a fabric store to get interfacing to reinforce the antique fabrics - followed by deciding on how to use the two fabrics, pattern tracing, cutting, and sewing. My niece has done some machine sewing before, but was open to learning some new tricks and tips. She was a fantastic partner in the studio: shared thoughtful opinions, shared her color and design sense, helpful in setting things up and as a second pair of hands. What I loved perhaps even more than all her help was her interest and enthusiasm that really helped me to stay focused and to make progress on the work. We worked mostly with the woven paisley cloth but added green accents from the second cloth - an embroidered paisley. There is still a bit more work to do on this elephant - including adding a tail, maybe eyelids, and maybe a little embroidery.
I may make a second elephant using more of the embroidered paisley fabric - perhaps largely as a decorative 'blanket' that gets draped across the elephants back.
If you want to see the elephant in person, it will be on display as part of 'Textile Art Inspiration: 2015':
Textile Art Inspiration: 2015
This member exhibition will be a textile benefit project using both modern and historical textiles that have been deaccessioned from the CMA Education Collection. These textiles, used whole or fragmented, will either be incorporated into works of textile art or provide the spark of inspiration for an entirely new piece.
Exhibition dates: September 11 – December 6, 2015
Venue: N. B. White Gallery
(formerly South Wing Gallery) at St. Paul’s Church, 2747 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights, OH