Commemorative Cloth Making

A few years ago, I took an indigo printing class by Dorothy Caldwell, which, if you are able, I would highly recommend. In this class Dorothy showed us some African commemorative cloth that she had collected while traveling. I instantly fell in love with the idea of using cloth as a means to explore current day topics or even topics of a personal nature. 


David and I will be married for twenty years this coming August, a date to commemorate if ever I have experienced one. My love for this man is extraordinary, he is my best friend, my lover, my husband. I learn from him and with him. David is a phenomenal being and our relationship reflects the work and focus the two of us are committed to doing ‘for the couple’. I could not wish for anything more. David is a dream come true.


Twenty years of married life is nothing to sneeze at these days, so I choose to commemorate this milestone by printing 20 portraits of David and I (10 portraits each), which I will make into a quilt. I have not decided if this will need sashing, or how it might go together as a quilt, I like the idea of sashing to separate the portraits. In terms of it being commemorative cloth, I think that at least some of the blocks will need to be dated, a bit more information needs to be attached to the images in order to make it truly commemorative.

It is interesting to print portraits, to see the images come to life. And also to remember the moment of inspiration.



I found this exquisite pair of goggly eyes on the street and had to bring them home. One night, David and I started goofing off and we each took a snapshot of the other wearing the goggly eyes. So you see, there are portraits within portraits here. I love that the difference in our heights is shown in the photographs and the eventual printed portraits. I always see David from this angle, as he sees me, so the image orientation is perfect. I also love that the image of David is one where he is actually happy, David does not show his cards very often.

I am printing these portraits in pairs, I want each pair to have relationship to the other. I want to see more color, and although I do not want to print ‘skin tones’, I want to play with the color of the figures to mix it up more. The style of this set of portraits at the very least nods to Andy Warhols‘ portrait series, and because of this, I want to see some brighter more cheerful colors used in the faces, at the very least. More to come.



A little of this, some of that.

I have been happily printing away over here. I am now even piecing a simple quite made of the printed samples like you see above. I adore printing in repeat, creating repeats, seeing the pieces of cloth come to life. And now, they are becoming a quilt! I am simply sewing these squares together, photos will be forthcoming.

Peach is a complete wonder. We are learning to communicate. We love each other and the three of us, the Man, Peach and I are a happy family. We finally found Peach’s favorite food. She asks for three feeings a day when we feed her Wellness Select in the chicken flavors. She has put on a little bit of weight and I love her little plump.

I have been playing with the idea of commemorative cloth. I took an image of Repose, the one that inspired my 2007 entry into Quilt National, and made a mirror image of it without breasts, but with scars instead. I will be coloring this image soon. The ribbons that circle the image are as close as I will get to acknowledging ‘pink ribbon culture’. I despise the commercialization of breast cancer awareness, we have enough awareness, we need a cure. Beside which, there are other cancers that need a leg up.
But enough of that.
I am unsure weather I am commemorating my breasts or my lack of breasts. I do know that I want to offer beautiful imagery of non-reconstruction, of flatness, for flatties, I want to help normalize this decision for women around the world.
I daydream of having these bandanas printed and offered for sale to raise money for a pamphlet campaign. It was so tough to decided against reconstruction at my care facility that I daydream of having pamphlets in oncologist offices across the nation that show the beauty and viability of this simple option. These pamphlets would discuss how to go about talking with doctors, how to get beautiful results and offer support to women, so that if they choose to opt out, they know they are not alone.
For now though, if you have found my blog by searching bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction, check out the Flat and Fabulous group on facebook.

(P.S. You can click on the images to make them bigger.)