Categories
art conflict creativity design generosity quilts social media work

Day 111: update on face masks and Respect quilt

Letter from Debbie in Bellevue July 2020Hello again readers,

I’m as surprised as the next person to see that I’m still in the grips of face mask mania, 111 days later. As the hilarious (yet dead serious) comedian and fellow seamstress Kristina Wong pointed out yesterday in a cool event hosted by Creative Capital, and my own experience has confirmed (see letter from Debbie), it does seem that something is wrong in this country, when senior citizens–our teachers, our parents, our beloved elders and fellow humans–must appeal to strangers for the protection they need from a dire plague. Hmmm.

At any rate, the face mask sewing continues, as does my desire to start producing the Respect Quilts announced some days ago!  Some progress has been made, as you’ll see in the pics below. They show the fabrics I’ve gathered and the embellishments made to the Harlem Toile de Jouy by Sheila Bridges Design in NYC. (I especially enjoyed making the woman look like a teacher!)

Another day, another link in our connections, another chance for hope…

 

Categories
American literature art conflict creativity friendship quilts work

day 78, a way forward: the Respect quilt

Hello readers,

I’m excited today to announce a new idea afoot and to request any feedback you may have to share about the “Respect” quilt project which was inspired by the many beautiful fabrics I’ve purchased from Black-owned businesses around the USA this week (above):

The “Respect” quilt project: allies at work

The “Respect” quilt is a result of Black and white creators working together to honor Black women’s beauty, history, and resilience.

The first one, underway, is being created by a former teacher, a white woman, for a former student of hers, a Black woman in South Bend, Indiana. When in her class at age 15, the young woman wrote and illustrated a short story, Overcoming Adversity, which stayed in the mind of her teacher all these years. (Discussions are afoot about revising it and publishing it with Honey Girl Books and Gifts LLC.)

The “Respect” quilt features African fabrics (waxes and Ankara cottons), Afrocentric fabrics, such as Harlem Toile de Jouy designed by Sheila Bridges (NYC), and other fabrics purchased from African-American business women across the USA.  It is the intention to celebrate and honor black womanhood that we all share.

Ideas? email: juliawsea@gmail.com

And yesterdays’ face mask production fyi, the final batch for North Seattle College! (if you look carefully, you’ll see that all 45 masks made over the past days are uniquely different, to honor the diverse identities of the No. Sea. College faculty, staff and students!):

Face masks made on June 4 2020

Categories
creativity design quilts social media sustainability work

day 76, same as yesterday, but local connections!

Hey readers,

Guess I missed the tip yesterday, about going blank for a day. Don’t really agree anyway: it is better to sustain, rather than refrain. So today I searched online for ways to buy things I need from black-owned businesses in my local area, Seattle. What a revelation! I found Our Fabric Stash, a shop owned and run by Deborah Boone, a black woman whose vision and work are AWESOME. In consultation with a homeless person of her acquaintance, she created a “Homeless Sleep Care Cushion” kit (see video here) which anyone can buy and sew at home. It makes a warm, waterproof, comforting cushion suitable for use on the street. One can then donate it to a homeless person, or bring the finished product to the Our Fabric Stash shop in the Pike Place Market for distribution to the homeless in Seattle. She also sells fabric on a consignment basis, which is a smart and visionary way to sustain the ecosystem among creators.

I bought a few of these adorable patches for my new “Respect” quilts, and thanks to the owner’s excellent communication, I was able to purchase via email some African fabrics and this nice combo of cottons to honor a friend’s fondness for Bob Marley and reggae music!

Bob Marley colors cotton from Our Fabric Stash

In the meantime, the HGBG offer remains: this week only (til June 7): a personalized Honey Girl quilt can be yours for only $100.  Reserve yours now, by dropping me a line!  Lead time 3-6 months.

Must make more face masks now!

fyi, yesterday’s face mask production:

face masks made on June 2 2020

Categories
American literature art conflict creativity death quilts work

day 74, same as yesterday

Can’t think of anything better than to repeat myself, on this sad moment in American life.

Dear reader,

I know that you are suffering. That is why I’m writing. I want to remind you that your life matters, your mind matters, your potential matters. Your words and actions matter. All the people who have died matter, and we will remember them, and keep demanding an end to the violence. And if you would like a face mask to wear during this ongoing COVID-19 crisis, or a quilt to celebrate a life, let me know. I can help with that. (Quilts $100 today only; lead time 3-6 months.)

Thank you.

With hope and solidarity,

Julia   (use the Contact form to communicate requests for masks or quilt information, or just to chat. I’ll check in frequently.)

p.s. sorry for such a minute response to what is really a shattering moment in American history, but apart from nothing—symbolic silence—I could not think of anything worth writing. It’s all out there in the news, I can only offer face masks or quilts, and a few words of comfort.

Honey Girl quilts, normally $499.99, just $100 this week only!

(That is Nick’s high school graduation quilt, June 2009; apologies for the out-of-focus photo)

***

and fyi, yesterday’s face mask production:

Face masks made on May 31 2020

Categories
art creativity work

day 70: sick of words words words

Hiking down to the beach, sitting in the sun and listening to the waves, watching a seal’s glistening head poke through the water, hiking back up again and feeling exultant and healthy: words words words are all I can use to capture my feelings. But what if my feelings are ordinary, just happy? The words sound arrogant, smug, self-satisfied. They smack of privilege. I bore myself. I embarrass myself. I write and write and write then delete it all. Blah!  No more words!

So I’ll sign off now and get back to working with my hands. There one can see true results. (Or not…  could the words be a form of procrastination???)

Yesterday’s production wielded no finished masks, but here’s what my studio looked like at the day’s end:

studio at work May 27 2020

 

Categories
art creativity design work

day 67: echoes of Vogue!

Today we start with yesterday’s production of masks made by me, alongside this pic from hip designer Araks, in this week’s Vogue:

 

How cool is that! to see that the kinds of face masks I make—with cotton ties, in stylish prints—are literally in vogue!  (Ahem, theirs cost $40, while mine are still only $5. After June 1, my new model has 3-ply and an adorable Honey Girl logo label, for just $15 each.)

p.s. It may seem strange, but I am just loving this work. I thought it might be tedious but it’s not, and I’ve been sewing face masks every day since April 2! The massive numbers of masks I’ve been making (350 or so) and constant repetition of the same exacting tasks, have pushed me to pay even closer attention to the work. “Flow” happens all the time in this quiet house in a quiet neighborhood by the sea.

[T’ai chi, exercise, and lovely cuisine, evening entertainment in agreeable company also help!]

It has been fun to combine color and patterns and see the surprising results (who knew grey thread could be such a sweet influence on black and white?!). The constant creativity has made me impatient to get back to arty quilts again, and take things to a different dimension, tell whole stories in thread…

Categories
creativity wisdom work

day 64, seen in the neighborhood

Arrow to the Left May 22 2020

Open to your many interpretations, be they philosophical (“What about free will!?), political (“Do all paths converge to the Left?”), geographical (“Where the heck is that road?”), or whatever comes to your mind today…

Also seen in the neighborhood:

And yesterday’s face mask production, fyi

Face masks made on May 21 2020

Happy Friday! see ya tomorrow

Categories
dogs English literature health wisdom work

day 63, we’re back, slowly but happily

Hi again,

It worked. A day of rest has restored both Honey Girl and me to our usual selves, maybe not so bouncy as we used to be, but we are both happy to be here.  (Those squeaky toys don’t squeak themselves!)

Sometimes slowing down, or even stopping entirely, is what we need to keep going.  Doesn’t make sense? Just look around—there are many models of movement other than the fast lane / 1,000 Mbps bandwidth / hyperlinked way of living we prioritize nowadays…. Or at least we used to do, in pre-COVID-19 times…

Take sloths, for example. As Lucy Cooke points out in Life in the Sloth Lane, “Sloths don’t hop from tree to tree in a blaze of glory—they gently test the next branch to see if it’s sound before they proceed.” Cooke thinks sloths have much to teach us, writing: “We humans—busy pedal apes who are determined to move faster than nature intended—sometimes need a little help remembering how to slow down and appreciate what we have, rather than racing after what we desire.”*

Not a fan of sloths?  What about tugboats?  I stood and watched this tugboat in Elliott Bay for a few minutes this morning and was amazed at how fast it was moving, though it appeared to be standing still.  Seems like there’s a lesson there… if we took the time to think it.

Fyi: yesterday’s face mask production (once the migraine pain lifted, it was such a pleasure to get back to work!)  Face masks made on May 20 2020

* Lucy Cooke, Life in the Sloth Lane, (New York: Workman Publishing, 2018), p. 69, p. 1.

Categories
creativity generosity sustainability wisdom work

day 61, “when you wish to delight yourself…”

“… think of the virtues of those who live with you,” counsels Marcus Aurelius. “For nothing delights so much as the examples of the virtues when they are exhibited in the morals of those who live with us. […] Hence we must keep them before us.”

Meditations, Book VI, 48.

Today is devoted to that: delighting in the virtues of others.  First, I was delighted to discover my favorite nearby island, Vashon, made the news this morning in the New York Times!  It is an article in the Science section about the innovative COVID-19 testing program that some volunteers (including a retired cardiologist) set up on the island, and which is now being offered as a model to tribal communities and other rural areas around the nation.  I love the concept of “inherent trust” that exists among the islanders, and which will doubtless help the contract tracers follow the path of the virus, were there to be an outbreak on Vashon.

 

(It may sound crazy, but I like to think that all of us people–tailors, sewers, grandmas and teens–all the people who are sewing beautiful face masks for other people around the world, that maybe we too might help foster trust among those who are protected by our creations.)

The stock market rallied yesterday on news of other people making a difference–scientists working on a promising vaccine. Yay for people creating positive changes in their communities and in our country!

Hopeful stock market sign May 19 2020

and fyi, yesterday’s face mask production, alongside our new window sign for Week 10:

Here’s hoping tomorrow brings more positive news! 🙂

 

 

Categories
creativity work

day 58, accepting our limitations, admitting our imperfections, and getting on with it

More grey weather outside, another onslaught of scary, outrageous, sickening news in the paper, another day of mounting worries and anxiety: what else is new? LOL. 🙂

So I took out a little book that sometimes helps and turned to the message for May 16:

there are four things conducive

to the uncovering of wisdom:

association with those who are virtuous

hearing wise and true teachings

listening well and deeply

practicing sincerely *

to which I would add: “looking carefully at the photos of your work before posting them!”

Face masks made on May 15 2020

That grey mask with the purple stitching was an experiment I conducted on inspiration from DJ Kevin Cole’s afternoon show yesterday on KEXP, when he issued a creative challenge to listeners to “use an inappropriate color.” For me, that meant using purple thread instead of grey thread on a grey mask. I was so happy with the results that I took a quick pic, submitted it, and patted myself on the back… until I looked closely at the pic, then the mask, and saw my error!  (one of the ties is not stitched correctly.) Yikes! I know it’s extremely small potatoes, in the big scheme of things, but I care that my work is as beautiful as I can make it. Luckily, this is one thing I can fix.  Yay for that!

Hang in there, any way you can, until tomorrow…

 

* Shi Wuling, Path to Peace