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“Respect” quilt no. 2 is here!

Like a proud momma, I’m pleased to show you my new baby, “Respect” quilt no. 2. It’s already sold, but orders are now being taken for nos. 3 & beyond, at the “Election special” rate of only $500 for this unique coverlet or wall-hanging (54″ x 78″) made of designer and African fabrics, cottons and flannel, from Black-owned businesses coast-to-coast. Don’t delay, only 2 more weeks until Election Day… and the end of our special offer.

Just contact Honey Girl B & G! (We specialize in cozy).

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a sassy quilt

The “Respect” quilt is coming to life and it’s a sassy one!

A concept comes to the world, little by little!

The backs are red flannel, with a panel made to look like a jeans jacket with bright yellow, red, and black patches declaring a strong engagement in today’s hot button issues. These materialized thanks to email exchanges with the young friend who got me thinking about what it means to “Respect” Black lives and hopes for the future, all the while acknowledging the pain that exists. They include a portrait of the intense, bespectacled Malcolm X (a leader of Black civil rights who was murdered at age 40), “One Love,” a song by reggae legend Bob Marley, and “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance,” an awesome slogan most recently adopted by Black Lives Matter protesters and our allies. The patches have a history of their own! Malcolm X comes from Burbank, CA; Bob Marley hails from Crewe, Cheshire, UK; and “Respect” is made in Sevilla, Spain, all thanks to the magic of Etsy.

FYI: Hey readers! I need Levi’s for these quilts. If anybody wants to donate a pair of Levi’s, I’ll pay $5 plus ground shipping. (Thanks Treehugger, for the jeans I’m already getting from their readers!).

“Respect” quilt no. 1 is all basted up (see the long white threads?), while awaiting the last steps: the quilting and the binding. Quilt no. 2–now bedecked with a flowered trim from a vintage Martex sheet–stands by waiting for its turn. Take a peek at the symbolism: the Harlem Toile de Jouy pieces–designed by Sheila Bridges and embellished by yours truly–are cheerful correctives to the history of race relations in the USA. The playful square with chemistry attributes suggests that women’s intellectual prowess does not rule out their spirit of fun.

Eclectic, connected, and high-spirited, that’s it: the “Respect” quilt project.

More to come!

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respectfully yours (and homage to Yayoi Kusama)

Respect quilt no. 1 has rolled out of production as you see below!

If there is one lesson this work is teaching me, it is to focus on the center. Start at the center. Get the center right and the rest falls into place gracefully. It holds for stitching up a quilt as well as standing on one leg in a crane pose during T’ai chi.

As legendary martial artist Peter Ralston reminds us, “Centering is perhaps the best way to calm our thoughts and emotions. Putting attention and feeling in the center region of the body allows for a shift to a state of being that is calm, nonthinking but aware, balanced, in-the-body, grounded, present, and alive. It coordinates and harmonizes all movement in the body. Every action and movement is done with more power and control when directed from the center.” (The Principles of Effortless Power, p. 10).

In design, the center draws in the eye and creates a feeling for the whole. Yayoi Kusama understands that so well! Her Infinity Rooms are none other than spherical objects–with an invitingly open door. When people go inside, they are thus engulfed in the aesthetic, caressed by its special air and light, the weirdly round architecture giving us an unforgettable memory of coziness and wonder.

In fabric, things work a little differently, though I certainly hope people will one day wrap themselves in my Respect quilts!

The message is straightforward, if told through abstract shapes: in no. 1 (on the left below), the central red and black squares resemble the African continent (top) and a couple of ships bobbing at sea (bottom). They remind us of the slave trade, life’s vicissitudes, and the urgency of action. In Respect quilt no. 2, the central red and black squares resemble a curvy female form (top) and people talking or embracing under a blazing sun (bottom). They memorialize women’s vitality and community-building powers. None of this was premeditated; the images just came to shape when I unrolled that tantalizing package of African fabrics from Cultured Expressions: it’s magic!

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Bob Marley to the rescue, again

The smoky air out here is thick, smelly, and shows no sign of going away. It poses yet another obstacle to our desire for human companionship and makes everybody sad and anxious. We worry now about the fires devastating our neighbors to the south and east, and we all wish mightily for rain.  Not only does the COVID-19 pandemic keep us from each other, we are now obliged to stay in with all the windows shut, lest we make ourselves sick by merely breathing the sooty air.  Sigh.

But we survive nonetheless; my way is to create, always to create. Sewing these bright and colorful Respect Quilts brings loving thoughts to mind and helps keep things in perspective. This will pass. Clear skies will return some day and new growth will recommence in those scorched forests. We just have to abide the present, while waiting for better times to come.

In honor of Bob Marley, whose music does so much to help us get by, each Respect Quilt will feature three squares with little birds on them. As the lyrics to Marley’s song, “Three Little Birds” go:

Rise up this mornin’

Smiled with the risin’ sun

Three little birds

Pitch by my doorstep

Singin’ sweet songs

Of melodies pure and true

Sayin’, (“This is my message to you-ou-ou:”)

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing

‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

Singin’: “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing

‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Music heals. Put the music on, and forget your troubles for a while!

Lyrics courtesy of Last.fm Music | Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. / All rights reserved.

Image of Bob Marley album cover by Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15336841

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bright and happy!

Today’s production united scraps of fabric from all around my life to make a couple of bright and happy accents in the ongoing Respect Quilts! There are dancing feet from niece Dana’s quilt, crazed tulips and a rose garden from the Alice in Wonderland quilts, and red polka dot cotton from Honey Girl’s last bandanna (thanks, adorable groomer who made smell her good again)!

Finally, there are squares made of a fabric printed with the names of all the states from the USA to remind everybody how connected we are… you can be sure that Indiana and Washington will be in every quilt, to honor our mission, which is:

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 (Brooklyn), and other fabrics purchased from Black business women across the USA, including Our Fabric Stash in the Pike Place Market (Seattle). It is the intention to celebrate and honor black womanhood that we all share.

Next steps:
First, I’ll make one for Anyjah (“Respect” quilt no. 1) & another very similar to hers as “Respect” quilt no. 2. No. 2 will become the prototype “Respect” quilt for sale. (This is where I am at present.)
Then, with the help of Anyjah and others, I will launch a fund-raiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of St Joseph County, IN & King County, WA. For every “Respect” quilt sold, 50% of proceeds will be donated.

Julia
Honey Girl Books and Gifts
July 10, 2020
Email: juliawsea@gmail.com
https://www.honeygirlbooks.com/

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African + American = beautiful

The bottom row of a Respect Quilt is coming together, as you see here. It features two very American items–the pocket from a flannel shirt and a jeans pocket from a pair of Levis–alongside two African fabrics we purchased from Cultured Expressions, a Black-owned fabric store in Rahway, NJ.

This is more proof, if any were needed, that African + American = beautiful!

Let us also give credit to the lustrous antique linens (the white accents) which I found at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ssanteaksGreatStuff, an antique shop in St Louis, MO!

From Rahway, St Louis, South Bend, Brooklyn, and Austin to me out here in Seattle: we’re all in this project together.

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the death squares… but don’t be scared!

Update on the “Respect Quilts”: No quilt in honor of the Black experience in America would be complete without a representation of death. So I made these death squares today and think they are rather cute. Why be morbid? Death happens. It hurts, it sucks, we all hate it. There will be place on this quilt for political statements; I have four patches to sew on the back which make the #BLM issues clear. But death is all of ours and the way we handle it can be light-hearted. We can make it dance too, while we’re living.

These squares use bright yellow cotton to evoke the energy unleashed when we shake off our mortal coils, and they depict grinning skeletons doing all kinds of silly things: kicking their heels, brandishing swords, or tipping their top hat at you, as if they stepped right out of a classical Hollywood musical. The black velours makes these squares irresistible to the touch, just as the detailed piecing intrigues the eye with tiny bits of beautiful fabrics and satiny textures, thrown together in an off-kilter way.

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Happy Birthday Beyoncé!

Beyoncé is celebrating her birthday today, September 4!

I’m celebrating with her, by unveiling some blocks of the “Respect Quilts” which are coming to life, bit by bit, every day as I work on them. The white canvas fabric with black silhouettes is by Brooklyn designer Aphrochic; awesome, right?!

Aphrochic describes the fabric like this: “This striking silhouette is an homage to African American women of the 1960s and 70s, whose confidence, freedom of expression and beauty epitomized the “Black Is Beautiful” movement at its height. Presented in a modern, forward facing cameo, this pattern expresses the qualities that defined these women through two tumultuous decades while displaying Afros in all their glory.”

As my hipster son pointed out, they also resemble the oh-so-cool look adopted by Beyoncé in Austin Powers: Goldmember.

A great commentary on this, from “How can I control my hair?” who writes, “This has to be one of my all time favorite Beyoncé hair dos. Coming to the big screen as the lead lady in the hilarious Austin Powers: Goldmember. Beyoncé, as ‘Foxy Cleopatra,’ accessorized her gravity-defying Afro with hats and chopsticks to set the scene when Austin Powers finds her in 1975. She also sang on the soundtrack with her smash hit “Work It Out,” rocking a looser and more modern ‘fro.”

Fabulous ladies, looking marvelous: the theme of “Respect Quilts” and a suitable tribute to the birthday girl.

more to come

xo

J

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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

 

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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