I found most of these pieces at a garage sale where all I could learn was that they had been made by Janice's mother. So this bio is light on facts and heavy on interpretation. She's a shaman in the same way that I consider myself a crone: an older woman who knows enough skills to be helpful. In my purse, I carry bandages, aspirin, a small sewing kit, tissues, tea bags and chocolate, which takes care of most minor emergencies. Janice's mother has scissors, tape measures, needles, etc...and with her extra set of hands she holds potholders showing a stew pot and a tea pot!
My Neighbor Marie
I never met Marie. She lived in a shabby dark green house around the corner, and I never paid any attention until the ESTATE SALE sign went up. Well....the outside might be rundown, but inside? Every gleaming surface was covered in beautiful china and glassware. Upstairs, the beds sagged under a weight of wonderful linens. There were beautiful white damasks, and pieces heavily embroidered with angels and flowers. It was the type of stitching that looks perfect front and back (HOW? how do people DO that?).
I dyed much of the white damask with the same dark color as her house, and sewed them into the form of a hanging garment, the type I imagined Marie wearing. And when you lift open the flaps of the jacket, you can see the amazing colors inside.
At the estate sale, all the pieces were out and at hand, which helped achieve that beautiful contrast with the outside. I did something similar here. I took bits from various pieces - a fat red rose from one embroidered piece, a couple of cherubs from another, and consolidated them to get a really lush, full scene. And the back is a complete mess of threads.
A poor photo, but I thought you might like to see (hey, if I wait until I get perfect photos of everything, this blog will not happen). On the left side, you can see the label (from the back of the quilt), made from one of Marie's embroideries. This is how most of them looked, before I smashed all the flowers and cherubs together. On the right side is a bit of embroidery that I did on the dress-jacket lapel, saying 'really, none of our business'. I wondered about that a lot, about how I didn't know anything about Marie until after her death.
Another piece that's light on information. I found an apron, a pink hat, scissors, a dishtowel with embroidered peacocks, a few hair clips, and was told the place had belonged to 2 sisters. When I found the scissors, I asked if either worked in a salon? No, but they "did each other's hair". So, with my still-poor understanding of fabric dyes, I colored the apron and dishtowel to match the hat, embroidered the lettering, and then I made sure those 2 peacocks looked their very best. Their feathers are set with some clips, and other clips are wound up in colorful threads.