Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sending Quilts to Texas?

Catbird Quilt Studio

The hurricane disaster in Texas may displace people from more than 100,000 homes for at least several weeks. They need housing, food, water, and some way to replace all the goods lost to water damage, or simply washed or blown away. Should you send replacement items? Should you send quilts?

It’s tempting, isn’t it? A quilt is a tangible item to show your concern, to offer both comfort and warmth. I’ve already seen a number of requests for quilts for Texans. I’ve also seen one of those requests in a Facebook group called a fraud, and deleted after the group moderator couldn’t affirm its legitimacy.

In the past I’ve made quilts to give post-disaster. But unless a disaster is local, I won’t do it again. Why not? Very simply, if a community is facing the scale of tragedy that Houston and other Texas cities are facing, figuring out how…

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How Be a Friend

Tips for non-confrontational intervention of hate.

FiftyFourandAHalf

It’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day. And so, of course, Putin’s President, with the irony born of someone without a soul or a keen eye for history, chose today of all days to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

Naturally, that means anybody who “looks” Muslim will become even more of a target than they have been since Trump took us all down the gold escalator into hell.  It is now open season on “others” here in our nation of immigrants.

So what can we do about it?

I will admit that the safety pin movement left me feeling decidedly unhelpful.  It’s a nice thought, but it never made me feel like I was actually standing up for anyone.  Or like I was doing something to help people being targeted.

But a while back I saw this article that offered some practical suggestions that have some meat on the bones.  Really! …

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Body Armor

A very personal essay by Melanie, spurred by a docent’s presentation at Edinburgh Castle.

Catbird Quilt Studio

While touring Edinburgh Castle, Jim and I encountered a man describing medieval arms. He demonstrated the long bow and the crossbow, detailing differences between them. One of the great benefits of these weapons is they could be used from a distance. Closer contact between enemies was dangerous for both.

He showed us a gambeson, or quilted coat. It looked remarkably like the coats worn by many in the audience. It’s purpose, though, was not warmth, but protection. It could protect the skin from cuts and tears rendered in close combat.

2016_0912edinburgh_38 Docent with audience volunteer. She is wearing the gambeson, quilted body armor, and a helmet and is holding the crossbow.

The demonstration reminded me of an essay I wrote a few years ago, while at the tail end of recovery from depression and anxiety. Excerpts from it are below.


BODY ARMOR

This morning I awoke thinking of body armor. Imagine the padded…

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Too Much

Some of my (Melanie’s) thoughts on very upsetting recent events, and how we treat each other.

Catbird Quilt Studio

I don’t post political stuff here as a rule. “Politics” and current events can feel both very removed from and very intrusive in our daily lives. I know many quilters and crafters use their projects to escape the everyday, or to provide meditative time for processing events both worldly and close to home.

We have reached the point, are past the point, of too much. Yet I fear that it is still not enough, enough to break the hatred and fear rather than feed it. We (as a society, not necessarily you individually) feed hatred and fear when we escalate our language online, when we treat each other with less respect, when we reject common courtesies in favor of our own momentary needs.

What do we need, so DAMN urgently, on the phone, that we can’t leave it alone while driving? Think about how you used your phone ten years…

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Power Builders 03.13.15

This week I feature some great free resources, including publications from the J. Paul Getty Trust and the American Folk Art Museum. Also, you can have access to public domain art from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Take a look at these wonderful links.

Catbird Quilt Studio

This is Week #6 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

Last week I gave you the link to J.J. Audubon’s free, high-quality downloadable art. This week there’s even more free stuff! Via Quilter’s Newsletter, here are links giving free access to some amazing…

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Caught Cheating…

I wrote this after seeing a lot of quilt blogs with crediting issues. But it’s good advice for any blogger.

Catbird Quilt Studio

Did you go to QuiltCon? Did you post a lot of photos of the exciting quilts? Did you give credit to the makers?

Huh.

I’ve seen a lot of blog posts recently that didn’t give credit where credit was due. In fact, it’s a regular thing, but QuiltCon gave photo ops that people rarely enjoy, and they took full advantage of it.

Unfortunately, many of those photographers took advantage of the quilters by not including credits. That’s sort of like copying someone’s work on a test. You get points for stuff you didn’t actually do. It is easy to take one more photo with the name of the quilter, and then include the name in the quilt’s caption. I expect every quilter would want that courtesy. Not only are there ethical issues, there are also copyright concerns when you use someone else’s work for your own benefit.

Another way bloggers…

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Power Builders 02.27.15

Not just for quilters!

Catbird Quilt Studio

This is Week #4 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

1) This story tells of one woman who developed her power through an outreach program at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Yes, women’s prison. The women had the opportunity to create quilts, expressing…

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Pay for Quilters (and other Crafters and Artists)

How much do crafters earn in the US? How much should they earn? More than overseas textile workers? Take a look.

Catbird Quilt Studio

I was curious this morning about how well crafters are paid. What should we plug in to that wage figure, when we calculate cost of labor? Well, guess what, folks — there is a way to find out! In the U.S., the Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps records of wages in thousands of labor categories.

The most recent statistic for 2012 shows a median hourly wage of $21.34 per hour. “Median” means it is the middle, with half of workers making more than that and half making less. Federal minimum wage is $7.25, so the median is approximately three times minimum wage. Below is a screen shot of the page I viewed. Click through here to see it for yourself and read more detail.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 4.02.36 PM

Let’s go a little farther with this look. Suppose we want to compare the textile crafter or artist in the U.S. to a textile laborer in…

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You Should Sell Those: A Play in Three Short Scenes, with Commentary

For any artist or crafter to consider…

Catbird Quilt Studio

Scene 1
[Setting: small town library reading room. Characters: paint artist and quilter.]
Artist: You should sell those!
Quilter: No one would pay me what they’re worth.

Scene 2
[Setting: quilt shop. Characters: quilt shop clerk and quilter.]
Clerk: For the women who make the quilts we sell, it’s really a labor of love.
Quilter: If I’m going to put that much love into a quilt, I’ll give it to someone I love.

Scene 3
[Setting: quilter’s living room. Characters: professional musician and quilter.]
Musician: You should sell those!
Quilter: No one would pay me what they’re worth.

The End


All three of these scenes have happened to me in the last few weeks. I relate these to you because there’s been a lot of discussion recently about the value of hand-made crafts. I’ll use quilting as my frame of reference, but the discussion surely applies just as well to…

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Power Builders 02.06.15

Not just for quilters… 😉

Catbird Quilt Studio

With Power Builders, I plan to provide creative links each week. Inspiration is fuel, helping feed your flames of creativity, making you more powerful in your art and in your life. I love seeing how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. These links will provide some of that, some beautiful or fascinating things to look at and think about, some books or other readings I love, and some technical information. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

1) Art comes in unexpected places and from unexpected people.

2) The making of a haute couture dress.

3) Have you met Austin Kleon? Take a look at his blog, his tumblr, his newsletters. Fascinating stuff.

4) And one…

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