Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Making It Count

(crossposted from BlogHer)

Caron Lage, from And Still Counting, had an idea last spring:
I can tell when I've hit upon a good idea in a couple of ways. Some ideas just won't leave me alone. They haunt me until I succumb to doing something. My favorite ideas also make me jump up and down and do a little dance. I don't realize I even do it.

This blog is going to be about is going to be about one of those jump up and down ideas that haunts me.

Not long ago, I was perusing the internet, when I came across some photos of a display at Reed College out in Portland Oregon. Flags had been placed in the lawn. A red flag for every American who has died in the war, and a white one for every six Iraqis. There were 3055 red flags, and 112,000 white flags. I was overwhelmed.
Caron decided that as a fiber artist she could create an art project that served as a visual record of these deaths. She knew it had to be quilt-like in nature (quilting being her preferred medium.. and an easy medium for people to work in). And then she clearly saw the concept:
A small quilt for each American who has died and on that quilt small french knots to represent each Iraqi. Using the numbers from the Reed display, that's 3055 little quilts with 212 french knots on each one. The quilts will be made and bound with solid color fabrics. Any color is fine, they represent the soldiers who repesent us and we are of every color and ethnicity. The 212 french knots will be made with black thread. I've been using 2 strands of embroidery floss, and starting in the center, make a spiral of french knots. Each little quilt will be connected to the next with small brass safety pins. I am putting a purple bead on the safety pin between the quilts to represent the wounded. It's no where near the actual number of wounded, nut, they need to be represented as well. .

I am going to need help.

Thus the collaborative War Memorial Quilt began.

In May, Caron posted a tutorial on making one square. And the squares began to pour in from around the world. Some collaborators were using seed beads instead of french knots; others were choosing different abstract patterns than the spiral. The project began to grow. Recnetly, another tutorial on efficiently cutting a number of blocks from 1-5/8 yard of fabric was also published.

In November, Caron shot the project SO FAR at a local park. Eight panels of 30 blocks each. With other blocks being assembled, she had a total of 300 blocks representing 300 American and 63,600 Iraqi deaths. She was also interviewed for Minnesota Public Radio.

Currently, the project is hanging at the White Bear Lake Unitarian Universalist Church. Check out this picture of this beautiful testament to war and death.

Other bloggers with bright ideas:

When Evil Mad Scientist Lenore Edman had an accident, the worst damage was to her messenger bag. The EMTs cut it off her body! She took this opportunity to repair it with a better, stronger, faster version using a seat belt buckle mechanism.

Rachael from All It Took Was Just One Stitch spins, knits, sews, and cooks. This past Saturday, she shared the instructions for sewing a Pyramid Door Stop (it's summer in Australia.. with those summer breezes...). We in the Northern hemisphere can start sewing these up in in anticipation of the soon-to-be warm spring winds.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

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