On naming what it is that I do (updated)

I’ve been challenged in the past when it comes to describing what it is that I do. Sometimes it’s been easier to say what I don’t do, as in needlework or quilting or collage, none of which exactly fit.

But now I think I may have it: I am a maker of cloth assemblages. And so, to seal the deal, I tried writing something to describe that, which is currently in draft form here.

It’s a work in progress and I’ve yet to give it a test drive “in real life.” But it feels right.

So here’s my most recent cloth assemblage, both sides of the pillow cover I am calling Analogous Red

seen here in its final pre-construction form, lest I forget what the other side looked like …

This Kawandi-style cloth assemblage holds the gifted dyework of artisans Malka Dubrawsky at Stitch in Dye, Connie Akers, Deb Lacativa, Tina Zaffiro, Tierney Barden, and Ulrike Bogdan, some bought, others gifted, by Mo, Connie, Tina, Deb, and Sue (I’m sure I’m leaving someone out, so these lists will probably grow). There are bits of repurposed clothing from forays to the Village Store in Wimberley and various Goodwill stores in Austin. Also, some of my trials of lichen, pecan, prairie tea, and Inktense dyeing. And snips of no-longer-wearable clothing from my closet and Don’s. There’s even a peace piece from a much-too-tight headband I impulsively bought in the Austin airport seven or eight years ago.

Speaking of which, here’s a 1.5” bit that was commissioned by Don for his current assemblage-in-progress after he spotted the peace sign on my pillow cover …

Ain’t we got fun?

34 thoughts on “On naming what it is that I do (updated)

  1. Texas two stepping round and round! Nice name for a stitch about. Quite a sweet list of beauty I’m sure! You’re like a whisperer, taming the leftover with your magic touch! Nice peace sign…is it in a locking washer? Keep having fun! 💟


    1. Your words made me smile … thank you

      And I wondered what that bit of metal is/was … it’s quite thin and has spent some time in Don’s stash waiting for its moment … locking washer sounds cool, so now we have a name for it


  2. Re your draft: A resume of your creativity;

    “I am a maker of cloth assemblages”…Yes but I would say this: ‘I am a maker of cloth assemblages, both practical and magical.” You dear Liz, are a multifaceted maker of cloth, prolifically practical as well as magical. Now I know you would not use the word magic in your description of what you do but why not? It takes skill as well as magical creativity to create meaning from scraps of cloth. So while I know you won’t toot your own horn, I will !

    I want to bask in the warmth of Analogous Red…such an inviting pillow.


  3. Yes to including the photos of all that you have made; an excellent way to showcase your many categories of makings: Simply, abundant.awesome, and filled with alegria,, the Spanish word for joy.


    1. here I confess that I am hoping to offer a contemporary hand stitching class at the public library … an update of what I taught 40 years ago in Colonial Williamsburg … this is indeed my resume (as you so astutely commented earlier) … next up will be a resource blog … and in the spirit of librarians everywhere, it will be free to all


      1. Well this is just some fine news: You are a natural for this and will be a wonderful teacher for many reasons: as you have often said regarding recipes, they are merely a starting point and so I’m sure that while you will present the basics, you will also show and share that it is ok to put your own spin on the stitching, How it is ok to get a bit wonky in style because that makes the work so personal and unique and that to me is such a valuable, freeing instruction. Obviously, you will bring some of your special cloth items to share with your class but tell Don to make sure and rent a large Dolly so that he can bring in your mended chair, one of your most incredible works of cloth stitching.

        Now then, what will you wear to teach these classes? No this isn’t a silly question because I know in Colonial Williamsburg, you dressed for the times. Since this will be a class on contemporary hand stitching, why I can see you wearing a shirt with some of you colorful cloth patches, maybe placed on the sleeves. On the back of your shirt, a stitched sentence in your incomparable, superb lettering style could say,

        ” Welcome to contemporary stitching ,where threads will take us on an unexpected but fun journey!”


  4. Your body of work, so varied – yet, so you! Your spirit and style shine through!

    The bottom cloth assemblage…left side, second cloth up from the bottom…light colored with visible stitching…looks like Matzoh! It must be the season 🙂

    As for the draft…Impressive Liz!
    The first time reading it, I got confused when I got to: Most were designed …
    I wasn’t sure if you still were talking books or? Of course, it is easy to confuse me at this time of night 😉 Perhaps if it said However, most were designed – it would indicate onto a new batch of making! Also, at the listing of types of sewing done…I’m so impressed with anyone who can mend a chair, so I feel it should be in the list and not just in the “etc.” But, that’s just me.

    With all of this I will just add that you are such a creative artist, thinker…who wouldn’t want to take a class from you! I wish you the best with this new endeavor. xo


  5. Liz, you are as gifted with words as you are with a needle. Your draft reflects both, a rich array. I struggle with what to say too. Often ending with a simple, “I stitch.” Again, the pinks and browns together…love. Your second photo looks like woven velvet.


    1. there is a lotta texture in that woven linen, which the pecan dye really brought out … and thank you … now I’ve got to put back all the pictures that got eaten by the blog goblin


  6. I’m always a bit behind getting to everyone’s blogs. I just spent the last hour looking at all the different pieces you’ve done .. OMGOODNESS!! So many I still have more to look at!! Your draft I believe is very well written .. opening the door to who you are along with what you do. I would take any of your classes in a heartbeat 💓


    1. thank you for your kind words … I’m actually hoping that what will evolve is a collaborative group of hand stitchers who support each other’s learning and making


    1. many thanks for your thoughts … and now that I’ve been away from it for two weeks, I’m ready to look at it with a clear(er) head


    1. I’ve long been “afraid” of color … taking Tansy Hargan’s “Finding your Colour Voice” was quite liberating and I now find myself being a bit more adventurous


  7. What a fun new technique you introduced us all to Liz. I’ve never heard of Kawandi Quilting before. So of course I googled it. A great way to use up beloved pieces of fabric. Another project to add to my ever growing list Ha ha BTW, your pillow is gorgeous!


    1. thanks Deb … one of these days I’m going to work my way through the art textbook you used in your Whitney days … I have so much yet to learn


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