Thursday, 3 September 2009

"Long Distance Memory" - a paper quilt

Last night we had a "sit and sew" aka "sit and chat, eat biscuits, drink tea and not sew a lot" evening at my group. The idea was to each make a paper quilt about 8" square for an exhibition we are having in 2010.
I have recently enjoyed collaging in my journal, having at last realised that it doesn't necessarily mean sticking bits of scrunched up tissue paper on to sugar paper like it was when I was 6.
Anyway I decided to use stamps and airmail envelopes as my theme. With this in mind yesterday morning I opened my trunk to look for some old letters. Boy did that revive some long lost memories!

There were letters from all over the world to me in London and at University and letters that I had sent from all over the world on my far flung travels as a musician and general vagrant.
There were love letters like I couldn't believe from men I mearly dangled so of course the morning flew by in a trice reliving those memories of old flames! I also included some lovely notes which were well worn from pockets twenty five years ago or more. There are roubles and a note from Uzbekistan.
There is part of a letter written on flimsy airmail paper and it made me realise how the advent of email has destroyed the art of the letter virtually. Also how technology means that we rarely have those beautiful stamps and postmarks - a franking machine doesn't have the same feel does it?
Pieces of my memories from a quarter of a century ago are now together in a very personal little quilt.


  1. Just discovered your blog, and it is so full of lovely things! The lino cuts, your handquilting, the young ducks... Have to come back regularly.

  2. THAT is so COOL! Neat one...but then I LOVE your work.

  3. This is so lovely..........wonderful memories in a fabulous looking piece.
    I agree about the role technology plays.......for everything we gain there is almost always something given up don't you think?

  4. This is splendid... - makes me regret that I don´t have old letters - but I have a small collection of scraps found on the street with strangers´ handwriting on them (hard to find nowadays, people seem not even to write shopping lists any more...)

  5. Oh Clare, these paper quilts are absolutely wonderful!

    On my blog I responded to your latest comment saying you could get someone to show you how to knit and crochet - please forget about that and just keep on doing these lovely paper quilts :-)! They are one-of-a-kind!

    Do you paste the motifs on a background paper (or cloth?) before sewing it on? I would so very much like to try that out sometime, too!

    And there you have another reason for keeping up those handwritten letters, with nice colourful stamps on the envelope ...

  6. So glad I stumbled upon your blog! Read some of your lovely posts. Loved your jam receipe!

    I am a folk art textiles collector and a jewelry designer.I work mainly with gemstones and also in the macrame technique so I'm interested in all things fiber and textiles...

    all the best on your wonderful blog!


  7. I like this! I've saved all my cards and letters through my life. I have old family letters too. A lot of family history is vanishing with email. Another example of our world going to fast? Maybe we need to return to slow mail just as much as slow food and slow cloth?

  8. The when you were six comment really made me laugh! I agree about the letter thing, I have bundles of correspondence from my pen pal from aged nine to about twent, then with the advent of email it all stopped. I'm not organised enough to print them out but even if I did you'd miss all the nuances like handwriting changing and maturing, mis spelled words and little pictures. Our kids will never know the delight of a much longed for letter arriving from abroad and I think that's a terrible shame....

  9. What a lovely idea, will you frame it? So much more visable and able to be enjoyed than sitting in a trunk forgotten about.
    I am still a letter writer and fan of the Royal Mail even though I also love emails.

  10. Loving these paper quilts. Know what you mean about franking machines - I try to buy stamps when there are new ones out - there is a new range at the moment with post boxes on.

  11. This is lovely, such an interesting idea. You can also transfer the images onto fabric and print onto fabric using special ink jet fabrics. That might be nice also?

  12. Olá! Conheci seu cantinho e é tudo de bom! Lindo e criativo!
    Amei mesmo!!!
    Parabéns pelo seu trabalho!
    Se puder, dê uma espiadinha no meu:
    Beijinhos carinhosos.
    Itabira - Brasil

  13. Hi Clare, thanks for visiting my blog and the wonderful comments. To answer your question about my journal is all fabric, no paper,one leaf and a couple of do dads.

  14. I love how you have done the paper quilting. Makes me want to keep EVERYTHING! You never know when it could become art!

  15. This is amazing Clare, and a lovely way to recall all your memories. My paper quilts wouldn't be nearly as interesting - no love letters from old flames (I've been married to my last one for nearly 55 years!) and would have to make do with shopping lists and Tesco or Sainsbury till receipts! I am very pleased to have rediscovered your blog. Some months ago my daughter rejigged my blog for me and I lost my sidebar list of favourites, sadly you went with them, but all's well that ends well and I've found you again.

  16. Your paper quilt is so amazing! I love how it preserves a specific time and, you're right, the paper ephemera that's associated with it that we don't produce as much any more. Sad, that part, but the whole piece is lovely.

    And your entire blog is so inspiriing.

    Thanks for visiting my blog! For the text of the words in the Word Search collages (I so wanted to sew on them as well, but that will be for the future!), I "cheated" and typed up the words in Adobe Photoshop Elements, printed them out on acid-free card stock, and then cut and pasted the letters. I wanted the look of old fashioned letterpress typography, and that was tough to find at the right size in the books I had on hand. So I used different fonts at different sizes. I would love to hunt out a full collection of letterpress blocks--I guess that's my next obsession!


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