Fabric/Mixed Media

Recently while going through things I found an old box of laminating sheets. They are slightly yellowed and close to 20 years old. When I got them years ago I obsessively laminated a lot of items for a little while and then moved on to something else.

A little over a year ago, I used some of it to laminate a cancelled stamp from 1904 and a note that was written at that time. The letter was mailed from St. Louis around the time of the World’s Fair to my grandmother before she was married. I have a small stack of letters to her and she seems to have been rather popular with the young gentleman, something I’d never heard about. She passed when I was six years old and I remember her as very reserved.

I sewed the laminated items onto a small quilted wall-hanging I made by hand. I enjoy doing that even though it’s very time-consuming and I am not at all a good quilter. I doubt if I’ll ever be and it isn’t really a goal of mine. Since it’s art, I don’t believe the hangings need to be sturdy–I just like the way they look.

The wall-hanging is pictured above. There’s a tiny mesh bag that jewelry or something came in and inside of it is a small plastic bag that has a curl of human hair. A young man had sent Grandma a lock of his blonde hair in 1904. The note paper had absorbed any oil and the writing was slightly smudged. The hair was understandably a little brittle. I typed up a little hello note back to the boy in a time-travel kind of way and attached it to the vintage looking fabric.

The letters are all written in pencil and the various handwritings are difficult to read. Grammar and punctuation are poor and the content is a mix of casual, mundane and formal. There are letters about social events, picnics and dances that people traveled to on horseback. Most other old letters I’ve seen in books and museums are from educated and sophisticated people and I was a little startled at the simplicity of these.

I haven’t read all of them–I have to be in a certain mood to read them, I guess because it’s family and they are gone now.

This afternoon I printed a copy of a painting I’d done and also a copy of a photo I’d taken on acid free paper, laminated them and got out my fabric stash. I’ve moved past the part where my lack of manual dexterity and quilting skills makes this a waste of time. I want to do it. I like making things out of found objects.

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