It’s the question we all ask ourselves and hope we never have to face in reality: If a fire broke out in your home, what would you take? If I had a few extra minutes after I knew my husband and pets had safely vacated the house, I’d take the stairs by twos up to my bedroom closet and grab the 1860s buttermilk white quilt that one of my great-great-great-grandmothers hand quilted. Then I’d dash to my studio, pull open the French doors, and throw the quilt and several other things over the balcony for my husband to catch: the unicorn needlepoint my mother gave me when I graduated college, an art quilt my husband and I received as a house-warming gift, a collage called “La Luna Es Mia” by Sylvia Luna, art dolls, altered books from round robins, pieces of mail art I’ve pinned to my bulletin board, and collages I’ve collected over the years. These are priceless gifts that no insurance appraiser in the world could ever assign a dollar amount to, and just as dear to me as my photo albums and boxes of letters I’ve got stashed in the ancient oak cabinet in my family room.
These items are not precious to me just because of their beauty but because someone took the time to make them and then pass them on to me. The clock didn’t suddenly stop when they were crafting these gifts; their lives were busy and things were happening to them–bad and good. Recently artist Lesley Riley, our arts editor, gave me one of her “Window to the Soul” pieces (see page 34 for her article). It was a model she had made while teaching a class, but to me it’s so much more than a simple demonstration piece. Inside the little dollhouse window she included the word “bliss” with a vintage photograph of her when she was six. With her bangs in curlers and sporting a Mona Lisa smile, she looks as though she just got caught red-handed playing outside in the dirt when she should have been in her bedroom strapping on her Mary Janes. While Lesley was making this “Windows to the Soul” piece her oldest daughter was getting ready to leave home for college for the first time. Dreading the upcoming departure, Lesley had been feeling very down but she used this piece as a way to pull herself through, and was thoughtful enough to pass this piece along to me.
While some of you are professional artists, many of you might make art to work through a crossroads in your lives, to share humor, or to celebrate friendship. Even the simplest efforts taken to personalize something as mundane as an envelope (see Pushing the Envelope, page 64) impart our caring, and handcrafted collages and artwork given as gifts can feel as tangible and heartfelt as an embrace.
I am thrilled to welcome you to Cloth Paper Scissors. All of us at Quilting Arts, LLC, are very excited to be sharing this new publication with you. In these pages, we’ll celebrate the time we take to play and discover new ideas about art and ourselves. Whether we’re seasoned artists or new to all of this, we’ll cheer each other on as we use our paintbrushes, rubber stamps, fabrics, and collage materials to craft visual journals, altered books, art dolls, assemblages, mail art, and other mixed-media pieces that are insightful, funny, beautiful, poignant, and personal. And above all, we’ll applaud each other for sharing our priceless, one-of-a-kind creations and for the steps we take, small or large, to unearth our artistic visions.
Patricia Chatham Bolton
Editor and Chief