In the past few years I have found myself doing a great deal of embroidery on felt with PreK to 2nd grade students. In the process I have generated LOTS of scraps. The felt I use most often is polyester, it's very bright and inexpensive. It helps to stretch project budgets. But I feel horrible about throwing away the scraps. Polyester is not biodegradable.
Somewhere in the beginning of the previous administration, I started making hearts from the scraps. I started them and couldn't stop. First there were baggies of hearts, then a small storage bin packed with hearts. All the while, I kept thinking what on earth am I going to do with these things? They do not exactly fit with my body of work. So I sewed pins to them, gave them to students and teachers. I took a bag to the Women's March. But still there were hearts. So. Many. Hearts. This past year it got worse. I have found it difficult to focus on new work, so I kept making hearts. When I was angry or sad, I made hearts. The past four years provided plenty of impetus. In four years of vile actions, the separation of families at the border was among the worst. I kept thinking about all those children and parents. I tried to take what small actions I could- to contribute my drop to the bucket.
When the courts ordered that the government must reunite families, the news got worse. Approximately 545 children could not be reunited with families because the administration had not bothered to keep adequate records. Last November we found out the number was as high as 666. Child abuse was committed with my tax dollars.
So, I counted the hearts in my box-746. I started sewing them together. A heart for each child. A trail of hearts.
This project began with my Mom saying "I want to show you something." She took me to her room and pulled out a box from under the bed. There was a stack of floral embroideries. She explained that she had done these as a wedding gift for my brother and his wife, intending to make a quilt, but she never got to finishing it. I suggested, instead of letting them languish under the bed, we might work together to complete what she set out to do. The embroideries then languished in my studio. I would see them, and think that I really needed to make time to layout a design with my Mother supervising the vision. Then I would rush off to my next job. Many jobs and several years zipped by. Then came the pandemic. My work came to a full stop. A few months after getting through the initial panic, I was attempting to clean up my studio. There were Mom's embroideries. My sister in law loves Victorian furnishings. After asking permission from my Mother I set about turning her artwork into a Victorian crazy quilt. In order to keep the focus on the embroieries- and actually complete the project- I kept the pieces larger. I also resisted my innate tendency to obsessively embroidery and bead over everything. Twenty some years after Mom began, it is finished!