Good morning Scrappers! First I have to offer you my apologies for posting late this week. It's monsoon season here in the Sonoran desert which means we have storms nearly every evening and though last night brought no rain to my home, it did result in high winds and consequently no internet at the point in which I would have like to put this blog out. I found myself utterly thwarted and went to bed early instead of staying up to hope for the return of the internet. I beg your forgiveness.
This week we are going to be talking about another quilt artist and a project she is currently working on that is a powerful piece. I hope you will consider taking a day out of some of your personal projects and supporting The Mourning Project.
Infant mortality is a major cause of concern in the United States, which may surprise you considering that we live in an advanced country. However mothers and babies are at risk every day of dying in childbirth and in the first year of life. My quilty friend Mary Vaneecke, here in Tucson, has been using her quilts and fiber arts for years to shine a light on important issues, including the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Recently, Mary began to ask how she could help to call attention to infant mortality in the U.S. and create a dialogue on how we begin to take on this challenge.
Mary started out by saying that she wanted to make a little elegy in the form of a pair of booties for each child lost to infant mortality in a single year. Initially, she felt this would be a project she would take on personally, but when she looked up the number listed on the CDC it became clear that this would need to be a community effort. 23,000 was the number staring her in the face. 23,000 children lost in the very beginning of their lives and she wanted to have a pair of booties for each one of them. She knew it would create a powerful message and help to begin important conversations.
In looking at my pile of black, grey, and white fabrics this summer, I realized that this was the perfect time to make some additional booties for the project and to encourage all of you to do the same. When you visit the page for The Mourning Project you'll find a link to free Patterns for different kinds of booties, included knitted ones for those of you more yarn inclined scrappers. The amount of fabric you need for the different patterns is small and perfect for helping to put a dent in your scraps. Invite some of your sewing friends over and ask for their help for a day. I'm sure you'll make a nice stack to send to Mary and add to the project.
I choose one of the simple patterns available on the site and traced it onto freezer paper to make reusable templates I could make several pairs of booties with. I chose black bottoms for most of the booties, and different patterned blacks, greys, and whites for the tops of the booties.
I realized that I also have a number of white buttons and little silver pulls, so I got those out too for decoration.
I wanted to make each pair just a little special to represent a life.
I stitched the booties on my machine and then took an afternoon to sit down and add a few embellishments to each one.
These are a few of the little elegies I made for The Mourning Project and I have several more cut out and ready to finish up.
No matter what pattern you choose the work is easy and your work will be appreciated.
Mary has been working to create venues for discussion panels and installations of The
Mourning Project around the country. The first one was here in Tucson this spring and you can see the booties here in the courtyard. We have a long way to go to get to 23,000 booties and every little pair you create makes a difference.
Earlier this year I was able to sit down and talk to Mary about her work and what drew her to this most recent cause. If you would like to listen to our conversation, it is here in two parts. I was using a new recording app when I recorded the interview and I am only a little embarrassed to say that I didn't know it would cut the interview off around the 5 minute mark unless I changed setting.
Interview with Mary Vaneecke Part 1
Interview with Mary Vaneecke Part 2
Thank you so much for your continued support of Swan Amity Studios. I hope you are having a great summer and enjoying your quilting as well. I hope you will take a few moments and visit the page for The Mourning Project and make a few booties to help the cause. Share this blog with your friends and send the link to Mary's page to anyone you know who might want to lend a hand to this worthy project.