It was fate--the day I learned about crankies. Ever since seeing a Red Grooms exhibit at the Brooks Museum in Memphis I have been haunted by the idea of a moving quilt. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about go to this website for a fun trip through crankie land. So here's the tale of the tape for my crankie, I watch too much tv news.
I watch too much tv news
It started with a box of white cloth scraps. I assembled them roughly into a 16 foot scroll.
I added focus points to the scroll by sandwiching colored scraps between the outer layer and the cotton batting. I admit that it was quite random at this stage. I really didn’t know what my story was going to be.
Next step was to stabilize the layers. I stitched along each seam in white or black thread. If the seam was horizontal I added a black thread line that highlighted it to add a sense of action to the piece. There were a lot of seams.
At this stage I decided that the piece was going to be about my anxieties regarding our government and how the media hypes up my anxiety. This initial stitching was about the pussy hat march.
Sometimes the drawings seemed too literal so I tore them out. Goodbye pussy hats. Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong supporter of the womens march. The drawings just seemed too specific.
Eventually the scroll filled up with monsters, money, vultures, disasters, boulders and tv heads. It took about 3 weeks of stitching to get to this point. Catharctic.
I’m not comfortable if I don’t have a project going so when we were preparing for a road trip that would last a few weeks I rolled up the scroll and put it into a bag and carried it with me. Each night I would add more hand stitching.
Details added depth.
With the scroll finished I enlisted my son to do a video of it. We taped it to the hallway wall, mounted a camera to a skateboard and recorded a non-stop video. It gave me an idea of what the scroll would look like in motion.
We even tried it outside with his drone. That’s me ducking as the drone came over the scroll. Crazy.
I started thinking about the housing of the scroll and decided that, of course, it should look like a tv.
My friend, Yvonne Bobo, came up with this brilliant way to configure the scroll in a housing that could be mechanized.
Here is our test quilt in the contraption she created.
My brother, Charles Havelka, refined the set up and built a beautiful cabinet for the piece. He is a master woodworker.
I couldn’t be more proud of the final product. And, I couldn’t have done it without their help. There were times of despair and times of hope and challenge. It’s a folly, I know. But it was worth the journey.
Here's a video of the scroll in its entirety. Enjoy!