Cotton Pickin’

I am setting up some space to work on a commission for a couple in Devon, England.  It will be a four panel art quilt reflecting the land and sea scapes surrounding their home on the coast.  Its going to be quite large – 4′ x 8′.  I went out yesterday and bought a huge piece of insulation styrofoam for my design wall.  I’ll cover it with batting or fleece and I’ll be able to stick pins into it. 

I already have all of my fabric, a combination of some that I had brought with me which I took to Mary Jo’s where I selected the remainder of my palette.  The next step is to make a full-sized cartoon to work from.  I had done this in the UK, before I left on this trip, but now that I have extended my visit and will be working on the piece here in Mooresville, I’ll need to make another pattern. 

A few days ago, I had met Barbara Barrier, the President of the Lake Norman Quilters who works at the City School offices and she very kindly allowed me to borrow their OHP.  Her office is located in a former Post Office and the foyer has a fantastic mural (oil on canvas) called “The North Carolina Cotton Industry” painted by Alicia Weincek in 1938.

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President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated a series of programs between 1933 and 1938 with the goal of providing relief, recovery, and reform to the people and economy of the United States during the Great Depression.  Post office murals were executed by artists working for the Section of Fine Arts.  The Section’s main function was to select art of high quality to decorate public buildings if the funding was available. By providing decoration in public buildings, the art was made accessible to all people.  The New Deal arts programs emphasized regionalism, socialist realism, class conflict, proletarian interpretations, and audience participation. The unstoppable collective powers of common man, contrasted to the failure of individualism, was a favorite theme.

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The old walk-in safe is in the administrative area and has the Great Seal of the United States of America painted on it.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet and the technical skills of my friend Mike Rouillard who works in the Archaeology Drawing Office at the University of Exeter, I was able to email him the two halves of the mural and he stitched them together.  I also got some tips on how to photograph a large piece of art: in overlapping sections at right angles to the piece.

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