Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Melva Hightower

We forgot to submit our surveys before leaving the show yesterday. It was wonderful! I left feeling so inspired and in awe of the level of detail incorporated into each piece. It never ceases to amaze me that a few bits of fabric & some thread can produce such beauty. Thanks for the show.

Thus began Melva’s unofficial involvement with ArtQuilts at the Sedgwick.

She exited the 2002 exhibit buoyed by a secret knowledge and determination that she would someday soon work with the organization that produced the show. A short 16 months later, her official involvement began. She processed the applications for the 2004 exhibit then volunteered to help with lawn sign distribution, corralling gallery sitters, and serving as the voice of the audio tour as well as a variety of other tasks.

Just prior to the opening of the 2004 exhibit, Melva was offered the opportunity to join the Committee. She accepted without reservation. Since that time, Melva’s activities have shifted. She is now responsible for maintaining the online presence for AQatS and overseeing the Committee shared task of promotion and marketing in addition to a host of other activities.

Artist’s Statement

Texture. I love texture. Working with fiber reinforces my fondness for tactile expression.

When I was little girl, my mother taught me to how sew and how to crochet. It was this early indoctrination that reinforced an innate affinity towards fabric and fiber of all kinds. I remain fascinated by the seemingly endless variety.

My most recent work incorporates my interest in the recycling and reuse of waste materials—particularly paper. It is my goal to reduce the detritus in my life by creating works that utilize materials found in my everyday.

Quilt Description

RECLAMATION 1: Grandmothers’ Legacy
24” W x 40” H
Recycled Paper (several types), jute and thread

Papier-Mâché is made of common materials—paper and glue. Paper mash/paper pulp is made by tearing newsprint and other papers into small pieces and soaking in hot water. The mash is then beat with a blender or hand mixer and plenty of water. Once the water has been removed, white glue (polyvinyl acetate) is added as the binder. Bleach or natural elements such as oil of wintergreen or oil of cloves are added to keep the mash from souring.

The disks were made from 5 different batches of paper mash. Each disk was formed in a mold and allowed to dry then sealed with at least 5 coats of matte and/or gloss medium. The disks are backed with 5 layers of gessoed newsprint covered with stitched, tea-dyed paper. Jute is used as the connectors.

RECLAMATION 1: Grandmothers’ Legacy pays homage to my paternal and maternal grandmothers. Each woman had extraordinary sewing skills and each set a fine example of recycling and reusing available resources.

RECLAMATION 1: Grandmothers’ Legacy (detail)


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