Special Events, WCQN

Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium – Book is Released!

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest online bookstore (Barnes & Noble, Powells, Amazon, etc.) and buy the recently released book for the WCQN exhibit Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience by Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi.

2019-04-30_17-09-24_226.jpegMy piece “The Lesson & The Equation” is on pages 18 and 19; in addition to many mind blowing and powerful pieces.

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This book and nationally touring exhibit celebrates the 70th anniversary of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Can you tell my excitement? You know of course this advertisement is tongue-in-cheek but if you are interested you can find this book on several online bookstores.

If you are new to this blog, the story behind this exhibit, my piece, and samples of other amazing pieces in this national traveling show can be found on these posts:

Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part I

Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part II

Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part III

Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part IV

Currently the exhibit is at Texas Folklife in Austin, Texas (see post The Lesson & The Equation at Texas Folklife):

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Photo courtesy of Jas Mardis
Special Events, WCQN

The Lesson & The Equation at Texas Folklife

The traveling WCQN exhibit “Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience” is currently showing at Texas Folklife in Austin, Texas (see post Visioning Human Rights Show Opens in Austin, Texas on 02/21/2019).

This is a quick post to share a photo of my piece, The Lesson & The Equation” hung at the show, courtesy of one of the other artists in the show, the very talented Jas Mardis:

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My piece in the large one hanging on the left side of the image above.

The brilliant pieces to the right of it are by the very talented Carolyn Crump (who even has a quilt hanging in the Smithsonian Museum!). How lucky I am to have a piece in this traveling exhibit with some really amazing artists.

If you are new to my blog, here are the previous posts related to this traveling show which celebrates the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi is the show’s curator.

Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part I

Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part II

Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part III

Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part IV

Alas, I could not attend the show opening in Austin, Texas but I so appreciate the photos I seen so far on my fellow artist facebook pages!

Special Events, WCQN, What's on the Design Wall

Secret Quilt Revealed, Part II: Yours for Race and Country

This post is a follow up to my 12/9/18 post: Secret Quilt Revealed, Part I.

In this post I announced the exhibit for which I was working on a secret quilt (the curator ask us not to post photos of our quilts until the show was announced) from April to August 2018.

“Working” is a term I am using loosely as I was procrastinating on completing the quilt during that time. I was given over one+ year (maybe 1.5 years) to complete the quilt from the invitation to be part of the Women of Color Quilting Network show, but alas, I was burning the midnight oil to get it done in time for the October deadline!

The show is called “Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young”. It opens on March 16, 2019 and the exhibit will run from  through August 17, 2019 at the National Afro-American Museum in historic Wilberforce, Ohio.

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Image courtesy of Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi

Please check out the “Part I” post of this series for more details on Colonel Charles Young.

So now it’s time to reveal the quilt I made for the show.

Honoring His Service at Sequoia National Park

As I discussed in the previous post, the show’s curator provided us with options of what part of Colonel Young’s life could inspire out quilt. I selected his time as Superintendent of Sequoia National Park.

I read a book about his life and accomplishments (Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment: The Military Career of Charles Young by Brian G. Shellum) and studied images I found online of Sequoia National Park to inspire my piece.

After sketching out numerous ideas (in my journal, see post Creative Inspiration: Peek Inside My Journals) I knew that I wanted to make Colonel Young part of the beauty of Sequoia National Park since his role, as the first African American Superintendent of a National Park, was to preserve its beauty.

Also I decided I wanted to use only recycled materials to create the piece which would also honor his conservation efforts. I decided to only use cotton Batik fabric scraps.

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Here is the forest as it developed on the large design wall in my hallway (I added this post of my series What’s on the Design Wall, as it was secretly on my design wall!):

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I wanted to incorporate Colonel Young and his accomplishments into the trees. So first I worked on a tree with his image as part of the bark:

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I also wanted to honor the National Park Service, so I created a fabric version of a U.S. Parks Service sign and edited the image to be the name of the quilt – Giant Among the Sequoia.

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I had so much fun making this “monument marker”!

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And here is the full quilt which measures 40″ x 40″:

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Here is the Artist Statement:

Giant Among the Sequoias (2018)

Tierney Davis Hogan

40” x 40”

Recycled cotton batik fabric scraps, batik cotton fabric, recycled cotton and polyester batting, ink

Inspired by Brian G. Shellum’s biography, Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment: The Military Career of Charles Young (Bison Books, 2010), this piece honors the legacy of Colonel Charles Young, the first African-American Superintendent of a national park.

Floating among the trees in a mythical scene inspired by an image of a section of Sequoia National Park and by Brain G. Shellum’s book, are phrases describing the work that this groundbreaking leader accomplished during his time as Superintendent of General Grant (now Kings Canyon) and Sequoia National Parks:

Overseeing Operations, Park Superintendent, Clearing Trails, Providing Leadership, Stopping Livestock Grazers, Park Patrolling, Protecting Against Poachers, Road Building, Respected by the Community; and Inspiring Youth

In the center of the piece, a giant Sequoia tree with Colonel Charles Young’s image surveys and protects the park. Adding a bit of whimsy to the piece, an image of a real U.S. Forest Service sign in Sequoia National Forest was creatively edited.

This piece also honors the precious natural environment of our national parks and is made primarily from recycled materials (batik fabric scraps) that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.

I’ve add this piece to my Nature Stories Series of my Art Quilt Stories.


Postscript

By the way, if you’ve been following my blog for a while and remember this post – Creative Inspiration: Tree Bark – now you know why I was studying tree bark this past summer!

Special Events, WCQN

Visioning Human Rights Show Opens in Austin, Texas on 02/21/2019

For those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while you know that my piece, The Lesson and The Equation is part of the traveling show Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience. 

You can read about my piece and the show in the following posts – Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part I , Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part II, Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part III , Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part IV , and International Exposure for The Lesson and The Equation.

This show, curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and features a collection of art quilts based on the 30 Articles of this declaration.

The show continues to travel and is opening on Thursday February 21, 2019 at Texas Folklife in Austin, Texas. 

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Image credit: Texas Folklife

You can more about this show at this link: Gallery Exhibit: Quilting The World’s Conscience.

I am sharing this in case any of my blogging buddies in Texas might be interested in attending.

 

WCQN

Secret Quilt Revealed, Part I

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you might remember that Spring to Summer 2018 I was working on a secret quilt for an unannounced exhibit.

Well the curator, Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, has recently announced the show and now I can share my secret quilt with you; and I will share the story behind it in a series of posts.


Yours for Race and Country

The Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) exhibit, curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, is called Yours For Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young. The exhibit will run from March 16, 2019 through August 17, 2019 at the National Afro-American Museum in historic Wilberforce, Ohio.

Colonel Charles Young was the first African-American to reach the rank of Colonel is the United States Army (the first African American officer to command a Regular Army regiment, and the highest-ranking black officer in the Regular Army until his death). He was also the first African-American Superintendent of a U.S. National Park – Sequoia National Park.

Here is a wonderful overview of some of his accomplishment I found on The Trust for Public Land website (tpl.org):

charles young.jpgTo read more about Colonel Charles Young and his historic accomplishments, check out the Arlington National Cemetery website – Charles Young, Colonel, United States Army.


The Art Quilt Assignment

I was extremely honored and excited to be invited to participate in this art quilt exhibit.

For the exhibit, Dr. Mazloomi gave us options to select from of pivotal moments and accomplishments in Colonel Young’s life as inspiration for a 40″ x 40″ quilt.

I selected his time as Superintendent of Sequoia National Park.

Then it was history time! I wanted to learn more about Colonel Young’s life than was available online, so I ordered this book and read it – Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment: The Military Career of Charles Young by Brian G. Shellum:

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image credit: amazon.com

After reading the book and studying images I found online of Sequoia National Park, I was ready to get to work on my quilt.

In the next post in the series, I will share the evolution of the quilt and my challenges to create something I felt honored the legacy of Colonel Young (oh the pressure!).


Postscript

Here are more details on the exhibit, as posted on facebook by the show’s curator, Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi:

My latest curated exhibition opens March 16, 2019 at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in historic Wilberforce, Ohio. The exhibition, Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young, is a visual history of the life of Charles Young. Young’s life is triumph over tragedy. Charles Young was born in 1864 to former slaves, but went on to attend and graduate West Point. He mastered several languages, played and composed music for piano, violin and guitar, wrote poetry, was a master cartographer, military strategist, the first African American Colonel in the U.S. Army and first superintendent of Sequoia National Park. Young’s home in Wilberforce was designated by President Barack Obama as a National Monument of the United States Parks Service. The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument is a testament to Young’s perseverance.

The international exhibition visually explores, using the medium of quilts, the life of Col. Charles Young from his birth, life at West Point, military career, experiences in Foreign Service and his time as a Superintendent for the National Park Service.The opening reception is March 16th from 11:00am to 2:00pm. Copies of the catalogue will be made available to the public at that time.

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National Park Service website, courtesy of Library of Congress

In case you are wondering, I would like to attend the opening of the exhibit, I am just looking into if I can make it work with traveling in Winter and my job commitments. There is also going to be a private tour for the artists in the show of Colonel Young’s home in Wilberforce, OH. That would be a wonderful added bonus to getting to attend.

I will know more in 2019.


Feature photo credit – Change.org

Stories My Father Told Me, WCQN

International Exposure for The Lesson and The Equation

While attending a quilt retreat this weekend, I got the most fabulous news from Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, the curator of Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience – My piece, The Lesson and The Equation is featured on the website of the Brussels, Belgium based organization Human Rights 70.

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Image credit: humanright70.eu

(If you are just joining us on my blog, you can read background on my piece and the exhibit in these series of posts: WCQN )

This organization’s mission, according to their website:

is to contribute to promote the knowledge and application from individual up to supranational level, of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and in doing so contribute to the better living of all beings in the world

This Brussels based organization also has offices in Madrid, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Bogota, and Mexico DF.

Here is a screen shot of the overview of the exhibit on the Human Rights 70 website:

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To say I am excited and overwhelmed is an understatement (smile)!

Perhaps The Lesson and The Equation, inspired by Article 1 of United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, will get to tour internationally someday…

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The Lesson and The Equation at the show opening at Fitton Center for Creative Arts 08/17/18

For a high resolution image of the piece and to read the Artist Statement, see my page Art Quilt Stories.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. – Article 1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Feature Photo by Calvin Hanson on Unsplash

Special Events, WCQN

Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part IV

This is the final post in the series of four posts on the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) and Friends Show Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience, curated By Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, and inspired by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As I mentioned in the first post, Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part I show opening at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton, OH, was only the “soft opening”, featuring half of the quilts. At a future date the full show will debut and in Spring 2019 the book will be published featuring all the quilts in the exhibit as well as the story behind the exhibit.

This post features one more installment of a sample selection of powerful quilts from the show. (If you are just joining us you can click on this link – WCQN – to view the three previous posts – Part I, Part II, and Part III.)


Carolyn Crump – Waiting to Have My Say

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Gloria Kellon – Freedom of Expression over the Water

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Gwendolyn Brooks – On This Special Day

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Julius Bremer – Let’s Gather Peacefully

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Deanna Tyson – Black Lives Matter

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Ifa Felix – The Green Book

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James Mardis – Cruelty Comes for Us All

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The photo does not capture how amazing and powerful this quilt is! The artist is one of the long-time male quilters in the WCQN. I had a chance to chat with him during the show and listen to him talk about this multi-textured piece made from a multitude of materials besides cotton fabric.

I wish I had taken some close up photos of the piece. I think I was so overwhelmed by the whole show and trying to meet and chat with the amazing artists that I got distracted from my photography!  When Dr. Mazloomi’s book on the show comes out in Spring 2019 it will have professionally photographed detailed images of these quilts.


L’Merchie Frazier – Going Beyond the Self: Lale and the Omo Children

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Helen Murrell – Capital Punishment

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Lauren Austin – Parole Denied

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Ed Johnetta Miller – So What Skeltons Are in Your Closet?

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Sandra Noble – Detainment

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It was an honor to be part of this show and an honor to be able to share some of the amazing quilts from this show with you all.

I have to say of course, the most exciting moment of attending the show was walking into the exhibit area and seeing my quilt on the wall:

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The second most exciting moment, was seeing an image of my quilt projected up on the screen in the auditorium before the panel discussion began:

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Before the panel discussion, Dr. Mazloomi gave a powerful talk on the power of art. Here is a quote from her talk (which I have on video but could not figure out how to upload onto YouTube to share, perhaps at a later time):

For me as an artist I strongly believe that art has the capacity to touch the spirit, engage people, educate and heal in ways that words cannot.

Dr. Mazloomi stated that the show was inspired by the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and that she is long-time admirer of Eleanor Roosevelt who was instrumental in getting this declaration done.


Postscript

I had a bit of adventure getting to Hamilton, OH for the show. Central Oregon is a long way from Hamilton, OH! 

Since I was going to be in the Eastern part of the country (well Ohio could be considered Midwest) I thought I should also visit with my family and I met up with my family in Washington, DC for a couple of days before flying onto Cincinnati, OH.

While in DC I went with my brother, sister, sister-in-law and 5 and 14 year old nephews to the National Geographic Museum and saw two amazing exhibits on the Tomb of Christ and the Titanic. 

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I may share additional photos from those exhibits in a future post.

From Cincinnati I rented a car and drove 45 minutes or so to Hamilton (which is not within a reasonable distance to a major airport).

While in Hamilton I stayed in sweet Victorian Airbnb rental (only $56 for the night) 6 blocks from the Fitton Center where the opening show was held. Here are some photos of where I stayed which was built in the late 1800s and had cool architecture and period related decor (and handmade antique quilts on the bed!):

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I will not share my airline travel saga but it did involve spending two nights sleeping in an airport (on the way there and on the way back) because of severe thunderstorms that grounded planes. But I did make the most of my time stuck in airports and will have a future posts on the cool exhibits and sights at the various airports along my journey!

Special Events, WCQN

Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part III

Yesterday’s post with quilts from the Women of Color Quilting Network and Friends Show Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience (Curated By Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi) were just to whet your appetite.

This post features more powerful quilts from the show. If you are just joining us you can click on this link – WCQN – to view the two previous posts (Part I and Part II).

As I mentioned in the previous post, some of these quilts made me want to just step away from my sewing machine and find a new hobby.

I’ve seen many beautiful art quilts over the years – at shows and online – but I’ve never seen in person such a collection of powerful inspirational quilt all in one venue.


Sandra Scott – Bloodties

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The photos do not do this quilt justice. This is definitely one of the quilts in the show that made me want to just give away my sew machine because now I see how art quilts “are done”. It is an absolute masterpiece and reading the Artist Statement and viewing this quilt in person can bring you to tears.


Speaking of quilts that can bring you to tears, this one had me quietly sobbing…

Dorothy Burge – Stop Killing Us

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And now the piece that attempted to completely blow out my tear ducts – a piece inspired by news story of a young Syrian refugee child discovered washed up on the shore.

April Shipp – The Waters Returned Him: In Honor of Aylan Kurdi, Age 3

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This quilt was a 3D quilt with a large set of hands coming forward holding a handmade doll representing the drowned Syrian refugee child. If seeing this quilt in person did not stir someone, then they were emotionally dead inside.

I got to chat with the amazing artist who passionately shared the story behind her inspiration. While listening to her I was desperately trying to keep it together (the tear ducts were starting to crumple) as she shared her beautiful compassion and intense feelings of heartbreak over hearing the news story (okay so I am getting weepy just trying to write this…).

Yes I kept having that “imposter syndrome” feeling being at this show with these significant pieces of work and these amazing artists (some of who are professional artists).

Here are a couple more quilts in the show to close out this post with a little less intense topics.


Carolyn Crump – Deeds, Not Words

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Sharon Ray – Hamtramck, My Home

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I hope you found these pieces as stirring and amazing as I did. In the next post I will share the rest of the sampling of pieces from the show.

Special Events, WCQN

Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part II

If you are an artist/crafter have you ever attended an exhibit that made you want to just put away your art/craft supplies and find a new hobby?

This is what happened to me (no worries, it was only for a moment), when I saw the art quilts in the opening night of Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton, Ohio on Friday August 17, 2018.

This post is a continuation of the post Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part I  and rather than ramble on about how many of these inspirational, provocative, powerful, creative, masterpieces made me want to shut down my sewing machine and walk away, I will just share a sample of images of the amazing quilts in the show.

I’ve included the Artist Statements that explain these amazing art quilts inspired by United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Note I am going to share images of quilts from the show over several posts.


Earamicha Brown – A Woman’s Worth

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Behrooz Assani – The Dawn of Human Rights

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This quilt was not by a “Woman of Color” but by a Persian man, originally from Iran who wanted to show that although this part of the world has a reputation for the violation of human rights, Persia was in ancient times a forerunner on the concept of human rights.


Barbara McCraw – Every Man, Woman, and Child

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Cynthia Lockhart – Created to Be Me

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Beverly Smith – Plant a Seed

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Glenda Richardson – Article 25

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I will leave you with these 6 quilts to think about and next post I will continue with more quilts from the show.

Special Events, Stories My Father Told Me, WCQN

Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part I

Over a week ago I attended the opening of the show Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton, Ohio.

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This show is curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, founder of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN). It is inspired by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

According to the United Nations’ website (un.org):

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.

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Dr. Mazloomi invited members of WCQN and friends to design a quilt inspired by one of the 30 Articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while know, I designed a 50″ x 50″ quilt inspired by Article 1 and Stories My Father Told Me (this is a new category on my blog which contains all related posts about the first quilt in a series of quilts I plan to make inspired by stories/lessons my father told me as a child), titled The Lesson and The Equation. 

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The Lesson and the Equation (2016) by Tierney Davis Hogan. Photo by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi.

The Lesson and The Equation debuted at this show along with many mind-blowing and inspirational quilts.

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Friday August 17, 2018 was the “soft opening” of the show and contained about 25 – 30 quilts, half the entire show. The entire show will be opening in the future at a larger venue and there will be a book that accompanies the show.

Here are some examples of books from other WCQN shows that can be found on amazon.com (just search “Carolyn Mazloomi”):

In addition the soft opening of the show, Friday 17, 2018 was also the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Fitton Center for Creative Arts.

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Around the exhibited quilts, there were placards with the Preamble and the corresponding Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, below are a couple examples:

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I was very overwhelmed to be part of the this amazing show and here I am absolutely amazed that I got to be an “Exhibiting Artist”:
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I was also overwhelmed and very honored that two of my long-time blogging buddies Sandy and Cindy of graybarndesigns.com came from Ohio and Western NY to meet me and see the show!

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Tierney and the GrayBarns Sisters!

Next post I will share images from the amazing and inspirational pieces in the show!

“Our hopes for a more just, safe, and peaceful world can only be achieved when there is universal respect for the inherent dignity and equal rights of all members of the human family.” – UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

 

 

Stories My Father Told Me, Studio, WCQN

The Lesson and The Equation

I’ve been waiting to share this with you for quite a while. First, I needed to wait until the show’s curator gave me permission to share, and then I needed to be ready to share.

I am ready to share!

This post is an overdue follow up to my post Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me, originally posted in April 2016. You are welcome to read the original post but here is a synopsis of some of this post and a little bit of additional information:

While browsing the magazine section at our local Barnes & Noble bookstore in March 2016, I came across this magazine that I’ve never seen before: American Craft Magazine:

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Image credit: craftcouncil.org

In the April 2016 issue of American Craft they had an article about an exhibit, And Still We Rise by the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN).  I never heard of WCQN and immediately knew I wanted to join! 

I reached out to Dr.Carolyn Mazloomi, founder of WCQN, shared my blog links with images of my work and asked if I could join and she said yes.

I then spent a lot of time looking through the WCQN website and was inspired to create a series based on the incredible stories my father, Raoul Davis, Sr., told me while growing up – Stories My Father Told Me. 

I shared this with Dr. Mazloomi and she invited me to participate in the next WCQN show. (I was terrified and wanted to say “No” but I made myself say “Yes”)

The Lesson & The Equation

The WCQN show that I was incredibly lucky enough to be invited to participate, was based on the United Nations (U.N.) Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Participants had to select one of the thirty (30) Articles in this declaration and make a quilt inspired by the Article.

I selected Article 1 as it aligned with the lessons and values my father taught us as children:

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

I’ve shared partial images from the quilt I created, which is the first quilt in my series Stories My Father Told Me. Here is a full image of the quilt, courtesy of Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, and below the image is my Artist Statement.

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Image courtesy of Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi

ARTIST STATEMENT

The Lesson & The Equation (2016) 50 x 50 inches
Applique, cotton, batiks, quilted

“Article I: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” – U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article I of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights resonates the values that my father instilled in my siblings and me, as young children. My father grew up in the segregated South in the 1940s and embraced at an early age that change comes from respectful dialogue, not violence.

He taught us that regardless of what adversity we faced in life, we must face it with grace; and treat others with respect, dignity, and brotherhood. The foundation for a life lived embracing the values illustrated in Article I, begins at home, modeled and mentored by the adults in a child’s life. (THE LESSON)

In this quilt, a father (modeled after my own father in the 1970s) is teaching his children, on the main blackboard, THE EQUATION to achieving a world in which people are Free and Equal: Reason + Conscience = Spirit of Brotherhood

The two individual blackboards, “Dignity” and “Respect”, are the building blocks of the Free & Equal equation. I am from a family of educators, beginning with my great-grandfather. The blackboards in the quilt honor that legacy.

My father also taught us another key lesson, which is best expressed in the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet”.

WCQN Show

This quilt will debut in the WCQN show, Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience, on August 17, 2018 at the FiltonCenter for Creative Arts in Hamilton, OH.

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Image credit: ohio.org

Yes I will be attending the opening in August and there are no words I could type that would convey my excitement to be participating in this important exhibit. I am feeling very blessed to have been given this opportunity.

There will also be a book that accompanies the exhibit and Dr. Mazloomi’s books are incredible. Search “Carolyn Mazloomi” on Amazon to see a sample of books related to past exhibits. I own several of these books and to call them “inspirational” would be an understatement.

Below is an example of one of the books from a WCQN exhibit (which is currently touring):

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Image credit: schifferbooks.com

And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations is on exhibit at the Freedom Center until September 1, 2018 – here is thelink if you would like to check out more information on this exhibit.

I had the opportunity to finally meet Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi in person this past September when I attended Quilters Take Manhattan (see post The “Dance Partner” – Michael Cummings at QTM 2017). I tried not to behave like too much of a “fan girl” but I was completely in awe of this amazing and accomplished woman.

What is Next?

I mentioned in my post Art& Fear, etc., I was struggling with two looming art quilt deadlines.

One of those quilts is for my local SAQA group annual show which I have started (will share in upcoming post); and the other one is a new art quilt for the next WCQN show I have been invited to participate in. I cannot share the details at the time, I need to wait until the curator is ready to officially announce the show – but it is another really exciting opportunity!

With the first quilt done in the Stories My Father Told Me series, I have mapped out the next 6 – 8 quilts in the series based on stories from my father’s life and lessons he taught me.

I just need to start making them (and if I win the lottery I plan to work full-time on completing this series)…


Postscript

I think my whole experience demonstrates that you have to take risks in life and when an opportunity comes to your door – take it!

“Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” — Jimmy Carter

Imagine if I never contacted Dr. Mazloomi? (Of course imagine if I never randomly opened that magazine at my local Barnes & Noble…thank you Universe!)

Creative Inspiration, Stories My Father Told Me, WCQN

Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me

This post continues my series on my sources of Creative Inspiration.


Friday Night at Barnes & Noble Bookstore: A Discovery

Life is filled with serendipitous events. Several Fridays ago such an event occurred.

A wild Friday night in Central Oregon involves hanging out at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore. I love browsing in bookstores. I love bookstores, period. They are nearly as magical as libraries (except the discoveries at bookstores are not free to take home!)

While browsing the magazine section of Barnes & Noble, I came across a magazine I had not seen before – American Craft Magazine (and I thought I knew all the magazines in the “crafting” magazine section). This magazine is published by the American Craft Council.

Flipping through this magazine I found an article on an exhibit by the WCQN (Women of Color Quilting Network). I did not know, as a woman of color, that there was a Women of Color Quilting Network! I made a mental note of the acronym and immediately upon returning home I googled the WCQN.

The WCQN , according to their website “is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 by Carolyn L. Mazloomi, a nationally-acclaimed quilt artist and lecturer, to foster and preserve the art of quilt making among women of color.”

Wow. What a discovery for me!

I contacted the Director of WCQN, Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, to find out how I could join.


WCQN Inspiration

After several wonderful exchanges with Dr. Mazloomi, I am now a member of the WCQN. I had the opportunity to view her website, www.carolynlmazloomi.com and view her amazing art. I also spent a considerable amount of time looking at the the WCQN website, www.wcqn.org, and viewing their past exhibitions (www.wcqn.org/exhibit.html).

I was overwhelmed with inspiration to explore an additional direction in my art quilting – telling stories with my art quilt.

The WCQN art quilts poignantly share stories from a people of color’s perspective and shared experience.

Wanting to explore this theme in the future, I am inspired to create a future series of art quilts called Stories My Father Told Me.


Stories My Father Told Me

My father, Raoul A. Davis, Sr. was an amazing man. He passed in 2008, and left behind a legacy of stories and inspiration.

Born of the 4th of July, he was the son of two teachers and grew up the segregated South (Charleston, West Virginia) in the 1930s. He faced many hardships and challenges but always forged ahead to achieve his goals and dreams. He was the first black to attend Kiski School in Pennsylvania, received a bachelor’s degree from Central State University, and obtained his master’s degree from Columbia University. He also served his country in the US Army.

He served as a leader in the nonprofit sector for over 40 years. His service included working with gangs and underprivileged youth as a Social Worker in NYC; founding the Urban League of Long Island, NY; and creating the first Empire State Black Arts and Cultural Festival (today known as the African American Family Day Art Festival).

He retired as the Deputy Commissioner for the Office of General Services for the State of NY. In his retirement he volunteered and consulted for local nonprofits and community agencies.

His resume was impressive, but what I remember most about him is his stories.

Starting from my earliest memories as a child, I remember him telling me stories of his challenges growing up in the segregated South, stories of his athletic pursuits (he was an accomplished multi-sport athlete), stories about the intense hazing he received as the first black to attend Kiski Prep School, stories of overcoming shocking physical and psychological abuse in the US Army in the 1950 by his drill sergeant, and many other inspirational stories from his life.

A couple of years before he passed he decided to write his autobiography and I offered to help him by transcribing his handwritten notes and pulling them into a rough draft. It was so wonderful to read the stories I knew well from hearing in my youth; and I was honored to help him with this project.

Unfortunately my father passed before finishing his autobiography. I did take what I had and make it into a book for my sister and brother (two incredible individuals who continue my father’s legacy and inspire me daily); and for his grandchildren (one of which he did not get to meet before he passed).

I am still left with all his stories in my head and in my heart, and I think I want to share them in another medium beyond the verbal and written word: in my art quilts.


His Stories into My Quilts

I am in the early stages of thinking of how I want to translate some of my favorite stories into a textile story – will I do something abstract, or will I do a pictorial quilt (time to brush up my appliqué skills!).

An ongoing theme in all his stories is: Here is a challenge, it may seem impossible, but you can overcome it!

One of my favorite stories that my father told me, is a story from his growing up in the segregated South and a bus ride experience that embodied his outlook on dealing with racial prejudices:

As a teenage in the 1940s, I was riding on the bus and a white guy was forced to sit next to me because no other seats were available. He turned to me and growled – “I hate you, you  #%%$%%!”  

I calmly replied to him “Well, you would like me if you got to know me”.

We ended up having a great conversation and when we got to his bus stop, he exclaimed as he exited the bus: “Raoul, you are alright”.

My father likely did not change this man’s racist outlook on people of color, but he may have left an imprint in this man’s mind and heart to evaluate people based on their character not their color.

My father, who was also active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s and fortunate to have met Martin Luther King, Jr., believed in focusing on getting to know each other as individuals and not judging an entire group or population.

He believed change came through dialogue not violence. He taught his three children to be brave, no matter what adversity life threw at them; and to as Mahatma Gandhi said “…be the change you wish to see in the world”.

He also taught us to be proud of who we are as individuals, as a people and of our heritage, and not to listen to those who tell you otherwise.

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” – Gandhi

I would be honored to share his stories through my quilts.