Friday, July 13, 2012

Call for Entry

City Gallery at Waterfront Park,
Charleston, South Carolina
Call for Entry
“Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore”
Cookie Washington - Curator

This call for entry is seeking art quilts and art dolls inspired by the folklore and visual history of the black mermaid archetype. Some of the first tales of mermaids and merwomen were brought to America by Africans enslaved along the coast of South Carolina. Black mermaids traveled with enslaved Africans from Yoruba to distant lands, comforting them in the holds of the slave ships that took them far away from their homeland in Africa. Known by other names, her traditions continue in the countries to which her people were dispersed. Because of the rich oral traditions of these peoples, few if any of these stories were written down until they were recorded by collectors of folk tales toward the end of the 19th century.

You are invited to share your visual interpretation of these myths by creating a Black Mermaid/Merwoman in an art doll or art quilt. Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore with be on view at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Historic Charleston, SC from August 28 through October 28, 2012.

I can think of no better venue for an exhibition of Black Mermaid art quilts and art dolls than the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in the historic city of Charleston, SC.
For more information, contact, and entry form:
Cookie Washington, Curator
Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore
720 Shelley Rd.
, Suite "B"
Charleston, SC 29407
Phone: 843.259.8108

Many people carry the mermaid energy inside them, that otherworldly beauty, a longing and desire that makes them reach for heaven though they may feel they live in the darkness of the sea.”

The city of Charleston is exhibiting this show for two months and it will be one of the featured visual arts exhibits for the MOJA  African American Arts Festival now in it's 30th year.
An 8" X 8" full color, 120-page catalogue/book will accompany the exhibit. Twenty-five pieces will be featured with a full-page photo and paired with an original poem written for his special project. Remaining entries will be featured with just a photo. One free copy of the book will be given to each participating artist. Books will also be available for purchase at the reception.

Please create a piece for this show, and share the call to entry for this show with other members of your circles whose work you admire? Remember the Call for Entry will be July, 23rd.

Completed work will need to be in by August 15th for inclusion in the book of quilts and poetry, that will be published as part of the show.  The exhibit will be at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in the historic city of Charleston, SC from Aug. 28th thru Oct 28th, 2012. 
The beautiful City Gallery at Waterfront Park is in the oldest historic district of the city of Charleston. It is a huge 2 story glass art gallery which is why I can accept 100? or more pieces for the show depending on the size of the art quilts and up to 10 art dolls.
If you choose to become a participating artist  in Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore and choose to travel to Charleston, SC for the exhibition, the weekend of September 7th and 8th would be the weekend to come to this show if you are an out of towner.
September 7th, Friday is Yemaya's Feast Day. I will be hosting an invite only party to celebrate/honor her and we may "take it to the water..". Please let me know if you would like to attend this event.
The talented, mystical Arianne King Comer, has agreed to teach a Batik class for visiting artists and guild members. Arianne grows Indigo seeds in God's earth, harvests it and turns it into indigo dye, then she creates batik art. She is willing to teach a class Friday afternoon and a full day class Saturday morning and afternoon. If interested in the class please send notice ASAP.
Saturday, Sept 8th  from 6 to 8 pm is the Artists Reception at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park.
There will be live music,  refreshments and over 400 guests will be invited.
The Cultural Affairs Dept in the city of Charleston, SC, said if we had an early enough head count they may be able to secure discounts on hotel rooms. If any of your guilds or families are coming please let me know.
Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
“Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore”
• Open to African American artists in the United States,
Mexico and Canada, age 16 and up.
• Entries must be an original quilt, quilt hanging, or
afro-centric doll created in the last three years. Work
must not have been previously exhibited nationally in the last 5 years.
• Quilts or dolls made from a kit, commercial pattern,
or in a workshop with the aid of an instructor are
• Quilts must be multi-layered and finished with
stitching. Integration of non-fabric embellishments,
such as beads and stones, is acceptable and
Entries must be in keeping with the theme
“Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore.” Please review text

at the end of application for suggestions.
• Applicant must submit  Jpegs of art, bio, fee and application for jury process by
July 23, 2012.
Your $25 entry fee allows an artist to submit up to two
Entry fee is paid by USPS Money order, or check,
no credit cards can be accepted at this time.
We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Make checks or Money Orders payable to:

Torreah Washington,
720 Shelley Rd.
Suite “B”
Charleston, SC 29407

Monday, July 9, 2012

Making Quilts into Stories

I’m excited to announce the publication of the first volume of my book If Quilts Could Talk. It has been a long time in the making and is finally a reality. I give much credit to Kyra Hicks for incentive and information in her book, How To Self-Publish Your Own Quilt Catalog and her blog
This delightful paperback contains five (5) short stories about my childhood in the rural southern United States and a quilt that accompanies and accents the story. You will find all the stories to be very personal and that is the way I planned it. It is my way of celebrating our strong family and community as well as honoring the ancestors who exist for our success.
In this book only the first quilt-A Day Late and A Dollar Short came before the story. The story is about the quilt, my father, and my regret. The fabrics I used came from the hospital supply company where he worked. The second story is a tribute to all the good times my sister and I had together. It is secretly a story about how poor kids made fun with no toys. The quilt is patterned after one I saw elders making called a postage stamp quilt. They would use the postage stamp as a pattern. It would take them a very long time to create something absolutely gorgeous. I spent a considerable amount of time making the pattern run across the quilt.
The third story is about the railroad tracks. It may be difficult for people in other parts of the United States and maybe the world to know the real meaning that the railroad held for African Americans in the south.  President Jimmy Carter tells a story of the African American people in his hometown being allowed to stand and listen to the radio outside a window in their home to hear the Joe Lewis fight. He says that when the fight ended the people thanked his father and walked slowly away. When they crossed the railroad, you could hear shouting and celebrating clear to the next county.
They did not make a sound until they crossed the dividing line. My parents used to go to the railroad and pick up the coal that fell off the train cars. Countless fathers left home to find work on the railroad. It was a distinctive line of work and source of survival on many levels. The quilt is an Irish chain design using the same size squares as the postage stamp quilt. I added two pictorial squares about the story.
The fourth story is about my aunt; Ms. Marie Ponder. It is because of her that I have this belief that aunts and uncles are very important to the growth and development of young children. Every family member had a clear purpose in the extended family model.  I wanted to honor that role in that story. The quilt is an applique that I made to honor her. She taught me to sew which eventually led to quilting. I pictured her in the type of hat that African American women wore to funerals. I also covered the quilt with charms celebrating her many skills.
The last quilt in this series is my favorite. I remember so well the excitement and pride that went with having a new dress for Easter. And I also remember how great it was to have a built -in best friend in my sister. This story covers several points in a very subtle way (and some not so subtly).  I spent a lot of time designing the dresses on the little girls on this quilt because of my vivid memory of our dresses.
"… As we sat there fidgeting, I felt the tingle of the burn on my ear. My mind flashed back to the day before when I was on the floor at Ms. Henrietta’s house. Ms. Henrietta said, “Sit back in the chair. I won’t burn you again.” The smell of rose oil pomade drifted past my nose. She always used rose oil pomade when she straightened our hair. I wished I could believe that she wouldn’t burn me again. But I knew I was going to flinch every time I felt the heat of that straightening comb close to my neck and she was going to catch my ear again with that hot comb. It never failed…"  Excerpt from “If Quilts Could Talk.”  This book is available in paperback and e-book. I guarantee one of these stories will take you back and make you smile.
I want to encourage all quilters to take the plunge and publish yourself! It's your ride take the wheel.