Quilted parking lots

The DOT Straigtens Things Out

After Erin’s lovely post I was thinking of how unfortunate it is that there are so few artists that so cleverly address urban landscapes and the wildlife (and wild plants) within. My gloominess about this didn’t last long, though, as I chanced upon the brilliant fiber work of Terese Agnew on the PBS’s Craft in America. Her segment (the last on the show, from 39:10 on) features two quilts: “Cedar Waxwings at the AT & T Parking Lot” and “The D.O.T. Straightens Things Out.” Both are wonderful pieces that deal, at least in part, with the precious tension that lies between humans and the wild world around us.

I especially love this quote, for it puts beauty and interest into one of the most common blights of the urban landscape: the parking lot.

Every fall flocks of cedar waxwings would come to the parking lot and eat berries from the trees in the median strip…and sure enough, there were hundreds and hundreds of [them]. And while I was sitting there I realized: a bird’s eye view of a parking lot is so…quiltish.

And so I thought – I’m going to make a quilt about this.

Cedar Waxwings at the AT & T Parking Lot

Doesn’t it make you want to do something wonderful with some scissors and scraps and thread? I’m abuzz with inspiration.

Watch Episode VIII: Threads on PBS. See more from Craft in America

Images thanks to The Milwaukee Public Art Museum & KPBS.

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Art, Craft, and the Coywolf

Lacy

While poking around WordPress for posts having to do with coyotes, I came across this piece on Janice Wright Cheney at::soulexposed::. Cheney has done some awesome work regarding coywolves, those creatures which are the offspring of the ever-wandering coyote and Canada’s eastern wolf. (A very great many of the coyotes of the east coast fit that bill.)  As she explains in this Archive 7 profile, she took wolf taxidermy forms (the mannequins upon which tanned hides are mounted), and covered “the creatures in cloth and dressed them in the furs of other animals, including coyote pelts. It’s as if they’re trying to pass themselves off as something that they’re not. They’re like little old ladies, but they’re dangerous.” I very much enjoy seeing coywolves approached in such a beautiful, thoughtful, and unique way.

Cheney has other pieces focusing on animals, and her profile describes how this work concentrates on and explores “the idea of vermin — creatures that are not wanted. Bear, coyote, rat, insects, they are all intruders on human territory, and Cheney is fascinated by the casual violence we condone in the name of wildlife encroaching on human-claimed territory.” All of these animals – even the bear – are living things that can be happened upon in the urban landscape. May our interactions and dealings with them be as nuanced and imaginative as Cheney’s.

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