Archive for the ‘Holocaust’ Category

Who Knew “Women’s Work” Would Be So Controversial?

There is a law office in town where we have displayed our fiber work in the past. We were asked to add 3-4 larger pieces for one of the walls to go through mid-October. The three pieces we decided on are to the left. Given that we have a solo show and two other venues for our work over the next 6 weeks, we were careful as to what we chose.

We have two wall hangings that use traditional quilt blocks, but are made with marbled fabrics and heavily free motion quilted. The third piece is our “Women’s Work,” done as a call to the Threads of Resistance. It wasn’t accepted for the national show, so we started thinking about where we could display the work (Vermont Quilt Show next June…).

Keep in mind there have never been any restrictions on what goes in the law office, but I’m sure they were expecting Vermont bridges, barns and landscapes. That’s been their usual fare, but our fiber has been very well received there. We framed a small artists’ statement about the design of the quilt and all the meaning. You can read about that here.

I know the quilt could be potentially controversial, but it certainly isn’t “in your face” like so many of the quilts accepted in the Threads of Resistance show…and what better place than in a law office? First Amendment, women attorneys who no doubt had some struggle because of their gender in law school…seemed like a good fit.

Not the case…our wonderful organizer met us Friday to hang all the works, and then Monday morning called to say the work was taken down on Friday because the law office “felt it could offend some of their clients.” Okay…. So Wednesday we went to retrieve our work, having decided to take all the work down and leave them with a blank wall. When we got there, the two quilt pieces were evenly spaced along the wall and looked really nice. The secretary/legal assistant greeted me and said she would get my quilt. In the meantime hubby took down the other two pieces. She was disappointed that we were taking those – “they’re so pretty.” At which point I said, “I’ll leave those two pieces if you let me put a statement up in the blank spot that says the office was worried about offending clients.”

“Oh, no,” she replied. “That’s not it at all. This office is apolitical.”

To which I replied (one of the few times I was really on my game with a comeback…) “We can’t afford to be apolitical in this climate. Are you familiar with the famous poem about the Holocaust?” I quoted several lines and then ended with the last line “…and then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.” I added, “I thought you would be more supportive of the First Amendment.”

So now I have officially welcomed the cachet of banned artist. I know this is but a ripple, but ripples lead to waves, and waves lead to tsunamis. Here’s the Holocaust poem in its entirety.

This should be a warning to us all…who will speak for us when we are the only ones left?

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Some heroes you might not know about……..in honor of this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day – click on the articles to read the whole piece.

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Remembrance – Every Year

Every year this time I am reminded during Holocaust Remembrance of the loss of millions of lives throughout history because of people’s hate. I’ve got previous posts you can check out about some lesser known facts and people about this time period, specifically the Holocaust of World War II. The mantra is “Never Forget,” but we are, slowly, as survivors pass on and others come into power with hate in their hearts.

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Other blog posts:

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Thursday Thoughts

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Got caught up on some blogs I do not read regularly, mining them for bits of wisdom. Here’s what I’ve found this week:

From the Blurberati blog, designing e-book covers. Very interesting article about e-books and regular books and their covers. There’s a lot to think about here in terms of presentation and encouragement to buy.

Interesting look at the death of Thomas Kinkade from Fine Art Views blog:

“The death of artist Thomas Kinkade has triggered a ‘barrage of arrows’ from specific circles of the mainstream art world. Notable art critics, ranging from Jerry Saltz  to Paddy Johnson, have taken it upon themselves to offer one last ‘jab’ while, as the saying goes, the corpse is still warm. Their critical hostility, if you will, has revealed a number of contradictions when compared to the usual rhetoric spewed in support of artwork favored by their circles — those ‘power structures’ they adamantly support. In that sense, the passing of Kinkade has offered insight into the mentality of the mainstream art world in general.”

With Dick Clark now gone, it seems a part of my childhood is gone forever. Every afternoon I watched American Bandstand faithfully, read the teen magazines, and wondered at this whole new world out there. These teens were so different from my life, and I so just wanted to dance all the time. Mamacita (Jane Goodwin) has a nice tribute to the man, the icon, and the institution.

In the spirit of trying to change our world and wondering if we ever make a difference comes this amazing story of the savior of 30,000 lives during the Holocaust. Read through and see what we have in descendants of the people saved by Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

And another article for Holocaust Remembrance Day, the life of a 92-year-old who survived the camps and is still a witness. From  the Huff Blog, lest we forget…..

From Generation Q comes “Now Touring: How to Spend Your Summer Vacation.” Loads of quilt museums!!! I’ve been to three of them over the years.

I love flash mobs, and there are some really cool videos on line, but this one is so different……

From Letters of Note comes this letter about the burning of a Maurice Sendak children’s book. “It is Only Adults Who Ever Feel Threatened.”

from Lyric Kinard comes copyright-free images to use in your work. A very handy site….

Here’s a cool tutorial on making bookmarks from See How We Sew, something I intend to do…..after a few other projects…..

Have a great week – let me know what you find on your web surfing excursions!

Thursday Thoughts

   I think I need a day each week where I just ramble….’course, I do that a lot anyway, but sometimes I just want to process in writing what’s swimming around upstairs (was that a mixed metaphor?). I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks wondering about the state of the country, especially since a good friend is leaving the US for a three-year teaching contract in Vienna, as she is pretty dissatisfied with the direction we seem to be moving. So it was interesting to see this post by Bill Moyers, whom I really respect. It’s all about a change in FCC regulations that would allow public television and radio stations to take advertising money for political groups, in the name of free speech. I love this quote:

“Imagine if you turned on your TV set someday soon and were greeted by Sesame Street, brought to you by the letter C, for “creeping campaign cash corruption.” Perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch, but as the late William F. Buckley, Jr., used to say, the point survives the exaggeration.”

I’ve also become aware over the last few months that for a political science major, I tend to not examine information on line perhaps as closely as I should. Just because something has a liberal label, or is posted by a liberal group, doesn’t mean it’s absolutely and completely true. I need to apply that same rigor as I would to examining a conservative posting. I also am trying to be very conscious when I make a comment to be sure that it is absolutely civil in its questioning.

Perhaps what’s going on in my head – and heart – is the desire to become the change I want to see. Since we know that every individual can make an impact, no matter how small, I need to continue to try and make an impact, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem to me. I have a lifetime of years of seeing the impact I have made in teaching, student by student, so there is no reason to believe that influence stops, just because I have retired.

Along with this has come an increasing awareness and fear of the growing evil that I see in the world. Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day, and I have a few columns on next Tuesday’s Top Ten dealing with the Holocaust. I remember when I first heard about the Holocaust, at a young age of ten, from a neighbor. I asked my nana about it, and her curt reply was “we don’t talk about that.” As my mother worked on the maternal family tree, and I learned more about the emigration of my father’s family from Lithuania and Germany, and the Jewish surnames, I began to wonder, but no one ever answered any questions, and I really was too afraid to ask out loud. Now I just don’t know, and will never know. Here’s a Bill Moyer’s “Moment” with Elie Wiesel about whether humanity is good or evil.

One of the most influential pieces of fiction I read at 12 was Exodus, by Leon Uris. I loved that book, and I still reread it at least once a year. My copy is battered, and the cover page says 50 cents, so you know just how old it is. That started my real interest in the Holocaust, and I still read whatever I can get my hands on. One day in the pool at one of the complexes where we lived, I met Gina, a lovely older woman with thinning red hair and a thick accent. We started talking about living in the complex, and I noticed numbers on her arm. She was a survivor. I didn’t know what to say, I was so in awe of her. She wanted to know what I did, and then she mentioned that she and her husband used to go into classrooms every year and work with the teachers on teaching about the Holocaust. She had two grown daughters and several grandsons, but she was losing her spark of life, as her husband had died within the last year. I wanted to talk to her, to say how much I admired her, but I was afraid of prying. She died several years later, just as we were moving from that complex, from complications of pneumonia; she just hadn’t wanted to go to the doctor, and then it was just too late. Gina reveled in life, from Friday night at temple to her grandsons, to the every-day act of waking up warm and well-fed.

I guess I do need to ramble each week. I hope I continue to revel in life, thankful for all I have, and all I can still do in my life.

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