Monday, October 15, 2012

Public Servant

Public Servant.  Stitched words:  I ran for office and won!  Mayor 2008 - 10.  Hand embroidery and beading.  25" x 19" unframed; 31" x 25" framed.  Click on image to enlarge.

I didn't really start quilting until after I picked up Jeanne Williamson's book The Uncommon Quilter while at the MacNamara artist residency program in Maine during the fall of 2008.  There was a mention of making a grave rubbing on fabric.  I started my Grave Rubbing Art Quilt Series as a result of this suggestion. 

Yet, this isn't quite the complete truth.

I was already quilting.  I just didn't realize it until I came to Maine.  My Decision Portraits ARE quilts.... three layers...held together with stitch.  Thankfully, the definition of “art quilt” was explained to me!
Little by little, I started learning about art quilts, art quilt organizations like SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Association), and about “MECCA”, otherwise known as the International Quilt Festival in Houston.... and elsewhere.  Along the way, I saw the name: 
Karey Bresenham, founder and president of Quilts,Inc. ... the organization that puts on these wildly exciting festivals.

So.... imagine.... me opening my email's "in box" and seeing a message from Karey Bresenham about my Decision Portrait Series...volunteering for a decision!   

Nervously, I typed a reply.  Together we worked toward this portrait.... with help from Teresa, her personal assistant.  Running for office and serving the public is a BIG decision full of serious responsibilities. I wanted a non-career politician, someone who was passionate enough to serve selflessly.  This portrait couldn't be more PERFECT.  The best way to articulate this decision is by sharing Karey's email:

I am an example of a public servant. After organizing my very small city (1200 homes) to fight the secret purchase of one of our beautiful homes to be converted to a hugely expensive City Hall (next door to me!), I agreed to run for Mayor in the next election and serve one term. I won this unpaid position with a big margin and spent the next two years dealing with garbage and recycling issues, preventing our homes from flooding, managing our recovery from a massive hurricane that destroyed half our city's trees, developing a master plan to prioritize new drainage projects, starting mobility projects to improve our streets and roads, keeping property taxes stable without increases, re-establishing the concept of open and transparent government, simplifying permitting procedures for new construction or remodeling, hiring a new city administrator, mediating staff disagreements, developing good relations with mayors of neighboring cities to encourage regional cooperation, and so much more. At the same time, I also continued to work as the full-time CEO at my own company, Quilts, Inc., which runs big quilt shows all over the U.S. Would I do it again? Probably not, now that I know first-hand how much time is involved in being a public servant. Do I regret it? Not for a split second!

Stitching this piece was easy.  What better colors than RED, WHITE, and BLUE.  I added sequins and beads for sparkle.  I hope Karey likes it!  I'm still in awe...this iconic woman in the quilt world trusted me, only two years into quilting, to stitch her portrait, her important decision!

(She liked it!  This entire blog was majorly renovated in order to accompany my solo show at the 2012 International Quilt Festival in Houston.  The exhibit, sponsored by Quilt's Inc., features forty curated pieces, of course including this one!  It is truly my honor.)

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