Where there is smoke…

Every so often, an idea, thought or image will come into my head that no matter how much I shake it, it will not leave.  I believe they call this obsessive behavior.

The idea stewing in there at the moment is what to do with a bunch of old cabinet cards that were fire and smoke damaged.  These cards belong to my mother and are in my possession for permanent safekeeping (permanent meaning until she decides to come and take them).  Their original safekeeper was my mother’s beloved aunt Josephine.  We have heard so much about Aunt Josephine over the years, her name conjures up a presence even though I never met her.  Sadly, she died before my birth.  She and her husband and young baby son were all killed in a fire when their oil furnace exploded back sometime around 1950.  The only survivor was her then 3 year old daughter now a full grown adult cousin.

The cabinet cards survived, too.  With so much smoke damage it looks like you could puzzle them back together in their original placement that terrible night.  Some cards are beyond recognition with blackened parts or faded areas.  Flakes of paper are falling off, corners have disintegrated (I choose that over the image of rodents gnawing on them) and this particular one has been lovingly decorated with an orange crayon.


My idea is to use these as inspiration for art quilts.  Here is my first.

The background was done to simulate the cabinet card itself with a thread painting  attached as the photograph was.  I was trying to capture the geometric shape created by the smoke damage and, also,  the orange crayon.

I did another one after this but am not satisfied with it.  There is, perhaps, more to do on this one.   I feel the idea merits further exploration and hope some other obsessive thought doesn’t replace it before I have the opportunity to.

 

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5 Responses to “Where there is smoke…”

  1. kareneowen Says:

    Beautiful and so poignant especially knowing the story behind it.

  2. Joanne Thieme Huffman Says:

    I love how you kept in the nuances of the smoke damage and orange crayon, but have turned the photo into it’s own whole piece.

  3. steve Says:

    Wow…what a powerful story; very well shared. Love that you are doing something with the photo-giving it a new life almost.

  4. admitting defeat « Lauren Finley's Blog Says:

    […] with some form of stitching.)  I pulled out those cabinet cards that had gone thru the fire (see here for explanation ) for inspiration.  I found this gentleman, he looks so handsome and […]

  5. Hen-Herted « Lauren Finley's Blog Says:

    […] done any art quilting in a long time and I actually started this piece at the same time as this one (which will explain why “thru the fire” if you missed it), but then let it sit because […]

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