Recently, when I print on paper I have been throwing some cloth onto the stack, just in case a textile piece occurs to me. I looked at the little stack of printed cloth; seven octopuses in a bright blue, the first layer of my print on paper, Indivisible, before I carved it away and printed gradually darker blues. I decided I needed fifty: one for each state. The deColourant came off the shelf, and after I drew and cut an octopus stencil, the black and the metallic silver came down as well. I dove into the bag of leftover triangle scraps and sewed the blue, black and red triangles into squares. I had some leftover hand-dyed silk organza in a dark blue to shroud a few of the prints. Off and running.
It pieced together quickly; I quilted a spiral, but I wanted to push it farther: divide it, cut it apart and sew it back together. An experiment. The linocut of the compass rose would be the center. Ultimately, there was much to mend. But that's conceptually okay.
Indivisible (Liberty and Justice for All) is another take on the American flag, a counterpart to the 2019 Rhymes with Fray.
Over the years I've considered the American flag in different ways. A collaboration, with Val Simonetti and Beth Herrick, which was a gift for Betsy Davids yielded the 1999 book Betsy's Almanac, which included four running texts on one side, photo-collages and poem by Val on the other, a note about the Statue of Liberty, mini biography of Betsy Ross who was said to have sewed the first flag, and brief history. "There is no law designating the permanent arrangement of the stars."
Fifty octopuses, arms moving in different directions, a brain in each. And what about that greater good?