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Inspired by "symbolic" artwork, like the first Queen Elizabeth's Rainbow Portrait, where there is much hidden meaning, like eyes and ears on her dress to let her subjects know she is always listening and watching them...

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I was inspired to give a try at a more Symbolic collage  and picked something near and dear to my heart as a fitting subject, Motherhood.

I first captured the view I have peered out to for now over twenty years, often with a baby in my arms, free motion stitching on my Mother in Laws old Singer...which I discovered makes better trees and faster then doing them by hand.


The curtain? One of my great grandmother's hand crochet doilies, willingly sacrificed since it had a little stain on it and was picked from a drawer full of her handiwork I am blessed to have. Her name was Katherine and I have her piano. We called her Grandmommy to distinguish her from her daughter, my Grandmother. She lived into her 90's in Lexington Kentucky, my Grandmother just over the border in Oak Ridge Tennessee and only on her death bed did my Grandmother let my father know that Grandmommy was not his biological grandmother, she was the neighbor girl who came over to take care of the children when his real grandmother died and then was married into the family.


I used a old small, faded picture of me, at twenty six years old and my first baby as my reference, How her big blue eyes would stop so many ladies in the market and on the street. Oh the feel of a little one snuggled into you....


Much of the stitching was done in my parlor, near one great grandmother's piano and under another great grandmother quilt, this time on my mother's side of the family. What a blessing to have so many things and so many stories from my parents and grandparents of those before me.


One thing my mother and my grandmothers would be aghast at is a dog on the bed...or on the couch.... or in the house as often as they are. But that is where I add to the story of the women in my family,  for my daughters and hopefully granddaughters to carry on...And the bed? The old paint showing tin bed? That is yet from another grandmother's cabin. I remember taking naps on it, when I was very small, in the bedroom behind the stone fireplace my grandfather built and it has come with me since I became a married women.  


Although a black dog, the dog on the bed is not the dog in my collage. Piper is a German Shepherd/ Lab mix and still  in her youth. Max, my beloved Newfoundland/ Lab, was by my side through most of the years of raising our babies...

Little girls, fishing and a little black blob of a puppy...

Little girls, fishing and a little black blob of a puppy...

Big girls, tech time and a much loved old dog...

Big girls, tech time and a much loved old dog...

and can be found in much of my art...


as can the theme of Motherhood...


Not from my family were the buttons that I decided should be the frame instead of the vintage traditional wooden frame I sized the work to.  The buttons, I found through a few button broker on Etsy. One button broker found her supply at an estate sale in a full  large plastic garbage can, from an elderly lady who had been snipping off her and her husbands clothes for 50 years.

I ordered 900+ buttons if i remember right and they were stitched over a weekend when my husband was away, taking care of his dad. I shut the gate at the end of the driveway, due to not wanting to deal with the possibility of our cows or horses getting out or others getting in since it was the height of cattle drive season, with the men away and didn't not open it for two and a half days, happily just me and the dogs in the house, stitching on buttons, moving from couch to bed and back again, watching old movies.

At first, my plan was to quickly, blindly grab buttons and start at one end and stitch around the square. But then I realized it would be necessary to  pick by size, color and texture and balance such buttons like a Jackson Polluck splatter painting... 

from  JACKSON POLLOCK  website

from JACKSON POLLOCK website

and there was only one way to go, slow and purposeful. Contrary to popular belief, Pollock's, like other Modern, non representational artwork still is restricted and governed by the rules of composition, but that is for another blog post.  

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I titled my symbolic collage of motherhood BEGIN AGAIN because I feel my heritage and my future in the progression of granddaughter, daughter, mother, grandmother and hopefully great grandmother very strongly and am lucky and honored to know my heritage as much as I do and to  have raised my daughters the way I was able to mostly because of the support and hard work of their father and my partner for life. 


And now, over twenty years from when that little snapshot of me at twenty six and my first born as a new born was taken,  I captured her again at around eighteen, under the double arches above Moab, Utah, several years ago...

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and now it is her younger sister's turn, this time with the backdrop of wild flowers and the mountains of the Rockies. 


hopefully both  heirloom pieces for them to take into their own homes and continue the stories of their heritage. 

Julia KellyComment