Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wild & Wonderful!

Roadkill Quilt: Baby Blanket
Mink - 54x54" (c)2008
Pam Valfer

I've just seen the most amazing thing - an all-fur quilt! Actually, I've only seen this photo of it, above. But isn't it amazing?!!! The artist is Pam Valfer, of St. Paul, MN. The opening of her one-woman exhibit is Saturday, Nov. 15 from 8-11pm at the Umber Studio at 3109 E 43nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406. The blurb reads:
Umber°Studios is pleased to invite you to

Local Fauna
work by pamela valfer

8 - 11 pm | Saturday, November 15th
(through December 7th)

the roadkill and refuse of our contemporary mechanized society...

In her upcoming exhibition, St. Paul artist
Pamela Valfer challenges the viewer to
re-interpret sublime landscapes and ideals of
beauty and death. Valfer combines lush, vivid
drawings of animals struck by cars with quilts
entirely made out of reclaimed fur. the result
of this visual marriage is a painstaking and
detailed exploration of man's influence on
our modern landscape.

Come see. Be amazed.

My connection is remote... It seems Pam is dating one of my cousin, Connie's son. Both are art teachers and highly creative - it seems to run in our entire family! Another cousin sews and was asked to help make some sewn-by-Pam fur pieces into a hanging "quilt." Last August, Margie wrote me for advice on the first "roadkill quilt" (below), since she's never worried about hanging quilts before. It took her three days to trim the seams, make/add the pillowcase backing, and add the rod-pockets (top and bottom) for hanging. I believe this quilt hangs in the school entryway where Allen and Pam teach - although maybe not permanently. I can't even imagine how heavy that one is. The quilt above weighs about about 25 pounds and was harder to do as it required all HAND sewing to attach the backing (cotton duck) and rod pockets. Here is Marge's description of the task:
Stitching the backing on, pillowcase style went well. Since the piece was so wide, I'd had to make a vertical seam down the middle of the backing so I decided to stitch the "pillowcase" on all four sides, then slit open a section of the seam in the backing and turn it right side out. It was much easier to stitch that shut, by hand, than to have to stitch a side section...sewing through the leather. I then proceeded to hand stitch around all four sides (about an inch from the edge), and an extra row of stitching right below the rod pocket. Next, I tied it in twenty spots, spaced 12" apart. The final lint brushing of the backing included as many of my grey hairs as those of misc. demised wildlife species! I have now entered this in my book of "Things I Don't Want To Do For A Living".
The things we do for love!

Margie calls the top quilt "Our Mother's Tails" since it reminds us of our mother's mink stoles of the 50-60's. Most of the mink stoles were obtained via E-bay, although several, no doubt, came from family & friends. Somewhere in the house I still have one mink of my mother's stole - I think the other one is at my daughter's...she was in her mid-teens at the time of my folks deaths and she planned to be a vet. She ended up deciding not to spend her days neutering animals but rather researching chemistry! I don't know if the mink had any impact on that decision or not - most likely it was her working at the local vet's office that did it...

Roadkill Quilt
recycled fur coats, jackets, hats 5x6'
(c)2008 Pam Valfer

Oh, how I'd love to see this show in person!


LoieJ said...

Oh My, Mother's tails....brings back memories of being in church and seeing, around the neck of the woman in front of me, the tails, beady eyes, and snouts. Puzzling then; puzzling now.

Jeri said...

I must say I was horrified, simply horrified at the idea of collecting roadkill, scraping off the skin and making it into a quilt. I couldn't beleve someone had done this.How I laughed when I read further and found she'd used second hand coats and hats from EBay! Duh on me! LOL! Thanks for the interesting post. Wish I lived close enough to go see it.