The bike riding, no nonsense, ever exploring Annie Modesitt passed away on October 1, 2020.
She leaves behind two adult children she adored and a legacy of knitting encouragement, discovery, books and ModeKnit Yarn. An early active user on Twitter, I got to know her when she was the guest teacher on a Tactile Travel tour of Lazio and Umbria that I organized in 2010.
She enjoyed bike riding in Rome (what bravery!), tasting pastas made with potato, corn and grains other than wheat, and shared a wide range of knitting tips and tricks with our small group.
Here she is with Kath, the intrepid knitter and traveler, making etchings near the entrance to Villa d’Este.
Kath brought charmeuse scarves and fabric pastels and etched herself some lovely memories. Annie was delighted to join in. Note her lovely knitted hat with brim.
Rainy days, sunshine, there was always something that made her laugh or indignant. Straightforward, she was unwilling to let anything hold her back, and her determination was admirable and a reckoning.
Annie was a good friend of the Common Cod Fiber Guild. She joined us at the very first FiberCampBoston – just out of her jammies via Skype. While that seems ever so commonplace now, in 2009, that was cutting edge.
Annie came and spoke to the Guild in 2011. She spent the night at our place, tired after flying from Minneapolis, giving the talk and the next day, she was headed to Rhode Island to teach over the weekend. Her first thought was for her kids, and she could hardly wait to check in.
This afternoon, her children arranged a “Modemorial” for her via Zoom. More than 130 people logged in to share their memories, their condolences and their grief.
May her enthusiasm for life live in her children and us all. Thank you, Annie, for all you gave us.
Hello my right thumb; favorite strong action torque; you deserve a rest.
In August, I noticed that months of painting beadboard walls and ceilings hurt my thumb. In September, I whacked it hard on something while sailing. In October, I spent many hours on a laptop track pad. In November, my thumb demanded a change.
That ever versatile, weight bearing, load carrying, needle pulling, felt massaging thumb got an X-ray. Fortunately, there are no breaks nor lesions. It’s just tendinitis, so a splint, more ibuprofen and 9 days of rest should do the trick. No biggie, right? You’d think so. What did I learn?
I am addicted to stitching.
No knitting, no embroidery, no hand sewing or making dorset buttons for nine days. No computer (oops, I’m breaking the rule here…but I’m not using my right thumb when I type :). Absence makes for restless distraction and lack of focus.
Take a stitch today for me, and thank your hands for all that they do. I’ll sign off for now, but hope to be stitching again soon.
Meanwhile, any coping techniques for the stitch addict?
“To the wrongs that need resistance, To the right that needs assistance, To the future in the distance, Give yourselves.” —Carrie Chapman Catt
Momentum builds with every puff, idea, plan, breath of courage and event. Such whiffs fed my need to celebrate the centennial of the women’s right to vote in the US. I cannot imagine anyone who would have been against the 19th Amendment, but that’s only because I’ve been able to vote my whole life. It took longer than my life span to actually make women’s suffrage a reality.
I heard about plans in Waltham, a subscription yarn offering to celebrate the August 20, 1920 anniversary. I thought about my mother’s participation on the Wisconsin Commission on the Status of Women. With the renovation of the Melrose park that bears her name, the remarkable Mary Livermore came to mind. How can you not honor the contributions of this historic Melrosian as a writer, a pundit, editor and organizer? The long and continuing road for equality of all people needs to be honored and fed in many ways, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate what happened 100 years ago.
The opportunity for a group show at the Loading Dock Gallery gave a big puff to that head spinning, idea feeling momentum, pushing me into the studio.
“Suffragette Celebration” is my first attempt to recognize the many lights that connected so that women across the US could vote in federal elections. One hundred white felt globes stitched together, illuminated and bubbling over the surface illustrate the shapes and spirits and their contributions to the 19th amendment.
For several weeks, my daily practice included creating the small, hollow globes of translucent wool. it’s been the perfect opportunity for me to play with light, think about making three dimensional art and to learn more about the suffragette movement in the United States. In January and February, I made more than 100 felted white balls, teaching a friend and my dad who helped with the process in hopes to finish it for the “Stitched” exhibit. I managed to finish hours before we installed the show.
Massachusetts slowly adapted to the 19th amendment.. Last fall, while on jury duty, I learned that Massachusetts did not allow female jurors until 1957. This fact truly shocked and dismayed me. Who would have guessed?
With the COVID quarantine, I’ve yet to retrieve and properly photograph “Suffragette Celebration.” It’s in good hands, and it will return soon. Meanwhile I have ideas for other ways to commemorate the long road to equality….
Off to my newly painted studio to see how these ideas build momentum.
In 2003, someone asked me if I would be willing to take the notions and fabric from her mother in law’s haberdashery. The shop closed temporarily when she had a health problem, never to open again. They were remodeling and just wanted all of this carefully stored inventory to disappear – and be appreciated.
The only caveat? I must take everything.
Two station wagon trips later, my Via Volta studio was full of notions and fabric. With friends, we dissected this treasure trove, giving away, selling, and enjoying for ourselves everything from embroidery floss to shoulder pads, silk velvet to snaps.
Those were wonderful days! When I left Monza, my fabric and yarn friends made me a wonderful scrapbook of those days. During my March Madness painting spree, I enjoyed paging through this wonderful work of love. But I digress…
I’ve made incredible progress on this gift, but it makes sense to #payitforward again. Here’s a list of the notions and fabric I’d like to give to another creative soul or business.
I’m giving it away, and it’s definitely something that can fit into a small car (it’s about 2 medium moving boxes). I ask that you enjoy, make beautiful things and perhaps consider donating to Follow Your Art Community Studios in Melrose if you are able.
Leave a comment below, or find my on Instagram or Twitter so we can arrange delivery. Everything’s been in boxes for more than a month (kind of like me!), so the quarantine time for textiles has passed.
One of our major flaws as animals, and a big contributor to our unhappiness, is that we are very bad at keeping in mind the real ingredients of fulfilment. We lose sight of the value of almost everything that is readily to hand; we’re deeply ungrateful towards anything that is free or doesn’t cost very much; we trust in the value of objects more than ideas or feelings; we are sluggish in remembering to love and to care; and we are prone to racing through the years forgetting the wonder, fragility and beauty of existence. It’s fortunate, therefore, that we have art.
Alain de Botton from The Guardian
As COVID-19 frames our current experience, anxiety and unhappiness churns and foams. Friends have been furloughed, laid off, job offers rescinded, or contracts cancelled. Others pivot as events, fairs and shows are cancelled and their stores close. Neighbors in essential jobs are working overtime and cope with new realities. As remote workers, daily life in our house moves on, with our grad student is remotely finishing her degree.
Fortunately, we do have art. In the daze of social distancing, art is found out the window; rainy greyscale views, brilliant blue skies or a full moon shimmering out my window. I count my blessings that I am safe, home with family and able to help flatten the curve. I’m thankful for a great internet connection, which allows me to visit with friends and family and attend conferences virtually. Thanks to COVID, there’s more time to explore museums and travel virtually. OK, I’m an optimist.
Thank you to the artists whose legacies sustain us today. Thank you to today’s artists whose creations and connections lead us toward tomorrow.
Mary Oliver’s poetry is one way I slow down to appreciate the beauty of existence.
“Joined by Stitch” unites again for their third spring exhibit – this time at the Loading Dock Gallery in Lowell, MA. Please join us at the artist reception.
March 7, 2020 from 4 to 6 pm
122 Western Avenue, Lowell, MA 01851
My critique group is an eclectic mix of artists. We all work primarily in fiber and we’re all SAQA members who live within 40 minutes of each other. Beyond that, let the creative experience express itself! Each year, the setting and the work feed the exhibit… with a different result each time.
Tarja works in the Western Avenue Studios and proposed a group exhibit to the Gallery. They were very receptive to the idea, especially after last year’s show at the Essex Art Center.
Today, we chose the work for exhibit in the Gallery. Starting with a large, new piece by Agusta Agustsson, the next pieces easily flowed from our stacks to the wall. With tall, white walls, there is plenty of space to stack work, which was appreciated with 8 artists!
Installation was quick, easy and the camaraderie that Joined by Stitch developed over the last 3.5 years was clear. I did manage to complete the Suffragette Celebration piece (ahem, at 4:30am the day of installation). White walls and a grey pedestal are not doing this piece any justice… I can’t wait to get it back and photograph it properly.
In any case, please join us for the reception, and let me know what you think of the exhibit!
P.S. With the Loading Dock closing temporarily to encourage social distancing in this time of pandemic, the exhibit became online. As of March 25, the work was taken down and I’d be happy to share it with you in person in May.