Friday, 1 April 2011

Scribbling Women: True Tales from Astonishing Lives by Marthe Jocelyn

Welcome to the final day and the final stop of the Scribbling Women blog tour.  What an exciting week it's been.  It was a tight schedual to visit all the participants as well as finish reading the book and get my post ready.  I hope that you will enjoy my thoughts and response to this book, and that you will then leave a comment, which will serve as your entry into the grand contest to win a collection of Marthe Jocelyn's books.  Be sure to visit the tour headquarters for all the details as well as a list of the other participating sites.

When I was in grade school I read every single biography about a female that was to be found in my school library; then I stopped.  I didn't read another until a few years ago when I got my hands on a copy  of  Flint & Feather: The life and Time of E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake.  I marvelled at all she had accomplished, but also at the lengths she had to go to get the same recognition as the men in the literary field.

In her latest book, Marthe Jocelyn has introduced me to eleven women who have also faced challenges in their lives.  I was not aware of any of these remarkable women prior to reading this collection.   Fortunate for us, these women all kept some sort of journal, wrote letters home, or wrote with the intention of publishing.  Some of these works are still in print, including The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon, written over one thousand years ago. 

At the end of the book, Marthe shared a list of "Things I want to know more about".  I have made a small list that I'm sure will grow much longer as I sit and ponder.

Things I want to know more about:
  • Madame Marie Curie
  • Peru
  • Nepal
  • training to run a marathon
  • photographing food
  • exploration of the North West Passage

As I was reading this book, it struck me that women writers and women quilters face some of the same challenges.  Our work is often dismissed by men who refer to it as 'just something women do'.  Makes me want to shriek.  I knew what I had to do; I had to make a quilt.

I immediately wrote to Tundra and shared my plan with them.  They sent my letter along to Marthe and she contacted me with some of her thoughts on a quilt.  Great, now I really had to get going on this.

The concept:  a bunch of women are gathered around the quilting frame, talking and sharing.  Marthe tells us of the women that she has chosen to include in her book.  More talk and discussion ensues.  The resulting quilt will be titled "Scribbling Around the Quilt Frame".

In the next picture I have featured the comments that Marthe sent me concerning the eleven women.  I transferred them onto fabric and then set them on Marthe's imaginary desk.  You'll notice that I have also given her a hot cup of coffee (or should it be tea), a plate a chocolates as per Isabella Beeton.  To the left of the chocolates are some newly received postcards, much as Margaret Catchpole might have written and sent home.   At the very bottom left I have included a piece of fabric that looks like wood.  Harriet Jacobs looked at the wooden walls of her hideaway for years. (this piece will be used somewhere on the quilt, but I don't know where, yet).

 I have a list of other items that will be included on the quilt: polar bears, a rifle, beetles, newspaper, the rabbit fence and rabbits etc..

Surrounding this central panel I will be including comments from scribbling women: authors, bloggers, quilters, a paper maker, artists, a librarian, and more.  Their comments surrounding the centre will be equivalent to women sitting around a quilting frame.

The next three photos show some of the fun fabrics that I have chosen to include in the quilt top.  In the brown fabrics, the two on the right side are aboriginal prints from Australia.  Not sure how I will use them, yet.

Thank-you for joining me for the Scribbling Women Blog Tour.  It's been  a pleasure to share my quilt adventure.  I will be posting updates of my progress each Tuesday in my regular Needlework Tuesday post.  I hope to be finished this quilt by the end of April.

My review copy is courtesy of Tundra Books .


Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your quilt idea! So original! Can't wait to see the final product.

souci said...

This is a stunning idea for a response to the book. Absolutely perfect in its personal effort, and its presence within 'women's work'. Congratulations.
The Nervous Marigold

Melwyk said...

Amazing!! I can't wait to see the finished product...what a great idea and a wonderful project to undertake. I like how you've connected the way women's writing and arts like quilting are perceived in similar ways, think you are so right about that.

Anonymous said...

I love that paisley print!

I've been thinking of doing something for April, too. The whole Sei list idea really appeals to me.

Roberta said...

You have a wonderful idea here. Can't wait to see how it turns out. The stories in the book do inspire creativity.

marthejocelyn said...

wow Heather, what an amazing tribute to the scribbling women - as well as the thousands of other invisible writers and stitchers who have woven together our past...

Thank you so much for your ingenious and unique approach to the blog tour. PLEASE send me a photo of the finished quilt!

marthejocelyn said...

Wow, Heather, thank you for this ingenious and unique response to the scribbling women - and to the thousands of invisible writers and stitchers who have woven together our past.

PLEASE be sure to send me a photo of the finished quilt. It is completely moving that you've been inspired to do this.

Unknown said...

oh how this makes me wish i knew how to quilt! what a great illustration of what a book can mean.

Rikki said...

This is going to be a truly unique quilt. I can't wait to follow your progress and the finished quilt.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Beautiful fabrics - neat to be able to tell the story through a quilt. Will look forward to watching your progress (end of April sounds very ambitious!)