Colwell Cedars Retreat

      ~ merging awareness, creativity, and nature ~

Red White & Blue in Utah 1988    

          My most recent embroidered book is Red White and Blue in Utah 1988.   Perusing the two photo galleries of the RWBinU88 creative process — plus, reading the descriptions — will give you a sense of the scope and vision of this multi- year,  nearly 22 feet long,  3-dimensional embroidered book.

          Artist Mary Hotchkiss Farmer proof-read and reviewed RWBinU88 on May 20, 2015.   She had this to say afterwards:
          “Thank you for asking me to view your superbly creative creation.  It was my pleasure!  I tried to explain to Chuck just how creative you are, but he already thinks so since he saw your presentation at the museum.  You are a first-class artist.  I’m looking forward to the response that your work receives from others, especially those who understand stitchery and bead work, but painters, as well.”

           Ingredients:  cotton fabrics;  4-ply rag board;  paper;  silk, cotton & metallic threads & ribbons;  charms, beads, buttons;  hand and machine sewing;  hand embroidery;  linen;  graphite, color pencil, ink;  snaps;  photos.
          Six maquettes were created over the years to practice and ponder technical and structural options:

  • #6:  January 30, 2015 and May 3, 2015.  7″ tall test hinges:  scrap fabrics, ragboard, machine sewn, snaps handsewn; flat shell beads as test Chapter markers.
  • #5:  March 8, 2014.  Full size with 12″ x 12″ pages and 1″ hinges;  school-grade sulphite drawing paper;  machine sewn;  graphite pencil notes for drawings’ layout.  Four ‘chapters’  format established.
  • #4:  July 14, 2012 through October 2013.   9 1/8″ h x 14½” d x 22″ long.  Its 3 & 1/3 pages of construction notes and other process items are included in the RWBinU88 process files/binders.  This is a true maquette made from mélange of studio-stash materials.  The mounting technique explored here proved un-suitable for the final book.
  • #3:  Clouds Hills Conifers.  5¾” h  x  4” d x  ~32” long, or,  5¾” h x  21” diameter.  June 3, 2007 through September 2009. This evolved into a work beyond the true maquette slap-it-together approach.  Almost reversible; two-sided, three-dimensional.
  • #2:  Before 2012.  6″ h by 8″ d by 29″ long.  Pellon, cardstock, thread, buttons, machine sewn, stash cyanotypes (Mom in 1945 and paperdoll goddesses), and Ruby’s quilt pieces.  This maquette told me that two signatures in each fold of the basic accordion format would make the book un-readable.
  • #1:  Before 2012.  2 ½” h by ~ 20″ diameter.  Three long narrow pellon pieces, hand-hinged with blue rayon, and folded to create page-sides.  Love this format, but not practical, nor readable, when scaled-up to the size needed for the largest drawings.

In addition, the process for  “Behold!”, my multi-dimensional Book-in-a-Box from December 2008, contributed profoundly to the overall RWBinU process.
          The fifth chapter box contains the maquettes, 22 pages of handwritten notes, a highly pencil-noted excel spreadsheet, and a 62″ x 6″ diagram.
The "treasure chest" box to store all the chapter boxes was engineered by Champion Box of Cedaredge CO.

          Red White and Blue in Utah 1988  was originally envisioned (in ~2006) as “Red White and Blue in Utah,” to encompass all the drawings I created en plein air in Utah from February 1988 to January 1992.  On January 19, 2014, I began the RWBinU creative process.
          However, by January 21, I found that there are approximately 125 Utah drawings, from 1988 to 2001.  So I grouped them by year, with notes to create five RWBinU books rather than just one, and decided to begin with the 1988 group.  In addition to the general creative impulse, one reason I chose to organize the drawings into embroidered books is to make them special beyond being life experiences stored in my studio flat files.
          The mélange nature of Red White and Blue (geologic variations, sky, clouds, and non-geologic views and thoughts) is all sewn and embellished with a complementary “crazy quilt” of harmonies and contrasts.  The “space” of empty sides is for viewers to rest between experiences.
          The 38 drawings in RWBinU88 have odd sizes, shapes and edges, and occasionally contain evidence from use in processes for other artworks.  Drawing sizes are due to ease of carry and amount of time to draw while Joe and dogs hiked.  The uneven cuts and the not “square” dimensions reflect philosophy that the drawings were never meant to be perfect, but rather “cut the paper quickly, stash in knapsack-sized drawing portfolios, and then, out-the-door with lunch, water, broad-brim hat, a knapsack-size pillow, and a walking stick.”

Red White and Blue in Utah 1988 dimensions:
Folded for Vertical storage:  Each Chapter ~ 5″ thick by 12″ h x 13″ w.    Total folded is ~ 21″ thick.
Open full for display:  Height:  12″     Depth:  25″     Length:  21 feet, 9 inches.
Largest dimension of a drawing is 9 ¾” .   Smallest dimension of a drawing is 3  5/16″.
Forty-five sides of the 78 total sides in the 21′ 9″ length have drawings, embroidery, photos &/or other items.
Weight:  Approximately 3 ½ pounds each Chapter.

I consider all the embroidered books I have made to date as maquettes leading to the book I’ve always envisioned to document my life-long Health Odyssey.  The remaining RWBinU books may or may not be created before or after the HO book, or other embroideries or “books” in my creative to-do queue.