I’m about to leave for our local Guild meeting. The Quilters Guild of South Australia. There will probably be 200 people there.
We will meet, share ideas, quilts and other such wonderful things and marvel at our ingenuity and talent.
We sew on magical machines, we have the best plied thread, and we use computers, and work in fancy studios.
Now lets do a turn around.
Think about growing the cotton before you can even begin to make a piece of art. Then of course you have to watch it grow, tend it to fruit and then harvest it. Cotton is terrible to work with, it looks beautiful but hosts sharp prickles that cut the unwary hand. Taking the seeds out by hand takes a lot of time. Find the pointy end of the seed and peel the fiber down from this end much like peeling a banana.There is a lot of lint (the official name for cotton when it is off the seed) on one cotton seed. You can spin directly off the seed, but only if it is a naked seed as in Pima cotton where the lint does not adhere to the seed. This can get tedious especially if you are spinning on a spindle.
You bundle the spun cotton and dye it in pots of boiled flower petals and leaves over a wood fire set on the dirt floor to bring forth a magical color palette. The color setting mixture is made from chopped banana plant stem boiled in water and then finally you hang it out to dry.
You weave the thread on a back strap loom while you are sitting on the dirt floor.
You sell your work to feed your family.
Often the cotton is used for embroidery, beautiful embroidery hand drawn on woven cotton and then stitched by hand.