The Migrant's Alphabet - C is for the Children

My friend, Jane Davila, asked me to participate in her project called The Migrant's Alphabet. Here is a description of the project from the website:

"In 1846, two Quaker sisters, Mary and Hannah Townsend, published the Anti-Slavery Alphabet to bring attention to the abolitionist cause against enslavement. Inspired by this book of Illuminated characters and accessible poetry, Bridgeport artist Jane Davila started a project, the Migrant’s Alphabet, to bring awareness, education, and conversation to the current crisis of immigration in the United States and around the world."

Jane asked 26 artists to create a 12"x12" piece of art, and a poem, using a letter of the alphabet, and something to do with immigration. I chose C for the children. My vision was to have the faces of a lot of children behind fencing, and in front of words. Specifically the words were to be the laws we have created in our country regarding the immigration of children. 

I immediately started drawing children's faces and then carving them in to stamps.


 I wanted to include children from many ethnicities.
 I had a number of experiments as I went along. I tried stamping them on silk organza in different colors. I know Versafine Clair stamp pads aren't specifically made for fabric but I really like how it stamps on fabric.

 I decided I would need one larger face as well. I found a perfect photo on by Arwan Sunanto. Unsplash is a website that allows photographers to share their photos copyright free. It is a great place for inspiration.
 I drew the face on to silk organza, and colored it in using Inktense pencils. I blended the colors with water and then sealed it all with some Golden GAC-900.


Finished child on silk organza
 I experimented with embossing the fencing on silk organza. It made a perfect fence but it was difficult to see the faces through the fencing.
I opted to stamp the fencing directly on the organza.

 The children were also stamped on the organza, however this piece of organza was dyed a pale brownish purple first.

 The children behind the fencing.
The bottom layer of words was created by using a thermofax screen I had made. Once the children and fencing were layered over the words, I quilted them all together to emphasize the fencing. 

 Now it was time to add my crying child. I didn't like the way she blended in to the back ground when placed over the words, children and fencing. 

 I decided she would look best fused to a piece of white felt and then stitched to top along with the letter C.

I mounted the quilted piece to a 12"x12" canvas frame.
Finished piece.
Once the art was completed it was time to create a poem:

The exhibit made it's debut in Connecticut at City Lights Gallery, and will continue to travel as long as their is interest. There is also going to be a book which will have all of the artwork and all of the poems.  Check out the website for more information.


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