Charlottesville, VA: Virginia Arts of the Book Center, 2014. Number 12 of 20 copies. (20 additional copies were created and exchanged between the participants). This remarkable collaborative artists' book tells the tragic stories of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York City and the 2012 Tazreen Fashions Factory fire in Bangladesh through the powerful assemblage in a "sewing box" of artifacts and mementos ostensibly collected over three generations that document the two tragedies.
From the introduction: "In creating the contents of this box, we decided we would create a story to convey some of our own notions about greed and the value of a human life, about women's changing roles at home and in the workplace and about the increasing distance between consumers and producers. ... We named our primary character Rosie ... Rosie, her sister Kate, niece Rose, grandniece Rachel, and great-grandniece Katya, and other associated with them are composites of other historical and invented characters. 'Notions' is best read through the objects and the stories we've imagined that gather around them. It is framed like a quilt--an assemblage of many small pieces that stitched together tell a human story about workers here and elsewhere, now and in the past, who sew the clothes we wear. It is also an artists' book that expresses some of our own notions about how and why we make art, and how and why we use art to explore our humanity and comment on the human condition."
The 23 objects in the sewing box, each by different artists, include postcards, an embroidered shirtwaist collar, a jar of buttons with modern label, reprints of historic news articles about the fire, letterpress printed cards, a paper doll, quilted lace, a vintage photo, a sewing booklet, and numberous other art objects. The sewing box itself has a pair of scissors and an empty thread spool laid
in along with the art objects. It is a Kraft papier mache box painted with red acrylic, wrapped with a giclée-printed band of advertising art, and lined with sewing pattern tissue; original art on lid is letterpress printed. It also includes a small book
describing the history of the tragedies and each of the items in the collection inside the box. In fine condition. Box is 12 inches in diameter and 6 inches high.
Detailed list of the 23 items:
Postcard from Rosie's fiancé - an antique postcard image giclée printed on Arches watercolor paper, hand-tinted with watercolors, and letterpress printed on back by Yolanda Merrill;
Rosie's ruined piecework - white cotton shirtwaist collar, machine-stitched, with hand-embroidered inscription by Lotta Helleberg and Dorothy Smith
Rosie's charm string and button jar - buttons strung, knotted and saved in jam jar with original label art and Dickens quotation handset and letterpress printed by Janet Eden and Frank Riccio
Smocking for Mrs. Vanderbilt - cotton embroidery floss on muslin) by Barbara Payne
"Sewn in my own heart's blood" (letterpress printing on newsprint with hand-sewn embellishment by Dorothy Smith
Smoldering fire - reprint of historic New York Times article accompanied by song lyrics typed on manual typewriter by Barbara Payne and Laura Sprung
Rachel's yarn card - letterpress printed card with vintage yarn by Janet Eden
Lue's letter to Rachel - original letter reproduced on old book paper, vintage photo enclosed with letter by Rachel Singel
Betsy McCall moves forward - vintage Betsy McCall paper doll enclosed in a cardstock folder imprinted with an original story and art) by Dorothy Smith and Cecilia Sorochin
Mill migration postcards - letterpress printed duotone images on Crane's 90# Pearl White Wove and Rives Lightweight papers by Kristin Adolfson and Lotta Helleberg
Déjà vu: 9/11 and 1911 - reprint of a newsletter chronicling the experiences of former Peace Corps volunteers teaching in New York City public schools during 9/11 by Michael Swanberg
Something old, something new - hand-quilted pieces of lace sewn onto a card; original art and calligraphy letterpress printed by Cecilia Sorochin
Tarzeen redirect - digital printing of designs and original artwork) by Garrett Queen and Lana Lambert
Tazreen button card - letterpress printing with watercolor by Angie Hogan
Mourning our loss - recreated historic newspaper articles printed on hand-stained paper with decoupage roses and black lace embellishment by Cecilia Sorochin
"Plus change" mourning card - digital printing of graphic elements, including photo by Donna Knoell
Rosie's needle book - letterpress needle book with tea stains, hand sewing, and a hidden message by Kevin McFadden
Kate's matchbox catch all - letterpress printed labels on die-cut matchboxes by Bonnie Bernstein and Yolanda Merrill
Conscience pin cube - letterpress-printed labels on papered boxes with ball head pins by Bonnie Bernstein
Red Threads care instructions - color-printed on canvas and machine-stitched in red thread by Bonnie Bernstein
Old Wavy hang tag - letterpress printed on on Crane's 100% cotton paper by Kristin Adolfson
Mayn Rue Platz/My resting place - letterpress printed cabinet and card with photograph and music CD by Bonnie Bernstein, Stacey Evans, Nancy Kober
Lives beyond measure - a timeline charting family and labor history printed on canvas with aluminum embellishments in the form of a measuring tape) by Nancy Kober.