Queen with Duster

In the late 1980’s, my 97 year old grandmother died and we cleaned out her house in Bristol, RI. Along with drawers full of old keys and costume jewelry, I saved a stash of garter clips and kept them in wait for a future project. Their day came in 1995, when I started working on Queen with Duster.  

"Queen with Duster", fabric-relief, 10" x 11", 1995

 I’m always on the lookout for small interesting objects that can be sewn down and I liked the pattern created with the garters lined up. The figure started out as a bride, but evolved into a queen when she was crowned with a bejeweled pin. 

a collection of my grandmother's garters

sketches for "Queen with Duster"

Her dress is made from an old wool petticoat of my grandmother’s that was washed so many times, it had become very thin felt. The silver hairpins were also my grandmother’s and she made the tatting on the bottom of the skirt. See “Pink House”, another piece made with my grandmother’s things, here.

detail from "Queen with Duster" 6" x 4"

my grandmother, Louise (Salley) Hartwell in the 1920's

8 thoughts on “Queen with Duster

  1. Love the clever use of the garter clips. It is amazing to see how some little, usually hidden, piece of a life makes a great design element. Nice memory, too.

  2. What a wonderful photo of your grandma. I also love the garter clips – so many of those hidden little accessories are lost to us today and sometimes I worry that women’s fashion has lost a lot of its mystique because of that.

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