Textiles Tuesday 01.18.22

Designing With EQ8
Machapunga Blues: Memory Quilt
Honoring My BFF &
Our Travels On The Pau Wau Highway

Unless you’ve been a sojourner traveling the Carolina-Virginia Pow Wows, it’s hard to understand the love, joy, laughter, and connectedness it brings.  It brought healing in my life, and I got to share it with a Mama Bear named Carolyn Juanita Pierce.  We created great stories!  Three NDN Women and a Baby started the Trail in February at the School of Science and Math in Durham.  Joe Lyles coordinated a one-day indoor Pow Wow with craft Traders and dancers from all over the region.  They provided a cafeteria meal for dancers. It was a joy to dance in the Circle at NCSSM.

Using EQ8, my design problem is to create a quilt with connections to Calo, Machapunge survivance, the Roanoke River, and my ancestral history.  I want this quilt to have a commanding presence equal to the strength and dignity of a Bear Clan Kokum.  I’m beginning with eight columns, nine rows, and double borders.  Like me, Calo was a teacher, so I want a version to be a workshop quilt.  EQ8 is a wonderful tool for me because it gives me an estimate of how many values of indigo blues I’ll need for a project.  Except for my whole cloth indigo-dyed quilts, the pieced quilts patterns can be taught using pre-cuts, in this case, a layer cake plus additional yardage.

The Colors

Bound Resist & Stitched Resist Designs

Blues:  Representing water, the trauma of stolen people on stolen land, cultural survivance. (Hand Dyed Indigo: 13 solid values, 2 stitched designs, and 7 bound resist patterns)

Fire Colors: Representing Calo’s passion, the fire in our bodies from dancing in The Circle to The Drum, the fire of being one with the earth in a Sweat Lodge in Piney Woods, and the fire of exalted jubilation at Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ. (Hand Dyed Marigold, Madder, Chamomile, Cutch, Lac and Onion Skins)

Cloud Colors: The Southern tradition of indigenous women of color wearing white, except my value of white is lightly kissed with indigo. (Indigo solid value #2, the Kiss)

The Design

Inspirational Historical Quilt Block:  The Carpenter’s Wheel.  I chose this block design because the Machapunga helped slaves escape down the Roanoke River to the Roanoke Island Station.  Slaves found freedom in the Swamps and hid out in woodland communities with the remnants of the Tuscarora Confederacy.  The Carpenter’s Wheel is an Underground Railroad coded block that was used as a signal for slaves planning to escape meaning to be ready to leave.  Calo’s family were free people of color, and one of her ancestors lived in a house on the Roanoke that had a hide-a-way room that could only be accessed from the river, not from inside the house.

The Carpenter’s Wheel is also a crochet pattern that I learned in my youth, which is another reason that I chose it as my source of inspiration.  Overall, I want my modern version of The Carpenter’s Wheel to resemble Mama Bear standing on her hind legs with her hands on her hips.  On the lightest solid value squares, I’ll attach photos as applique.

Machapunga Blues Memory Quilt
In Honor Of My BFF
Carolyn Juanita Pierce

Published by Carola Jones, Artist

Indigenous Artist, Writer, Designer | Internet Techie | Pow Wow Dancer | Lover of Dyeing Cloth Especially With Indigo, Madder & Marigold | 4th Generation Hand Embroidery & Sewing Enthusiastic | Working Traveler | NC Toisnot & Mattamuskeet Tuscarora & FL Seminole | Algonquin Gullah Mixed Blood

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