bully shield

I'm happy to announce my piece "Bully Shield" was selected to be a part of Textiles in a Tube 2.

When I read about this juried show on Kathleen Loomis's blog I decided to give it a shot. All pieces for the show have to fit in to a 36" mailing tube. The premise was too interesting to pass up, so I started sketching and scheming.

I tried several different solutions but couldn't come up with an idea that made sense to fit in a tube. Everything was too contrived or wasn't interesting enough.

When I was in LA in April a friend suggested an umbrella frame. The rest fell in to place.

I chose the topic of bullying because it was one that still affects me 20 years after it happened. At the time, I wanted a way to shield myself from the words and actions that were raining down on me. I tried my best to protect myself but their anger and hate got through to me; it was never easy to fully deflect their words. It was also a time of self-reflection as I struggled with my own uncomfortable thoughts, which in a way, bullying myself.

The aggressiveness of the black fabric against the white reflects the seriousness of the situation as well as the typical black umbrella - it's as if the umbrella has been shredded or worn from the consistency and length of the bullying.

The words that I heard everyday from other students are represented throughout the outside of the piece. The underside uses reflective material to further shield the bullying and to act as a mirror for self-reflective thoughts.

The piece was interesting to construct. I went to several different stores with a tape measure and studied all the umbrellas in stock. The classic black umbrella with curved handle wouldn't work because the handles were too wide for the mailing tube. It had to be a collapsible umbrella so it could fit in to the tube.

I won't bore you with the rest, but it was fairly easy to put together once I figure out a few details. Sewing the panels was the fun part... it was all improvised. The piece has a deconstructed feel, with some of the seams exposed and unraveling, which helped when it came to fitting the fabric on the the umbrella frame.

It's my first fiber art/quilt gallery show and I couldn't be happier. Unfortunately, I can't see the show in person since it's in Greenville, SC. I'd love to see photos if any of you happen to see it.

Textiles in a Tube 2 runs from June 1 through July 15 at Riverworks Gallery in Greenville, SC.


  1. This is brilliant! I can't imagine that it was easy to construct, but you did a great job of it and your message is touching.

  2. OMG. I almost used an umbrella too! Glad I didn't. Glad we're both in the show.

  3. @norma... thanks for your kind words! it was a very personal process, one that brought back some tough memories.

    @christine... great minds think alike!