Scene: a two-week workshop at the Crow Barn in 2007. Some of us got to talking about “sew-off squares,” those little bits of fabric that serve as placeholders in piecing or quilting when you come to the end of a seam and don’t have another piece of fabric to immediately sew onto. If you sew onto the little square, you don’t have to cut your threads and risk your needle coming unthreaded. And it saves inches, feet, probably even miles of thread over the course of a project. Lisa Call was saying that she religiously uses sew-off squares, and a few of us who were not as conscientious resolved that we would mend our ways and do it too.
As the sewing progressed, it didn’t take us long to see that you could make little patterns on the sew-off squares by putting a bit of contrasting color under the stitching. My partner in resolution, Barbara Bugliani, eventually turned her collection of sew-off squares into glamorous scarves. I took another tack, sewing hundreds of them into what I call “grids in space,” held together only by threads.
Why call them “Postage”? In 2003 I decided to do a year-long art project in which I would send a postcard to my mother every day. By December, it was apparent that neither of us wanted to stop. Finding cards became a game that I played with enthusiasm, buying them by the dozen at flea markets and on vacation. Many of my artist friends sent me cards from their own collections or from their travels and a few even sent my mother cards themselves. And of course I bought stamps by the hundreds! The daily card became an integral part of my life, and the small sew-off squares reminded me of stamps.