kathe todd-hooker

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Forbidden Cartoons and Memento Morii

Kathe Todd Hooker, I win! I won!

Kathe Todd-Hooker, ” I win! I won!”, tapestry

 

Back in the old days (grin) before Selfies were taken with cameras, I wanted to be a cartoonist. I had never heard of tapestry weaving. From the time I was 8 to about 13,  I would day dream and this figure was one of the daily “Selfies” of myself and my imaginary adventures for the day that I included in a journal. The journals no longer exist. They were burned by my mother as being unsuitable. Often times my “Selfies” were dreams and hopes of what I wanted to be….

When I was with my Grandparents I dressed the way the girl in the tapestry is dressed. My Gramma would braid my hair, which was always coming undone. Pants weren’t allowed so she made me a shorter dress/skirt to be worn over my jeans, crocheted all of the edges and turned me loose on the world with the failing hope that my not-quite-correct dress would be at least considered too modish, but not offensive, to the members of our very strict Community. Because the trees I climbed and most of my other behaviors—well—perhaps you get the idea.—grrrrrr!

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Kathe Todd-Hooker, ” A pause with tat, scars and jewelry”

The second Selfie (above) is more about today and the process of weaving, which in itself was a journey of discovery. I do not do skin tones well—reproduce them well. But, the rest is me and how I saw myself for a second—even if…. It’s a Selfie of a Selfie. This is what I saw when I looked down at my hand while weaving one evening. The bright pink is my leg warmers and you can see the rug below surrounded with, and looking down on the drawers that I keep my thread in.
                 
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Kathe Todd-Hooker, “Safe Haven”, tapestry

While weaving these 2 Selfies (I win! I won! and A Pause with tat, scars and jewelry)
I have been weaving a series of tapestries that are memento morii for family members. My Selfie demanded she be included. So I did. Not a new idea— There is a series of tapestries that were commissioned by Catherine De Medici called the Valois Tapestries. They are snaps of parties or festivals with the images of her dead relatives, and they are meant to remind those who viewed them of other times and better times. SO, very old Selfies superimposed to catch a moment of time—they just take longer to produce in tapestry.
                   
This is one of the memento mori pieces. They are not that small. I think this one is around 12 inches by 12 inches. This piece references back to the Valois tapestries in the way the cartoons are used. Its name is Safe Haven, and it is my grandfather’s piece. He owned this block and ran his little empire from that grocery store. The male cartoons are my dad and uncle. My dad was called Katzen and my uncle Jammer from the old cartoon. The bird is the tattler from the same cartoon. My grandfather and I broke the rules and read them religiously (odd use). Our religion frowned on cartoons and novels.
                     
No matter how quickly one wants to do a Selfie in tapestry, it is only a shot in time and a dream of a second lost in time. Not so different from the journal images that I began 56 years ago. The cartoons were much quicker to produce as Selfies than tapestries. These take about 35–40 hours to weave at 22 epi and 4 inches
by 7 inches.
                     
You’ve probably seen the truck piece and the other car piece on ATA’s e-Kudos announcing my exhibit….—KT-H, 2016
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