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By Lise Melhorn-Boe
in collaboration with Linda Coulter with poem by Diane Dawber
Kingston, Ontario, Canada: Transformer Press, 2020. Edition of 10.

11.5 x 14" closed, size dependent upon the shorts used and fabric. Madras shorts folded to produce cover. Cloth pages sewn from pieced bits of material. Screen printed. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Transformer Press: "The poem was written by a friend of mine who lives in this area. Diane Dawber has written several books of poetry, along with some health-related non-fiction.

"I asked Diane: 'What did you mean by suicide excuses?' She responded, 'My grandmother blamed my father for taking my mother, from the city (Toronto) to the uncivilized worlds of rural Northumberland County [thus] for my mother's suicide. Nothing to do with that, it was viral encephalitis. It is timely to be talking about loneliness and isolation now… and illness and dying, for that matter. Fear and anger, conspiracy theories, blame, hurt-as well as more positive emotions abound.'

"The concept for this book came from a gift of two bags full of strip piecing that my friend Linda Coulter brought to a meeting of the textile group to which we both belong. She was moving studios and getting rid of stuff. As no one else wanted the fabric fragments, I grabbed them. I went home and opened the folder of poems I have been collecting and realized they would be perfect for this poem, which has to do with buying stuff at thrift stores and re-purposing it. I decided to use the pieced bits as pages. Some were quite large: others just fragments. I wanted something from a thrift shop for the covers, and thought of shorts as they are perfect to fold in half and are not too big.

"I couldn't believe it when the first store I visited had many pairs of madras plaid or seersucker shorts which, although not 'vintage', looked as though they stepped out of my childhood. I had a wonderful time coordinating the pieced panels with the shorts. As in many of the books in this Sewing Poems series, this is an eccentric edition - each copy is quite different in colouration. "

Text excerpt: "She was the one who shopped rummage sales/ for suicide excuses / but the cheap ones wouldn't do."


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