Friday, December 31, 2010


Birth Announcement
And there were shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were terrified.
"Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David, a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:8-11

collage by m.malwitz
created with commercial batik & painted fabrics, printed images, metallic ribbon, cut up pictures.

in private collection

#8 in Advent Series

Thursday, December 30, 2010


The Baby King
...she gave birth to her firstborn. She wrapped him in cloths & placed him in a manger...
Luke 2:7

collage by m.malwitz
Created with hand-painted & commercial fabrics, metallic effect thread, sequins,
photo on acetate stitched to fabric, machine stitching.

#7 in Advent Series

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


No Vacancy
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first born, a son. she wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:6-7

collage by m.malwitz
created with fabric, torn & cut pictures, stickers, metallic effect threads & sequins.

#6 in Advent Series

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Oh, Mary..."

Birth Announcement

"Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you - you will become pregnant and give birth to a son & call his name Jesus."

Luke 1:30-31
The Message

collage by marge malwitz
created with: iridescent material under netting, commercial batik, acrylic & pastel on canvas, torn & cut pictures, bracelet, organza, Marimekko

in private collection

#5 in Advent Series

Monday, December 27, 2010


Bethlehem are one of the smallest towns in the nation of Judah. But the Lord will choose one of your people to rule the nation, someone whose family goes back to ancient times.
Micah 5:2

collage by m.malwitz
created with cut-up pictures, airbrushed canvas, handpainted & tie-dyed fabric

This collage lives in South Africa.

#4 in Advent Series

Sunday, December 26, 2010


His Name
Isaiah 9:6 NIV

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.

collage by m.malwitz
created with text on acetate & stitched over fabric, manipulated photo, Discipleship Journal no.110 M/A '99 tearsheet-my cross illustration.
collage in private collection

#3 in Advent Series

Saturday, December 25, 2010


And a green shoot will sprout from Jesse's stump,
from his roots a budding Branch.
Isaiah 11:1
The Message

collage by m.malwitz

created w/handpainted fabric, metallic effect thread, colored pictures

AND cut up menu cover picturing the red Aussie earth from Quantas flight.

photo - Ayers Rock in the center of AU & the rich rusty red soil.

From the Advent Series.

This collage lives in Australia now.

#2 in Advent Series

Friday, December 24, 2010


Celebrating Christmas with the Advent series,
The Birth of the King.

Inspiration from prophetic & historic accounts.

Posting 1 a day for the next 9 days.


He will crush your head & you will strike His heel.
Genesis 3:15 NIV

God speaking to the serpent in the garden in Eden, after the fall. First mention of the coming of the Messiah.

Collage by Marge Malwitz.
Created with paper, painted fabrics, metallic effect thread, buttons, sequins.

#1 in Advent Series

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Besides the 3 quilts, I also brought collages to share. I love creating with painted papers!

My friend, upon seeing my collaged book titled RAIN, said, "Bring it on the trip!" The book, though dark and progressivey darker throughout, ends with the message of hope - exactly what we were coming to offer - hope & encouragement. So yes I did bring RAIN.

We showed it to many over the two weeks. At each location the book was slowly passed from person to person. I was surprised how interested & fascinated they were with how it was made and the story progression. Who would have thought! It was a hit!

Here are pictures with new friends looking at RAIN. As it made it's way around the room it finally was in the hands of the woman in the bottom 2 photos. As she paged through the beginning pages she put her hand on her chest. She was moved with emotion. The page she holds open (in photo) spoke to her so deeply, that she got up out of her seat & came over to me and kissed and hugged me again and again.

At the close of the evening, I asked her through a translator what it was about those two pages that were so special. I never did clearly understand but she said they reminded her of something very special. How amazing to have created 2 simple pages that moved a person to such a wave of emotion.

RAIN is one of the 28,000 (!!) books in Sketchbook Project 2011. I'll be sending it mid-January to Brooklyn NY where it will be the permanent property of the Brooklyn Art Library. Next year, it will go on tour to major cities in the USA with many other books in Sketchbook Project 2011.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


her body black and blue
looking so tramatized
husband to Russia for work, maybe for years
sends no money as promised
marries, has second family in Russia
comes back, unannounced, moves in, beatings restart
"we're going to a party" husband said. A trick, takes her to empty apt & rapes her
marriage arranged-does not love her
beautiful wife & 4 children but girlfriends on the side
friends to husband, "beat her, show her who is boss."
beatings, beatings, more beatings

1 in 3 women experience domestic violence.
This is their reality.

How could we help? We could not fix their problems. Thankfully our NGO friends were there to encourage and help. But we could facilitate having them tell their stories in safe, small groups.

There is something theraputic about working out your story in a tangible way. Our groups of women made story ropes, telling their stories sequentially with ribbons (colors carefully chosen) & tied to a narrow band of 'atlas', their ethnic fabric.

An important part of the process came next - telling their stories. BUT only if they wanted. There was much understanding & support as they took turns sharing - touching each colored ribbon, telling the part of their story it represented.

At the end of each session there were smiles and glowing faces.

One young mom looked at me directly in the eyes and said,
"I will never forget this day."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Oh may the 8 gates of heaven open.
May the deceased go straight through.
God, may you show your unveiled face to him/her.
May he/she quickly pass over the Hair-Thin Bridge on the back of a sheep. * **

*highlighted words - understood in many places. Some believe you walk over the bridge by yourself.

** Ths is a prayer for the dead found in the folk side of their beliefs. It is used in similar cultures in other parts of the world. The Hair-Thin Bridge is long and razor sharp. Falling off means Hell.

GASPS in the group! "The Hair-Thin Bridge! "

One woman said, "Just yesterday I was crossing the bridge (into town) & thought...I hope I can cross the Hair-Thin Bridge as fast as I go across this bridge today."

Another woman had a recent dream about the Hair-Thin Bridge. "The bridge was so long I could not see the end of it. I thought, how will I ever make it across. But I started walking & went across it very quickley."

My quilt, Terror of the Mistake, was created about 10 years ago. One evening I showed it to my friend, her eyes opened wide, "the Hair-Thin Bridge!" she said. "You must bring this to___. They will love it!" I did & they did love it!

A couple of weeks ago, My friend & I returned to the same part of the world, shared the quilt & heard the comments I shared above.
There was much discussion about this quilt. My friend asked the question, "What kind of sheep could carry a dead person across the Hair-Thin Bridge?" After some thoughtful silence the person slowly said, "A very special sheep."

Photo 1 Though I designed heaven's golden streets, they saw the Hair-Thin Bridge.
Photo 2 Me off to the side, where I like to be, enjoying the presentation.
Photo 3 Touching the Hair-Thin Bridge.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Going to describe what it was like to eat in a home in the "back of beyond"of Asia. Our the NGO friends ate in similar fashion, though their foods were somewhat less regional & often were recipes from their own ethnic backgrounds. That's me having lunch on the floor at our friend's home. I know. It looks like a picnic.

Shoes always removed just inside the door.
Wooden floors always painted a rusty red.
Most meals were eaten on the floor.
Cloth/blanket spread on floor of largest room .
Corbagges (long rectangular pads) & pillows around perimeter.
Same cultural delights served at each gathering.
Tea brewed with loose tea leaves.
Usually first cup poured & then poured back into teapot.
Then tea is poured for everyone.
Dishes of nuts, dried fruit, raisons & candies.
Meat & onion filled pastries, little cakes, cookies.
Piled up fruit - persimmons, pommagranets, apples, tangerines.
Flat round bread called 'non', torn and handed around to the guests.
Sometimes the national dish is also served, osh:
Rice, meat and vegetables cooked in a very, very large pot.
(Photo blurred for privacy & yes they are holding the Muhalleh quilt)

A grapevine in our friend's yard. It seemed everyone had a grapevine. Dried raisons are in abundance - stems always left on.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


A little sidebar for 2 days to tell you about the food. But before I take you to one of the many 'sit down on the floor' meals we had...let me take you to a colorful fresh fruit & vegetable bazaar along side the main road. Many of these fruits and breads were served at every meal.

(Any photo can be clicked on to enlarge.)

When our NGO friend stopped to shop, I also hopped out in hopes of getting some local color shots. The people were very happy to have their pictures taken. They just wanted to see what I captured on my digital camera screen. Easy enough.

The traditional flat bread in this region of the world is called non. Piles of non were sold everywhere. I wondered who was going to buy it all! How much bread could people eat?!!

As far as the fruit goes, there was an amazing abundance of persimmons (different varieties even) and pomegranets for sale. We had some fresh pomegranet juice. Tasted as fresh as eating the seeds right out of the fruit. The pears being white were very unusual looking.

Tomorrow - let's sit down & eat!

Friday, December 17, 2010


So everytime we showed the Mahalla quilt, there were wordless expressions of surprise, delight, embracing, ahhhs and great big smiles!

With her hand at her chest, one woman said, "It feels close."

Another said, "This (one) is ours."

A young woman looked in wonder at the quilt and turning to me said, "I'm speechless!"

After hearing about the 3 golden houses being an encouraging, healthy mahalleh to live in, one woman put her hand by that area and said in earnest, "I want to live there."

I love to standing to the side to let others tell the story of my quilts in the local language. I've done this in Asia, Africa & the Pacific Rim. Here it was happening again. In 2 of the photos I am off to the side, watching and listening, just where I like to be, letting the quilt 'speak' through others.

In one group creative ideas were thrown around for other, simpler ways to picture the story. Inspired by a book of collages I had shown earlier, one of our new friends quickly drew the mahalleh scene, folded it acordion style into a little book & handed it to me. Wow! And I love the fox! (pictured)

Why did this quilt work so well? An expat, though having never visited their country, created their style of houses, on their street, their mahalleh, & their culture. Even their traditional ethnic fabric, Atlas, was designed into the quilt. They were amazed, delighted, encouraged and honored by this quilt. Photographs, fabric scraps, thoughtful content and a little creatively made it happen. It brought me great joy to see the joy it brought to all who saw it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Going to take you on a little trip across the quilt in this post. Took some close-ups today.

The first 3 mahalla homes are about the process toward hope. With so much domestic violence in the home, it is a pretty dark place. The entire family is affected. We heard the stories. Pretty hopeless. A dead tree and blackness in the home.

The red and white windows are about the possibility of change. Someone does care. A home full of peace & love is possible. The tree sprouts new growth. We met people who had experienced this, filled with hope and a radiance about them.

The turquoise door is still the power & protector color but the power is from a different source. The dead snake is an important part of that story.

The grape arbor is about 'fruit' that grows with change - love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, patience, self control.

We added a little velcroed fox, making the quilt interactive. They loved it! The fox could come steal the fruit so one must be vigilant.

The final three homes are about community. The golden lines suggest neighbor visiting neighbor - a sense of healthy community. It is an encouraging place to live. People in this neighborhood share the fruit with the people struggling in the dark house.

Of the three, this was the favorite
quilt in each group. Their comments tomorrow.

Hope in the Mahalla
art quilt by m.malwitz
hand dye fabrics; atlas fabric from the region; buttons, beads; metallic effect thread; sequins; rubber stamps.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I'm thinking this part of the story will take a couple of posts! Lot's to tell. Mahalleh is 'neighborhood' in this part of the world. First picture is the mahalleh we lived in for a couple of days. Note the low, mostly white buildings, unpaved street & trees. There is probably a grapevine arbor in the front of someone's house
further down the street. You see them everywhere.

Next is the quilt,
Hope In The Mahalleh,
which I made a bunch of years ago for my first trip to this region of Asia. At that time my friend, who I team taught with on this trip, was living in another country of this region. We collaborated on this quilt using elements she saw in other art quilts in my studio. Photos of her mahalleh (similar to the 1st photo) inspired the street scene. Turquoise is the color of power and protection in their world view, so adding that was important.

Now what about the cats!?! (Click on the quilt to see them.) When I was finishing up this quilt, my friend said it would be OK to add some whimsey, like the stray cats in her mahalleh. In my enthusiasm I added 12! But for this trip back to the region we decided the cats were distracting & I removed 9. The 3 on the roof stayed as that is where they like to hangout anyway.

One of my greatest pleasures as an artist is seeing people engaged with my artwork. The scene in the 3rd photo was repeated many times, over 2 weeks. They loved seeing the quilts up close and personal. Tomorrow...more of the mahalleh story.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


1 out of every 3 women in this remote Asian country experience domestic violence. Not only is it condoned but the husband's friends encourage him to beat his wife to show her who is boss. Should the abused wife escape back to her family, they would just send her back.

In this shame based culture, women who experience violence never talk about it. That would bring shame on her. But these poor women are already filled with shame & guilt. They have no selfworth or hope. Does anyone love them? Does anyone care?

We were invited to come alongside our NGO friends & bring them some new 'tools' to use in helping these women. My friend taught the Woman at the Well story about another woman also filled with shame. Connecting this woman and her experience to women in their culture would hopefully bring value & hope into their lives.

The art project was about 3 'labels' the Woman at the Well might have worn. A label about how others viewed her. A label about how she viewed herself. A label about how God viewed her. Sharing the meaning of the finished labels is an important part of processing the teaching and their response.

Photos: Creative activity at the table. A few labels created by our friends. I left gluesticks, painted papers & blank labels so they could carry on the teaching themselves.