Saturday, February 19, 2011

Twenty Years In The Making

When we moved home from working overseas 1989, I got a job working in New Orleans at a t-shirt printing company. It was there, in my last months that I met a man from Kenner with a fishing company (making lures and lead) who wanted to compete with Guy Harvey.

He liked those shirts but wanted to see more realistic representations of his favorite fish and hired the company to take a stab at it. "I don't want those dead cartoon eyes, either!"

I got the assignment and the next thing you know I am drawing and redrawing a speckled trout until I have it exactly right.

Then he said, "Now, turn the tail and make it look like it's chasing shrimp."

WHAT?!! Why didn't he tell me this 40 hours ago, right? Next thing I know, I have a pail of shrimp on my drawing table, and I am making them look like they're trying to flee from a turning speckled trout! This was the beginning of a long friendship with Pete Canal.

It's also how, after 20+ years, I have this T-shirt quilt finally completed. Every one of those t-shirts, I made; either through the old way of hand-made screens or as a painted canvas-turned t-shirt, all thanks to Pete. And also thanks to Pete, I actually have a copy of them after all these years in order to make the quilt.

This was the first: speckled trout. (If I knew that day when we started this project how long it would take to turn out, I am not certain I would have volunteered to take this assignment on. I am so glad I did.)

Here's where it gets interesting..... a few weeks ago, we were looking at the rebuilt camps along Lake Catherine and popped into a marina. Look what I found on the sale rack:

This is NOT mine but whoever made it, copied me. No one, including Harvey, was putting the bait in the design until Pete did it. (and they used shrimp. hello!?)

This one was so much fun to paint. I think I was living in Alaska at the time. The first large-mouth bass we did was a real hoot. I left the company I worked for right after the trout shirt came out and Pete hired me independently to create the next shirt: Large Mouth Bass (this is not it)(I have no copy and Pete's stock got damaged in Katrina) Pete wanted a LMbass chasing a frog through lilypads and brought over to our house both a dead bass and live (large) frog. When it was time to draw the frog, it escaped from me and started hopping all over the house. Man, can they jump! It took me, the girls and the guy next door lifting the sofa to finally catch the darned thing!

So a few years later, we make another LMbass chasing sac-a-lait. This one was painted.

The very last shirt we made together was in 1999 I think. Alligator. No, he didn't bring me a live alligator but I bet he would've , if I'd asked it of him, he is that crazy.

I loved this one. I think it is fitting that we ended on a high note.
Pete has all of the originals. I think we did a pretty decent job of this. All the shirt we have have held up to repeated washings without losing their ink. The shirts he bought were always of high quality.

I get a kick when I see someone wearing one ... besides us.

So two years ago, I contacted Pete about getting some of the shirts because for whatever reason, I was missing some. I have pellon copies but I wanted the actually jersey for this and as luck would have it, I had such a terrific selection of batiks, I was able to trap all the images with a complementary fabric to get them all the same size.

I just finished the quilting 2 days ago and now have the binding on.


ktclarke said...

My favorite quilt to date! You are so multi-talented. Love you to and the Farmer!

Cats and Quilts said...

sweet girl! Thank you..... but just wait..... you will hopefully see the series quilts by the end of the year. And next year will hopefully be the Civil War remembrance quilts.

Love to you too and to the Kubbmaster.