Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gimme Shelter

Judy Coates Perez here
The symbolism of home and shelter is very significant to me right now. I am on the cusp of a major life transition, and home, as I am sure I will have some form of shelter as I go through this, is a bit ambiguous right now.

My marriage of more than 20 years came to an end a few years ago and because of the bad economy I remained in Chicago with my (now adult) kids, unable to sell our loft. I am in the process of negotiating a short sale and crossing my fingers it all goes through, which will allow me to move back to California in the next month or two.

I made this house for Kathy York's curated exhibit the Artists Village about a year after my initial split. My house incorporates floral/plant imagery for growth, bees for hard work, a heart for healing and love,

roots for staying grounded and figuring out where to plant myself and even a couple of female nudes to represent rediscovering what it meant to be a single woman again.

This was the house that started it all, The Cicada House is about 20" tall and 6" wide. The fabric is layered with printed paper imagery and multiple layers of transparant and metallic textile paint, then fused to heavy weight interfacing and quilted. The panels were stitched together and the roof and windows were embellished with embossed metal trim.

I enjoyed making the cicada house so much I needed to explore the house construction further with a couple water themed houses which were featured in a two part tutorial in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine March and May 2008.

I've also done a series of houses with stitched painted imagery with embossed metal stitched to them that I like to think of as personal altars. Bees and hives are symbolic of industry and craft, so I like to have them in my work.

This house series was painted and quilted fabric stitched to painted and hand stitched lutradur with embossed metal stitched to it, sewn to copper screen.

I know there will be more symbolic houses incorporated into my art in the future as a I transition to a new life living in Northern California as a single woman, with kids embarking on adulthood while I explore new forms of shelter.


  1. Sooo beautiful, I hope that this loveliness accompanies all your journeys.

  2. I enjoyed gazing at your shelters today. It's touching that your life's journey is so reflected in your art.

  3. I sure do "Bee-lieve" these are way cool!

  4. Beautiful pieces. I hope you are starting to see the possibilities unfolding in your journey. Mine is taking me home again but with significant changes and I look forward to where that takes me creatively. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Your shelters are beautiful.

    Good luck with the sale and the move.

  6. When we go through emotional upheaval our mind creates its own shelter, and if we are artistic it comes through as art. We cannot create art without pain but we can harness that pain to make the world a more friendly place so that others can find shelter in the art we create. Your houses are beautiful and give me great pleasure every time I see them! They help shelter me, and many others, from the bad things that surround us all and give hope that things will get better.

  7. Hi Judy. Great post! Beautiful pieces. Big life changes open up big possibilities, but they are rough. Sounds like you're doing great!

  8. Just beautiful, love your work! Hang in there, this too shall pass.


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