This week’s quilt was meant to be inspired by a trip to Boston’s ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) in a manner other than it was. We had to pull teeth to get our two teenage boys to go see Shepard Fairey. I thought the fact that the artist had been arrested in Boston on Friday, that his work could be found on city streets and the bottom of skateboards, that his motto, “question everything” informed most of his images, would hold some appeal. Not so.
I started with the idea of using Photoshop Elements to pair words of my kids’ resistance with a photo that revealed some of their exuberance at actually being there. I was going to print that on fabric, stitch it to another piece of fabric with wild, angry slash quilting, and be done with it.
But, in keeping with a prolonged and now excruciating run of malfunctions, the printer ate the fabric and then died. The top four or so inches printed before the fabric jammed, and those words and ink smears made their way into the finished piece. I cut out newspaper letters to spell “obey” — a reference to the artist’s “Obey Giant” series — which, of course, ironically also refers to our family conflict.
Because I forgot to look at last week’s quilt for a “carry over” fabric, the carry over is paper.
In the end, I like this quilt much, much better than the original idea, which means I am grateful to the printer’s malfunction. What I hope I can do now is to translate that to our family. If our outing yesterday was the printer jamming, then the way we relate to each other in the coming week would correlate to the improved, more interesting quilt.
And I’ll say it here for the record (look again at the spade-like leaves occupying near center of the quilt), the energy and intelligence that goes into rebelling are good things. Something Shepard Fairey knows for sure.