Two New Journal Quilts — Economic Storm

Longwood Mall

Longwood Mall

We had more snow yesterday and last night, and I had a chance yesterday to stop by a group of magnificient beech trees and snap some pictures.  What is it about old beech trees that makes them so incredible?  They remind me of elephants or some other large and wise creature.  Well, perhaps they ARE large and wise creatures, but I mean large and wise creatures that can walk!

Brookline, Mass.

I made two Journal Quilts on Sunday, which ought to compensate for a missed week in February.  They both are scrappy, collage quilts that reference the economic storm.  On Sunday morning, I stopped by ‘America’s Favorite Thrift Store’, which is also MY favorite thrift store, and after a many-month dry spell, there were too many cool, printed men’s shirts to choose from!  The palm tree print came from one of my buys.

11.5" x 14"

Both Journal Quilts include a chunk of toile with a house in the landscape.  The smaller one, above, features a slub silk background mounted on a piece of sea green Lonni Rossi with script (referencing my sometime-view that while so much of what’s happening is unprecedented, somebody ought to have seen the writing on the wall… )  The effect is supposed to show the vulnerability that so many of us feel right now — a tiny house in a huge storm with high winds tossing about long-held notions, long-held savings…

I like it when the garment that I’m ‘upcycling’ (a favorite word on etsy) reveals some of its structure.  Here, I’ve accentuated a seam from the cut-shirt with some quilting that has one color thread in the bobbin, another color on top.  (This trick was discovered through laziness (I often STOP sewing for the day when my bobbin runs out rather than wind another…), but now I sometimes mismatch top and bottom threads intentionally because I like the effect).

Journal Quilt, 11" x 16"

The second Journal Quilt is a little longer, but includes that same stormy palm-printed shirt.  Here, the toile house is not a focal point, but off in the top right corner.  The focal point, instead, is the toile figure harvesting wheat (earning his bread — okay, I never said it was subtle).  Interestingly, (or not, I don’t know), this quilt did not feel complete until I obscured the harvester behind a dark rectangle.  Could that represent how punishing this experience is to years of hard work, saving, putting away, and living-within-our-means?  Well, of course.  This one needs a little more stitching around the edges of the green linen.

The precipitous zig zag, stitched in red below, represents the Dow (again, I didn’t promise subtlety!).

The little kids’ hands scooping up the balls  (can you see them in gold and black in close up above?) — has the feel of a kid who has lost at a game of marbles and is packing up to go home — representing the urge to sell stocks and stuff the money into a mattress.

Tomorrow, I’ll post a gratitude list so as to balance out the grim and ugly — (I guess that makes my harvester a “grim reaper”!)