Chop chop, Fizz Fizz, Oh What a Relief it is!

A little ruthlessness can go a long way, particularly with little pieces that seem to be going nowhere.  This chunk was the bottom of a piece roughly four times as big.  It started as pure abstraction.  It started as another lap-size piece that would accommodate my need to work upstairs, without my machine.  It was a continuation of a new-found love of handquilting with buttery layers.

I then thought I saw a figure in the shapes and started to turn the blue shape into the dress  of an angel (the little green tip of embroidery, upper right, was a foot).  I kept stitching, kept adding thread and time, and the result was getting further and further away from anything that I could stand to look at.

At first I was going to chuck it.  Something I plan to do more of in the future.  Just chuck it.

But then I cut it up and now I have some pieces that I want to play with.  I have a drawer full of cut-up-quilt chunks.  The new thing here is — What if I created something specifically for cutting up (as opposed to cutting up rejects, only?)  We shall see.  We shall see.

I also cut up a piece that had used a lovely, transferred image of an angel from a notecard as its centrepoint.   Even though the image had been cut out, incorporated into a collage, then transferred to clear acetate and then sewn onto a quilt…  everytime I looked at it my heart said, “Copyright violation.  Copyright violation” (think of the ‘land shark’ from Saturday Night Live in the late 70’s to get the voice right).  Even when I considered finishing the piece as a gift or for my own wall, I felt the drag of the copyright violation.  So, I chopped up THAT angel too (jeez, this is starting to sound like a nasty theme).

The upper left teeny bit shows just a corner of the acetate collage.

I am reveling in the process of letting go of objects that feel negative and seem destined to continue provoking a negative response.

(This is NOT like the difficult part of constructing a quilt where design problems need to be resolved… where you are INVESTED in the process, you CAN’T WAIT to see how it turns out, where you feel ONTO SOMETHING).

In the case of the Acetate Angel (sounds like a name Craig Ferguson might have danced under — you’d have to watch his show to get this reference), I was dreading the prospect of spending many hours to quilt and bind a project that screamed ‘copyright violation’ everytime I looked at it, even if I was never going to put it near the public’s eye.

Not so long ago, I would have done so, out of a kind of compulsion.  I suppose that’s why it feels very liberating NOT TO.

12 thoughts on “Chop chop, Fizz Fizz, Oh What a Relief it is!

  1. albedoarlee

    never finish just because it “needs” finishing—put it in a drawer and look at it in a month, 6 months, a year–then cut it up and incorporate elsewhere—or give it away,that’s liberating too :}
    sometimes finishing, as in letting it rest for awhile in its current state, is a beginning, sometimes an ending, and often a middle ground

  2. deemallon

    funny how much all of this reads like a lesson in life, isn’t it? letting things rest, seeing stalls as incubation, or ends as beginnings?

    I often put things away for stretches of time (and b/c I’m a slob, not always intentionally — they just get buried!) — the Acetate Angel unearthed herself around Christmas after a long span on a shelf…. the other was new and I could have put it away for awhile, but it was fun to chop.

  3. Paloma

    Great dialogue with your work, I love how you let your materials talk to you. I think that when you are an artist you also become a great listener. You’re able to “slow-cook” your pieces, and no matter what they are never finished…I think that is one of the differences between arts and crafts. I love the X and + stitches!!

  4. Robin

    I think you are so right–some pieces just accumulate negative energy and need to go. I need to go reevaluate my old stack and see what should be chopped and what should be released.

  5. deemallon

    great point about listening, Paloma… and I guess that’s part of why having pieces hung on the first floor where I can walk by them while on my way to something else, allows a kind of “sideways” attention, which is a looking/listening with a different focus…

    Robin — I am boring myself with this repetition — but I have long maintained that one of the great pleasures of middle age is throwing shit out.

    I have been giving some objects undeserved ‘staying rights’ just b/c I invested time and energy in them. have fun sorting through your stuff!

  6. Kaye

    I’m just discovering the pleasure of letting things go too, dee. I think you’re right, it’s to do with maturing. And also to do with knowing oneself slightly better over time, perhaps. I really like the first piece with its simple shapes. Abstractions so often look better cut up. I think of it like molecular science – you can’t destroy the atom (unless you have an atom bomb, which, thankfully, most of us haven’t): you can change it but still it’s the same atom, retaining its atom-ness no matter what form you change it into. I don’t know if I explained that very well. I see this happening with your angels.

  7. deemallon

    thanks for stopping by and for your comments, Kaye and Carolyn.

    Intuitively, what you’re saying about retention of form, Kaye, makes a lot of sense. I wonder how being more conscious of that might change the play.

    and speaking of letting go, fabric should ship TODAY.

  8. Emelie

    Hello, I am Emelie and an art Quilter with a gaudy desire to create things. I do a busy painting and a busy quilt.

    I found your site very stimulating and found freedom radiating from the words spoken here. Beautiful things put together this way gives a fabric lover freedom to use and a random way yet not so random if it is understood.

    In a month I will be giving a talk as gust speaker to a group of traditional quilters on the fun of tearing, cutting off what you don’t like if it doesn fit, using a tiny bit of glue when you run our of pins, not worrying about seams, layering, and you know the rest.

    So I am here and finding wonderful humerous words that I can incorperate, vocabulary that is fun and refreshing.

    I just finished a quilt that layed in the bottom of a box for 10 yrs. I don’t love it but I sort of like it. After all I begged an upholsterer for it as it layed in a heap under a table.

    Thank you for the visit.

    1. deemallon

      Hi Emelie — thank you for your feedback. I like the many faces in your work. Enjoy talking to your group… quilting has changed a lot in the last 20 years!


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