One thing at a time

Global Warming - in progress

Global Warming – in progress

It’s not clear to me when the intentionally chaotic Global Warming quilt (a jumble meant to depict the effects of climate change) shifted from design to “visual clutter”.  But, it did. Which means that I have changed.

Two questions emerge: How much do our aesthetics change over time? What makes them change?

Looking and learning online has decidedly been a factor.  All those gorgeous eco-dyed fabrics. The Slow Cloth movement. The classes with Karen Ruane (contemporary embroidery) and Jude Hill (Spirit Cloth). In particular, I have learned to appreciate a softer palette, unprinted fabrics, and embroidered surface design. I will always be a sucker for polka dots. And paisleys. And certain florals. And stripes. Well, okay, a collage sensibility means that in all likelihood I will forever love printed fabrics, but something has shifted.

Nowadays, I want the prints to have SPACE around them. Breathing space. Space to rest. This is exactly parallel to how I feel in life – there is too much shit everywhere in my house and the calendar has been ridiculously chopped up. Not enough space to breathe or rest.

Because I have worked too long and hard on making all the sections on the quilt pictured above relate to each other, I won’t cut it up. It’s nearly done anyway. The four or five companions in the series, though?  Maybe not. Because I am itching to see what happens when I take a section of vibrant, crazy, patched color and surrounded it with pure blue or shades of white. . .

ONE THING AT A TIME. I will add breathing room on the NEXT quilt. Jack is teaching me the unbelievable value of taking one thing at a time. With a quilt, that can mean very simply, taking one thread at a time, or one patch at a time, or one quadrant at a time.  One can rest in that, too.

12 thoughts on “One thing at a time

  1. perlhuhn52

    I imagine a silence you can see… perhaps with your way to put on thing at a time.
    I think what we create has always its mirror with out inner way of being. So it is impossible to create the exactly same style for years. There are parts that will stay with us because it belongs to us but apart from that there is a lot of space for development.
    And the same thing is what we like in the work of others. I´m too attracted by printed fabrics but at the moment I prefere it simpler for myself but I love to look at your houses and even at the global warming chaos.

  2. Peggy

    Some thoughts while reading this — traveling the spiral of life and discovering that we are just a little different as we revisit a familiar place/season/situation/point on the spiral. And balance. And opposites. And as the above comment says — the mirror. I see this in myself, too. It’s all good.
    In the meantime, this gem of a piece achieves that sense of movement you were going for! xo

  3. deedeemallon

    Doris – we are not the same people year to year – that is so true. I am a little surprised at how much I want to alter/reduce/simplify these Global Warming pieces though – I had not expected to shift that much.

  4. deedeemallon

    Hi Peggy, The mirror analogy is a good one. I also think of brewing… adding hops, sugar, yeast, then letting things sit a good long while, and seeing what appears.

    1. deedeemallon

      Well it is here and in ways we can notice. It’s not just elsewhere now or down the road.

  5. Nancy

    While I understand what you’ve said here…and agree with Peggy on the spiral thing (I was just thinking about that spiral concept yesterday!)…and while I am also becoming attracted to a quieter scene (in cloth & in life)…
    I also really like the fullness of this piece and the way it invites you in for a closer look. In a sense that is a different way to rest – to zero in on one place or another and indulge in a long look. Because this is what we must do in our everydays…focus in and look.
    Thank you for your post.

    1. deedeemallon

      Thank you Nancy for the idea that being pulled in creates a kind of stillness. I wouldn’t have thought of that. Not in a million years.

  6. Ayn

    This beautiful piece, it’s packed with so much, and isn’t it funny how when we step back and contemplate what we’ve been working on how it does reflect what’s going on in our lives? I think that is the wonder of art and life really, the connectedness, and the growth and change that comes from that self-reflection. The creative “what-iffing” that keeps the magic going.

  7. saskia

    oh it’s difficult going back to ‘older’ unfinished pieces because what you set out to do has been ‘compromised’ or whatever you want to call it by new, different experiences etc; I have cut up several paintings and they became utterly other pieces, I like to believe the old layer(s) still breathe-s into the finished piece and it could only have become what it became through this at times horrible process of getting rid of bits I really loved…..
    sometimes all it takes is one single bit of fabric or a brush stroke to make you want to redo the whole, but anyway you know that and I just wanted to add my bit I guess

  8. deedeemallon

    Yes, yes, how true that the way our product reflects our lives is quite amazing — even an old, old piece has a way of saying something current.

    I think the finishing process — updating, negotiating the compromises of time and new growth, whatever you want to call it — is bringing up TIME issues. In other words, do I want to spend TIME — and in some cases, it would need to be a significant amount of time — to finish something that feels ‘no longer me’ (somehow, maybe not completely) ? I have to figure out where the greater energy lies — is it in wending my way with a previously pieced quilt to a finish, or is it chucking the attempt?

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