This was made during an intense period of caregiving for my sister so for that reason I can place it in time — about eight and a half years ago. I was really angry about it all at the time. It’s a piece of muslin that was written on, ripped into strips, woven and then top stitched with couched threads and other bits of fabric. I gessoed the surface at the end, or applied white paint — that part I can’t remember. It’s been fun to see some old pieces.
It’s a clear day! K is home and rattling around upstairs. I’m making coffee. Finn has his play date. K and I are loading the Subaru with step stool, drill, vacuum, tarps and baking soda and heading to Salem. It’s not The moving day, but we’ll ferry a couple of trunk loads over.
Two posts in a day? What can I say — we’ve got an epic storm unfolding outside and I’ve got a magnificent dog.
During the first blocks of our walk, Finn was rubbing his muzzle in the snow and it was fun and novel and exciting. But then we cut behind the VFW building and emerged out into the wind tunnel that is Langley Road. Whew! Here was a bit of “the bomb”. I could hardly see, even with glasses on my face. Finn got more subdued.
Once we headed down a wooded road toward the Upper Field, I fumbled with one glove and a zippered pocket to get out my camera. Nearly pulled out and dropped a credit card. Nearly dropped the phone. DID drop the leash.
But here’s the brag: a sharp “COME” and Finn turned and came right back to me. Please note: we were less than a block from an off leash field. What can I say? He’s not this responsive all the time, but how great was that? How great is he?
The end of the Upper Field was barely visible from the cul de sac. Compare the snowy picture with the one I took yesterday.
With a dog-reactive dog, the storm imposed both good and bad conditions. On the plus side, no one else was likely to be out. On the negative side, I sure wouldn’t see them coming!
Cheerful is not a natural state for me. I actually wonder if it is for anyone. But maybe because it’s almost Easter… Maybe because it got above 60 degrees for the first time in forever… Maybe because I can almost see the ground in the backyard again and I bought pansies today — I am going to add sun rays to the orb on this quilt. Exactly as if I were in second grade and coloring!
Parenting means being interrupted. And it means improvising.
D itching under cast just like the doctors said not to
Long gone are the days when I craved a solitary bowel movement, or wistfully anticipated the reclined dentist’s chair for the quiet it represented (those were intense times — with two extremely active boys, neither of them particularly inclined toward napping!!). With a seventeen and a nineteen year old in the house now, the frequency and urgency behind the interruptions have changed, but the fact of them has not. They continue — as they should.
Add to the parenting — a disabled sister for whom I am the sole support (my brother sends money from the West Coast, and that helps, but NOT with the day to day) and a husband who travels often to Asia, and you begin to get the picture here. Our dog is a piece of work, too – requiring special accommodation for getting up and down stairs, for the correct positioning of his food bowl, and a three-person-applied muzzle for basic grooming. Lately, he’s been ill (I think he’s better, but not quite sure).
Relax! I have already ranted in my Morning Pages. This was done while drinking coffee in Newtonville and waiting for the camera shop to open, so that I could purchase photo paper for D. and then deliver it to the high school (speaking of interruptions)…
(I would love to know what the business types in the coffee shop thought of this deranged-looking woman scrawling across a notebook page in ink nearly as fast as one could speak the words…)
And anyway, if I was going to rant it would be about our fucking computer ‘upgrades’ which have produced a series of repeating and ever-unfolding glitches, such that it is nearly a form of torture to blog (one of the reasons for the gaping pauses of late).
No, I would rather look at boundaries.
White House with Red Boundary
Last night, I surrounded the White House with an edge. It really changes the composition, perhaps in too obvious a manner, but I’m willing to entertain it for awhile. Study it some. The thread is red, it is true, but it doesn’t scream red. Maybe that’s because it was hand-dyed in India and billed as “Meditation Thread”.
Maybe it is because there is relief associated with having boundaries. From knowing where the house ends and the sky and yard begin. Recently I have learned the difference between asserting ‘a need’ and shouting a demand. I discovered that need does not have to be associated with basic survival.
Remedial insight, perhaps. But I share it here because I think it governs my response to this red.
The sky poofs and tuckers in places and will require some attention. I find a lot of quilting to be (in my case, anyway) the resolution of problems created earlier in the process. Not unlike parenting, yes?
As for the bump in the bottom edge and the frayed intersection of the thread-ends, I am going to let those be for awhile, too. I like the idea of an imperfect boundary, or one that flexes to its surroundings. I like the idea, too, of having an obvious place where the boundary’s ‘gate’ resides, so that it does not come across or function as a solid and permanent fixture. Maybe having had a swinging door for so long makes the idea of a fixed boundary too difficult.
when the edges meet (and a bump)
In any case, it is food for thought. And, here are some red lines from the garden this morning. Once you start seeing a red line, or a window (right, Jude?), or a bird in your work, you start to see it everywhere.
red lines as stalks/support
Around the other side of the house, rhubarb is ripening! Almost time for my annual Strawberry Rhubarb pie. An exception to 2013’s gluten-abstinence will have to be made!
As I look at this composition, I begin to think about vulnerability… what is transparency, after all, if not the quality of letting oneself be known? (IRS, take note!) I have been looking at other works-in-progress back lit in this manner for many months, so it’s not clear why THIS one speaks of transparency and the others did not. Perhaps it is due to vigorous conversations (with Grace and others) about boundaries, about where to draw the line (a red line, perhaps?) to maintain the necessary sanctuary to create, care giving and its demands, and the desire to be seen.
rectangle with 2 folds = house
scraps from former quilt – many patches are fabric that I bleached in order to whiten
It began with ‘Ghost House’ leftover scraps, and was a conscious attempt to marry two recently made houses – both of which left me dissatisfied (The Red House quilt and The White House quilt) [links to follow – I don’t have much time this morning]. I laid the scraps on white, continuing the exploration of WHITE for my online class with Jude Hill (Spirit Cloth, side bar).
part of the roof is white, with stitch and couching, only, to define
There is white on the base, too, which I might build up all around – picking up on Jude’s idea of moving from white as a ‘background’ to white as a field of interest, with texture, and something to say besides, ‘look at what is on me’. I actually seamed some white fabrics together, to use as building struts in the frame… only one made it into the house – that long vertical to the right of the blue window (and yes, I know the tower has the appearance of a goofy face, a fact I’m going to correct with another window or two).
hanky scrap from Sandy Meegan pinned, center
The red thread is ‘Meditation Thread’ hand-dyed in India. I like the idea of red, with its vigor and visibility standing in as a symbol of a well-maintained boundary (Imagine that! A sanctuary bounded with quiet intent and silent, purposeful endeavor!! Not angry protestations and complaint). I wonder what each compartment holds.
what if the Nine Patch will only be implied and transient?
I see the nine patch and wonder if I have the energy and wherewithall to enlarge this quilt in order to make the nine patch more than an ephemeral creation of morning sun and muntin shadow. I don’t need to decide to continue.
Many more works on the table, pinned to the wall, up against the western glass doors, and laid out on the dining room table for design-viewing.
same thread around White House, unsuccessful, but a spur to new Tower