The spring light flooded our family room late this afternoon. I don’t remember it ever being lit up like this before. By the time I got my camera out, it was the shadows that interested me, so I haven’t captured the golden warm moment at all, really. I share the photo of our kitchen TV and dinner clutter only because it DOES capture the light a bit better.
When I look at this picture and I don’t think, “Gee, cool, there I am in the reflection.” No, I think, “Why was that light on?!”
Soon, our neighbor’s 200 year old copper beech will leaf out, and the light will be dappled and less intense (and that’s nice too).
With the poppy pillow commission finished, I can finally get back to my big-big quilt.
Recycled shirts and tiny pieces of Most Favored Fabrics (like a trading status!) are turning into huts and villages, here and there.
I took so much time to piece these big sections, that it would be a shame if I hid all the evidence of that work (i.e., the SEAMS), but that is the temptation right now…
That blue spade fabric (a roof of rain?) is cotton that K. brought back from India last month. It was hard to cut, because it was such soft cotton, but cut I did. It is one of many fabrics that translates into “RAIN” in this piece.
I keep going back and forth on this project. Should I complete it as intended (roughly 7′ x 4′), or break it into sections and move the thing along?
This little section (photo above) floated upstairs today and looks complete to me.
But I’m not quite willing to give up the big design yet.
Because I am not a planner, at this stage of production I often find ‘log jams’, or areas where the rectangular pieced sections are not lining up and where I am not willing to chop or add to accommodate completing a rectangle.
Once I pinned up some green grosgrain to divide sections, it suddenly seemed (seamed?) do-able. Note to self: remember that this is a visual process and that you have a visual sensibility (“DOH”).
There have been quilts that undergo enormous changes at this phase… quilts where I find myself swapping out some of the larger chunks. This has been partially in service of making the rectangles fit (think “Tetris”) and partially because it can be fun to see how things look when the design is a little less conscious.
This particular piece, however, has been in formation for well over a year and I am eager to get to the final stretch. And, I am feeling a strange loyalty to the design as I have constructed it.
The edges will pose problems. My plan is to use some of the cool-toned patterns (the Anna Maria Horner large blue floral and a shimmery green near-solid) to fill in and frame the edges where I need another inch or two. I will TRY to avoid the temptation to keep piecing/adding complexity.
What will be fun is to create a slide show of the quilt in its many phases and see how it has changed over four seasons.
For the finish — instead of using a whole cloth back and pinning the entire thing up and shoving it through my Bernina with a great deal of cussing, I think I’ll quilt it in sections. I plan to use some overlays on the back, perhaps even with raw edges, to connect up.
Given that one of the problems with this piece is its scale — I really don’t love working this large — then it is obvious that if I want to continue producing pieces of this size, I have to figure out how to do it in a way that works with my style, studio space, equipment, and temperament.
Which reminds me that my word for 2010 is ‘congruence’.
I am so, so eager to find both the style of working and the subjects & images that really line up with who it is that stands with the needle in her hand, with the scissors at her side, and with her particular demons at her back.
Parts of the whole — vintage lace, cuff of New York City scenes polyester shirt, pale taupe and white shirt pieces (shells and floral clusters), phototransfer of Mexican flashcard (the ladder), iron on transfer of self portrait, inkjet-printed words on linen.
“I WANT TO GROW” was not the sentiment I began with, but as I pawed through my scraps of words and what I call “precious tidbits”, these two phrases seemed to work. I, in fact, DO want to grow. It seems odd to say this, but for a long time (the time almost exactly coinciding with the intensive years of parenting two boys, two years apart), my growth was not at all on the radar screen. Survival, more like. Their growth.
Here, a shell, ripe cherry tomatoes and peas, as well as a fragment of New York seem to echo the longing for ripening and fullness.
The ladder makes the rather obvious connection to UPWARD growth — not spiritual growth, necessarily — but certainly in a direction counter to downward. The fact that both of my parents grew up in Brooklyn makes the quilt resonate that much more. Both of my parents were from poor families. None of my grandparents went to college. They were seamstresses, bricklayers, and shipbuilders. My parents’ growth was up and out, in a way. They left the city, went on to have a family and careers. And mine? We shall see, I suppose. There is the question of time. I find it interesting that although I have a graduate degree in law, I am working with my hands — sewing and digging gardens.