REALLY BIG OR REALLY OBSESSIVE
It is uncanny how the topics of each week’s study hit point blank on the aspects of my working life that I am trying to balance. (Perhaps why I signed up for this class in the first place… ☺) A justification for spending time working on my “art” (still find it hard to call it that) was production (that engineer looking over my shoulder). Having products to give and to be used practically and lovingly. Part of that is to be productive. In the early years of my quiltmaking I did everything by hand—cutting, piecing, quilting, etc. I often worked large. One of my favorite quilt designs was to take a patchwork pattern and make one block large enough for the entire quilt. Then I could play with my own hand quilting designs.
As new tools came out and wonderful sewing machines I shifted to doing less and less handwork. Now, I am intensely interested in making what I do (by machine or by hand) my mark. Mark making can become obsessive (wonderfully so)—at least in the specific projects. In the late 70s I made a string quilt and used a batting that came from EMS. These battings were manufactured for clothing and sleeping bags--very early polyester. Frankly, they were pretty awful. But the quilt was made with scraps from previous quilts, used clothing, garment-making (including early Japanese rayon from a kimono that my father bought me in Japan when he was consulting there). This quilt was used hard. The fabrics degraded from exposure to sun, washing, being tortured on little children’s beds. I considered tossing it. But then thought—wouldn’t it be fun to resurrect it with patching and stitching. It is a tramp’s quilt but I loved the effect of the stitching on the large patches.
Now that I am not purchasing new fabric any more I often need to alter what I have or cut it up small and piece it. I have a wonderful sewing machine with many built in stitches that would create wonderful visual texture. But it takes time to sew them out. I will give it my time now.
My husband and I just returned from a visit to Sarasota, FL, with my 95 year-old father. We stay in a hotel on the beach so that after each time with him we can find therapy in the ocean waves, smells, beach… While walking at sunset I was studying the bubbles of the waves on the incoming tide. I considered digitizing a machine embroidery pattern of bubbles and perhaps encircle a piece of driftwood with it. (It still need quilting…)
So from really large to really obsessive! Really big does not call to me any more…