Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bad Taste, Ugh

I should have tossed that awful pig fabric. But, no, my thriftiness won out. Worse, I put the nine squares of it together with stripping of blue POLKA DOTS echoing the polka dot dress of a silly girl piggy. And this horrible example of bad, bad design -- the "artist's" and mine -- will be presented to some innocent tot who may not know any better ... how could he or she after exposure to equally awful stuff on TV? I should be ashamed ... I am, actually.

This is the worst of three "charity" quilts I've made and will take to the next guild meeting. A requirement of membership is making one charity quilt per year per member. I try to make two or three. They're quick and use fabric that I've acquired in grab-bags and such that I know I'll use no other way. I wanted to turn them in before Christmas because last year I was very moved when one of the recipient organizations wrote a thank you saying that several homeless children received no other Christmas gifts except the quilts. In this city where the children who live in the building I live in are not among the richest, by far, have SO much. Yet some children have nothing unless an organization makes quilts or gathers books or toys. I know society has ever been thus; but in such a wealthy city such inequality is heartbreaking.

Because of the hip problem I didn't get to meetings in November or December so I've only just finished three quilts. The other two are less disgusting. They have rather dumb cats but at least the cats are not pretending to be people. There is an inane conceit that animals become lovable when they are drawn as if they are people with animal heads -- but not real animal heads for these pigs have plastered on human smiles. Ugh! If I really think about it, it's enough to ruin one's breakfast.

We had pigs on the farm where I grew up, they were animals that demanded a certain respect. "They can get mean," my father warned. "Don't fool around with them." They were dirty and smelly and made disgusting noises when they were fed. Sometimes the sows at their babies and often times rolled over on one or two and crushed them. Such information was simple facts of farm life, not something to hide from children. I stayed of of the pig pen.

Although I'm embarrassed to have made the pig quilt, I'm delighted with the Laurel Burch cats. The latter are equally stylized but the differences are enormous. Of course cats are both more personable and more dignified than pigs. Beyond that there's the designer's intent and personality. These cats aren't pretending to be anything other than cats; but Burch has colored them with a high spirited joy. She has also given them totally cat-ty expressions. I've never had such brightly colored cats but I recognize the attitudes. And they remind me of a book I found a couple years ago called PAINTING CATS. Yes, there are people who paint, or dye, their cats' coats, treating their cats as art objects [to be as kind as possible -- there are other ways to look at the practice.]

A brief but vivid pig memory: two years ago I was in Thailand, in a tribal village in the north. Dogs, chickens, pigs wandered the streets along with the women who were eager to sell us their handicrafts. A sow walked up the path and then lay down beside it. Immediately at least a dozen piglets -- six or seven inches long, maybe a month old -- scrambled and tumbled from the weeds beside the path and attached themselves to her teets scramblng for a place, piling on top of one another, bigger ones shoving smaller ones underneath the pile. The only descriptor is "feeding frenzy." They not only sucked, slurped and grunted, they literally bounced up and down as they did so. I've never seen any baby animal so frenzied. This went on for four or five minutes; then they were satisfied and, with a couple more spasms, became utterly calm, still clamped to her teets. The almost wild, cannibalistic madness turned to a maternal scene fit for a child's picture book -- dozing babies beside the calm, drowsy, vast maternal source of all sustanence.

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