Sunday, October 12, 2008

Closet Cache

Closet cleaning is not very different from that habit of NY antique hunters known as "dumpster diving." Yes, they scour dumpsters for discarded antiques of all kinds. When I decided to hunt for a collection of neckties (acquired for quilting purposes, of course) I found I had apparently had a previous fit of closet cleaning and given them away. Good idea -- I just didn't remember having done it and had suggested to someone I'd swap ties for other quilting goodies. Alas! Too late.

BUT I did unearth forgotten and partially forgotten quilts. The pictured one above I had utterly forgotten -- and it was stored so long crumpled that I can't easily straighten the top and am hoping time will help. It's a fairly puffy quilt so I don't want to get out the iron first off. It's nicely dramatic and I remember why I liked making it. It's more eye catching that the quilt below which has been hanging where this one now is.

This quilt has more sentimental value but is artistically a failure. It has three photo transferred scenes of me trekking in Mustang [a sub-kingdom in northwestern Nepal] one of the best trips I ever took. So I've enjoyed having it to glance at often, and I like the prayer flags on the top which "came" to me -- truly. One morning when I had just finished the quilt I went out of my building early and there they were on the sidewalk. Literally. It happened to be a time when the Dalai Lama was in NYC and I think someone lost them who was going to or had come from one of his teaching sessions. But I truly felt they were a gift. So, lots of sentimental value.

This quilt I had not forgotten but did not know where it was stored so I was happy it surfaced and it will probably go on the wall for some part of the winter. These are the eight auspicious signs in Tibetan Buddhism. They are replicas of paintings on a small shrine building on the roof of one of the sections of Sera Monastery near Lhasa. I photographed all eight. At home my artistic daughter, Rachel. painted them on the squares of fabric and then I made the quilt -- this one is entirely hand quilted.

The colors were so bright because when I saw them, in 1997, the Chinese had allowed some restoration of the mostly destroyed monasteries so those recently painted signs were a part of that loosening of the noose. I cannot think of Sera without thinking "beautiful" - Sera, I believe, means rose for there were once, I've read, many wild roses there. It was the most graciously situated and proportioned monastery I saw. Beautiful. So this quilt far more successful than the trek one makes me very happy.

I found also a quilt of photo transfers of doors and windows, mostly from Tibetan travels. I don't know why I used the ugly colors I did. I'm seriously thinking of taking it all apart, salvaging the photos and making an entirely new quilt ... not soon, however. There's too much in the works. Closet clearing, like dumpster driving, is full of surprises. And that's only one of three closets where the high shelve are stacked to the ceiling with boxes or blanket bags of quilts. Who knows what other surprises await another day of discovery?

No comments :