Today's speaker at the Bayberry Quilters Guild meeting was Sarah Ann Smith from Maine. She is especially known for her journal quilts but also teaches other aspects of quilting. Today's lecture and display of her work was the journal quilts; she brought quite a few she had made and exhibited in the Houston show. She also had a slide show with many examples of other quilter's journal quilts. For anyone who doesn't know, Journal quilts are usually the size of a piece of typewriter paper, i.e., 8-1/2 by 12 inches. Although there's no rule and anyone deciding to make her own set of journal quilts can chose the size that suits her. The first picture is a self-portrait Sarah Ann did, I especially like the yellow hair that escapes the frame of the central picture. It is a nice likeness. I think we all could relate when she said it took a good many photos to get one she liked enough to work with.
The next picture is one I especially liked because she not only found a way to do a quilt about night, but she put her family -- in silhouette -- in the picture. You may have to click and enlarge the image to see the family well. I love the way she handled this element. The last picture is from as series about the elements, here, it's fire of course, with the Firebird. Sarah Ann used the journal quilts to experiment with all kinds of new techniques which included a lot of use of sheer fabrics and unusual surfaces like Angelina fibers, heat treated Tyvek, couching, beading, all kinds of machine thread work and much else. It was usually in service of an image even when she did a series to work on her color sense.
I would have loved to photograph more but many other women were trying to get a good look and I didn't want to stand in everyone's way. I did explain to her that a year or two before I first heard about the journal quilt project, I had decided to do a journal or "diary" of daily quilts, only 4x6 inches to record my 65th year of life. It was a good year and I knew it was going to be one of a kind. The diary quilts were, of course small and some were extremely simple, but each related to that particular day in some way. I missed a few days, but only 10 or 15 total. I have them, of course. I Xeroxed many and made a book of them. I don't really know what else to do with them -- I put 20 went into a wall quilt. I've thought of writing a verbal journal about the year and using them as illustration but I don't think I am inclined to do that -- they served the expressive purpose I needed at the time.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!