This fishy quiltie has been sent to it's new owner-to-be. The theme of a swap was "Under the Sea" so I did miniature paper pieced tropical fish from my scrap bag with a batik background with coral reef-ish purples mixed in with the blues. Of course rickrack is not at all usual under the sea but I've been working with rickrack lately and it just seemed appropriate, being wavy and therefore watery.
I was wearing my quilted jacket yesterday in the college cafeteria when a woman told me most enthusiastically that I must go to the Centerville Museum to hear a lecture about quilts from someone who's "done a lot of research." She was an enthusiastic salesman. So I went this afternoon. I maintained my cool and said nothing at all negative as -- and after -- I listened to a woman who had done "some" research, but not much, who had never made a quilt and possibly never owned one talk about a few she had in hand and show half a dozen slides. One of the quilts she described was borrowed from a man who is an historian; I visited in his house a couple of months ago. He showed me about the quilt and told me it's story at length. The speaker murdered the description.
Surely the people who put together this village's museum's programs know that a very large quilt guild -- and several smaller ones -- exist on Cape Cod. Surely they know that two stores devoted to quilting fabrics exist within five miles of the museum. Surely anyone wanting an expert in quilting would think of contacting either the guild or the owners of the stores on the assumption that someone with real knowledge could be found to give a talk. They did nothing of the sort. They presented half-baked information to a group of women who seem complacent and happy in their ignorance which was in no way alleviated by today's talk. These are not dumb people; but they perpetuate their own ignorance while seeming to want information. I don't understand. Is it laziness? I find it sad.
[The above art quilt was on show last summer at the International Quilt Show I attended, I'm sorry I don't have the maker's name. This kind of art quilt was not within the vocabulary of anyone at today's gathering. I wanted, in the worst sort of way, to get up and talk to them -- not to show off but because when subject I love and am knowledgeable about is murdered I want to right the wrong. But we were all "ladies" who certainly don't rock anyone else's boat.]
Here is a bit of poetry that I have lifted from another blog, Killthemwithcraftiness.blogspot.com. As you see it is by the Sufi poet Hafiz, who lived, I think, approximately in the 12th century [don't hold me to that]. But, what a powerful observation! How many ruminations it suggests to us.
The guest speaker today at the Bayberry Quilters' Guild was Michelle Buda from California, who gave an often amusing talk about her quilting history as a dyslexic person to whom pictures made more sense than words. She has developed a technique of layered fabrics and extensive thread painting and currently does very large quilts of flowers. She is especially adept at doing roses but, for my taste, I find roses wonderful in nature both in form and scent but I liked her zinnias mainly because the flowers often seem coarse in reality, while her quilted ones are just wonderful. She gets wonderful, vibrant colors by combining commerical fabric and her thread painting. I am astonished at the amount of work these quilts take -- one glance at the backs tell the story of her thread painting which is painstaking and beautiful.
I went with a group of Bayberry Quilt Guild colleagues to the Machine Quilting Expo in Providence, R.I. on Thursday. I took very few photos. I did not fall in love with most of what I saw. Some small whole cloth machine quilted pieces were awesome -- in its proper usage. Of the "how did anyone have the patience to do something so perfectly?" Those are quilts I just look at with my jaw agape and do not aspire to do. I felt that many of the "regular" pieced quilts were marvelously done, a little baroque and not especially interesting. I felt a sameness, a lack of inspiration. Two pieces of thread painting by Barbara McKie which I'd already seen in magazines, a Sheltie and a cat lapping water from a running faucet were brilliantly done. The cat looked most amazing in a magazine, but looking at them I found the Sheltie more appealing. Funny, as I've mentioned often, what photographs can do. I have been watching the advance of the so called "modern" quilts which are, in effect, a return to quite simple piecing, often one patch, with lots of white or carefully chosen, relatively muted colors. A pair of young men quilters had a display of at least a dozen such quilts. These two photos are theirs. The machine quilting on them is close together but very simple, usually straight lines, not even stippled. I find this simplicity refreshing after the over the top piecing and embroidery that is on most of the quilts that win ribbons in shows today.
The convention hall in Providence is a very nice venue for a quilt show. The lighting is uniformly excellent. There is plenty of space for this show and for the many vendors -- many, of course with long arm machines that cost almost as much as compact car. Ah, but with them, one can start a cottage industry and earn the money back ... with a lot of hard work, of course. I am not a proponent of technology for it's own sake but I think the initial gaga reaction to long arm quilting is giving way to more judicious practices. Good.
This new book from SAQA [Studio Art Quilt Association] is a treat and delight. Edited by Martha Seilman it shows quilts that picture the natural world -- some are almost as realistic as a photograph, others are various levels of abstract. The photos are sharp and beautiful. Best of all, for me, is the extensive description by selected artists of their work -- the hows and whys of what they do. Wonder how on earth a quilter created that incredible peacock? It's explained in the book, in fact, it's by Barbara McKie whose progress as a quilt artist I've been following for nearly 30 years. Like many other fine artists, she just keeps doing new things and getting more amazing. In fact I'm going to a Machine Quilters Expo this week; I went to last year's show (in Providence, R.I) and stood for a good five minutes in front of one of McKie's quilts entranced by the delicacy of the thread painting.
I've been told by my family that I'm the only person they know who actually reads art books. I do. I love looking at the pictures but I love knowing as much as I can about who did that and how. This book's actual publication date was yesterday but Amazon -- canny old, well programmed Amazon -- offer it to be two weeks ago. Very highly recommended.
Rachel and I like to walk on Sunday afternoons, very often on woodland trails or alternately along the seashore. But today is one of those spring days when the flowers have burst out, the leaves are unfolding and we chose a gracious area near a marsh with well cared for houses and gardens. Almost as delightful as the forsythia and daffodils, one or two azaleas in purple glory, was the thatched roofed barn standing on it's own yard surrounded by stone walls and split rail fence. A very, very handsome building. I wish I had a camera with a good lens instead of a small point and shoot camera. The details at the top of the barn are scalloped and beautiful. A wooden owl stands over one door, sparkling glass balls grace the lightening rods. I assume it was a working barn for the early years of its life but it now a well kept landmark. We were near marshes that separate the habitable land from the bay. One picture shows a stream debauching from under a bridge and spreading out to flow on through the marsh.
Driving home, near a parking lot we use when we walk in a wooded area, we saw a fox. It seemed to know where it was going but it was not running away. It was rather like a boy who knows the backyards and what's to be found there. He looked very healthy and purposeful. It was actually the first wild fox I have ever seen although Rachel says there is an area a few towns away where she very often sees foxes.
In summary, it couldn't have been a better spring afternoon.
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!