The little Uncommon Threads group of which I've been a part only a few months, chose to make an art quilts 12x18 of "architecture". My quilt is a slightly enlarged version of an "antique" quilt pattern, a free download, from the American Quilter's Society called "Nolan's Houses."
I wanted to make something like the houses one glimpses through the trees driving along almost any two- lane road on Cape Cod. I pulled out my scrap collection and used all kinds of colors. The majority of houses here, of course, are white or gray shingled, but these various colors do exist. I guess it should be considered something like poetic (artistic) license. Many do have colorful doors.
The original pattern had a kind of Bauhaus rigidity but I think the colors undo most of that. The tree fabric for the stripping was a happy find in my stash. To me it gives the feeling of many of my drives through tree lined streets. On can rarely see an entire house facade because trees and shrubbery get in the way. I suppose I would give myself no higher mark than C if this were a school project and I know the serious quilt police would find many problems. Happily an art quilt can ignore most of those rules.
How I wish, sometimes, that I had an expensive camera with a long lens. But I might not have got so many of the starlings in one picture and, honest, I kid you not, the wire continued on at least as far on either side and was covered with birds. I'm sorry it was a gray day but, in fact, that is exactly the color the sky was. I was with my writing group when, to quote an inappropriate-season poem, "out o the lawn there arose such a clatter" -- should be "chatter" -- and we sprang from our seats to see what was the matter. It was a migrating flock of starlings.
In this area they are the only bird that migrates in large numbers. When I read about how pigeons used to fill the sky by the hundreds of thousands, I cannot imagine it, I can only remember the flocks of starlings like this. Sometimes a flock will land on the lawn outside my apartment. Not crowded together, if there are five hundred, it's possible for them to scatter over the lawn. They seem to each grab a bite or two of something from the grass (surely there aren't that many bugs!) and then they lift off and move on.
Summer is definitely my favorite season, but autumn isn't far behind. At the moment I'm looking for a nice big red or gold leaf to copy in a quilt I am planning to make. I must take some walks in the neighborhood and perhaps around a near-by pond. I'm sure I'll find what I need.
These are berries I call "bitter sweet". Sometimes they are orange instead of yellow. They are abundant in October; these were on Long Beach where I have been walking all summer. But now it is October. Three days of relentless rain and gray skies, tells me summer has ended and autumn has come. Autumn is a bittersweet season.
Visually it is a burst of color that is magnificent, more so than the many flowers of summer, more so than the brilliant blue skies and long sunny days of summer. Autumn is a season and it is a metaphor. I have just written a rather disjointed little piece about my experiences of autumn -- starting with October visits to my mother when we would go for drives to view the leaves in all their glory. They were wonderful in Southern Indiana but it was even more magnificent in Upstate New York where I lived at the time. the season is different in different parts of the country. Famously beautiful in New England, upstate New York can't be equalled -- say I, in a chavinistic mood because I saw tidal waves of color on the hills in that area that surely cannot be equaled anywhere. I supposed that is arguable.
Of course there is always the parallel, the metaphor, of the autumn of our lives. The ripe period of maturity which I feel I'm in now in my 70s. I think of the excitement I felt at a gathering of a small group of art quilters the other day. My own contribution nothing I want to brag about along side the fine art work of others. It is what it is. The theme was architecture. My rather traditional quilt of buildings among the trees -- the way I experience driving many of the Cape Cod two-lane roads -- was perhaps less creative than others. And less obviously metaphorical than the piece created by a woman whose husband died this past summer. She had pictured two of the iconic dune shacks of the outer Cape, one standing firm on it's dune and the other tipped, sliding away at an angle beside it. I did not remark on the meaning I saw immediately -- a woman still on her two feet even though the mate is sliding away. This is art -- the kind of art that simply happens when the artist is in touch with her feelings. I was very moved by that little quilt. And I believe her perseverence is bitter sweet. She is not the only widow of this summer in whom I view a strength. That is a part of the meaning of autumn.
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!