Laura Wasilowski is a well known quilter whose bright compositions are mostly fused, not appliqued. She was today's speaker at the Bayberry Quilt Guild's final meeting of the season. Although most of her luggage didn't arrived in Providence, R.I., when she and her husband landed yesterday, and hasn't caught up with them yet, she had her computer with a well arranged slide show and she had her very funny stand-up comic routine.
Speakers usually tell us about their methods or their quilting history, show us some of their work (which she could have done had it arrived) but most speakers don't have the sense of humor and the prepared material to do a half hour or more of really very funny talking about her self and her quilting -- throwing in quite a few songs about everything from adopting her husband's Polish name to her mythological Chicago School of Fusing. She is a sponatneous artist, she dies all her own fabric and thread and simply gets an idea and begins cutting up fabric that has been fused. She keeps the trimmed scraps and incorporates them in future work.
It was a complete surprise to most of us that we would be so entertained and laugh so much -- we loved it. I wish all the speakers had her poise -- it's impossible to wish for her sense of humor because that is a totally personal trait. And her delivery was perfect. She will not fade in my memory as so many other speakers already have.
This is a detail of a small quilt of branches of a spring flowering tree. I had magnolias in mind but they're looking a bit more cherry blossom-y.
The method was : I layered four pieces of fabric. The top is the green hand dyed background of the design. Underneath is ivory, light pink and deeper pink. I added the branches which are zigzag stitched on. The I snipped into all three fabrics so I had six sections which I turned back and ironed -- that is tricky because they don't want to be ironed. Then I filled the empty middle space with a knot of a strip of one, and sometimes two, of the pinks. The knots seems to be a tightly furled bud with petals opening around it. I tacked the end of the knoted pieces in back so they would not slip around.
I used a picture from a book of Japanese arts for the placement of twigs and flowers, but I'm not very happy with my choice. Nevertheless, it's a few limbs. I will include the full picture of this little quilt, which I have finished with a pillow case style backing and a narrow band of hot pink piping at the edge. I think of this as mainly an experiment.
No, the hydrangias, as in the new header photo, are not out yet -- the rhododendrons and azeleas aren't either. Every season here has a different rhythm. It's definitely spring but the forsythia didn't open until near the end of April instead of early on as they usually do. A chill, sometimes very cold (even snowy) wind slowed their opening. That same kind of chill in the air has had them clinging, now a tired old gold instead of the original gay, sweet yellow, the leaves are timidly trying to emerge. The rhododendrons hesitate with tightly furled buds, not ready to open at all. Some azeleas, if they have been planted in reasonably sheltered spots where they get whatever sun the stingy sky has offered have opened but cling in a bewildered, slump-shouldered way. The daffodils and narcissus have opened and seem to stand around bewildered that time, for them is standing still.
Meanwhile rain has fallen every day for a week. The pundits say there's a "low pressure system" stuck above Cape Cod. I look out my window now at fog; it is soft and a bit romantic but I am terribly tired of it. Spring is late; we had only two days when people thought it had arrived. I watch people and see many have pulled out their flipflops. How cold their toes look. Here men of all ages seem to think wearing shorts is a delight, they look silly with their bony knees, hair legs above their socks and sneakers or other shoes. I remember my fashionable earlier days with short skirts and panty hosed legs and being very, very chilly in such weather. I don't do that any more. I haven't even pulled out the short sleeved tee shirts -- or the flip flops. Maybe sometime next week ... if the weather changes. In former years there have been wonderful April days when I walked on my favorite beach, bare foot, along the tide line enjoying the coolness of the water around my ankles. I have not even been to the beach -- the wind has been forbidding.
But "true" spring will come. The rosa rugosa will bloom, the plovers and terns will nest, and I will be able to go to the beach, find a quiet spot and do the tai chi easy which involves a period of deeply breathing that air off the water and contemplating the blue of the water and sky and perhaps some fluffy cumulus clouds drifting by, utterly peaceful, with no intent of spilling more rain.
A challenge to make a mini art quilt on a spring theme had me digging in the drawer with antique handkerchiefs. What's springier than all thost little bunches of flowers? So I affixed it to a quilted background with the border of sheer purple ribbon and the collection of mismatched tiny white buttons then added to the center a fancy-cut violet plant (or maybe it's a primrose) from a piece of decorator fabric, fused it on. Added a couple of butterflies and then a circle of narrow white lace to frame the plant. I was delighted that I'd recently been given the siver-tone buttons that are in the four corners of the ribbon. They are embossed with a lovely two flower design which can be seen if you click the image to enlarge it. This quilt is 12x12.
Now I am gathering ideas for a "tea party" mini art quilt for the same group. Plus I have another art quilt challenge to work on and three different ideas about how to go about it. Challenges are always fun for me.
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!