I haven't touched salt waters of the ocean for a long time. I dream of it's depths on occasion, the way light filters down until it is blotted out by the blackness. I dream of being swallowed whole by the powerful waters, my weightless body pulled down, watching the sky above grow dark through a watery lens.Read More
To say it's been a long haul for this one is an understatement. It's my first finish for 2016, despite the fact that we are well into June.Read More
My last finish of 2015, Quilt no. 014, feels like an obvious but useful metaphor for this past year: start in one place and end in a different, unexpected place.Read More
When I left my apartment on a clear Saturday morning, I had only a handful of expectations about Sherri Lynn Wood Improvising from a Score workshop.Read More
Piecing this quilt brought me way back to the way I used to piece together corduroy and denim for bags when I was around 14 or 15.Read More
I spend a lot of my non-quilting time thinking about quilting. Pondering color palates at red lights, turning over ideas about composition while doing the dishes.Read More
I am envious of the talented quilters that populate my social media. I see them start and finish quilts and other projects in matter of weeks and months while I am still plodding along in my hand quilting.Read More
Part of the process of learning how to do something new is accepting the fact that sometimes what you make sucks. This especially important in the creative process, I think, because it is a push forward towards being better at the work you're trying to make. As Ira Glass has said, this is because of the gap between our skills and our taste.
I began to quilt because I needed to learn how to do something new that inspired me towards making stuff. Photography, while it is fundamentally important to my creative process, stopped feeling like a challenge. Right now, it feels like I know how to make the images I want to make. It feels like second nature. I was also tired of working in pixels, my final product a digital file on someone's screen. It felt really disposable. Without the time I was putting into the process and final product, it felt just too easy.
I had so much trouble with this quilt and I fucked up in all the ways one could fuck up. Let me tell you, dear reader, about them. The initial measurements from my vector files were wrong when I planned the quilt. Because of this, I didn't order enough fabric. Piecing took twice as long as I wanted it to. I didn't order enough of the backing fabric and so I had to (again!) add more fabric to the backing after it was basted. The back was puckered when it was basted together. Putting the binding on was time consuming and I had to do three times before I got the damn thing right. I washed it and wasn't happy with the way it looked when it first dried.
Despite all this, making this quilt made the transition between my life in Pennsylvania to my life as it has been in Missouri much easier. It's been a thing of consistency, comfort and escape. Quilting it let me relive the day I had a few of my favorite people over from my job at the farm. We laughed and ate together, something that we had did a lot of over the 9 months we knew one another on a day to day basis. It was a really great way to say good bye to some of the people that, despite the short time span of our community, are some of the best people I've worked and hung out with. Reliving that time in my life and remembering those people helped ease the general malaise and depression of living in the aftermath of a decision of questionable merit. It helped remind me that everything is temporary, even bitter cold winters, disagreements, disappointments and broken hearts.
I made this quilt for Aubrey and I, as a housewarming and wedding gift for us. The pattern is a traditional log cabin (variation called rooftop, I believe) and like Quilt #006, I kept with the centered piecing and heavy sashing that I like so much from old Amish quilts. The center of the log cabin pattern is said to represent the hearth of the home and red felt like a good accent to the charcoal and not-quite-black-not-quite-blue of the color scheme. We've been married just over a year at this point (May 1st) and I finished it before the month was over. I put it on our bed the same week that he accepted a new job in Boulder, Colorado.
These events are largely serendipitous of one another. But having such a creative and meditative outlet kept me sane during months of my life that have been fraught with conflict, fear, sadness, anxiety, doubt and stagnancy. It let the bad stuff recede into the background for a little while. It's not perfect but it's imperfection allows it be useful. I'm less concerned about it being clean and free of dog hair and more interested in how wonderful it is to sleep under and how it will age.
I'll admit it: I fell in love with Instagram's immediacy and accessibility this year. It freed up what it meant to make "real" pictures and just allowed me to see and to record whenever I wanted to. I even put together a portfolio of the images that I made while working on a small farm this past summer.
At the end of March, I had the enormous pleasure of spending time at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center going through their enormous collection of artifacts from the Perkioman region of Pennsylvania. Candace Perry, the collections' curator, spoke at a local quilt guild's meeting on the quilts in their collection that I was lucky to attend. Seeing the quilts and listening to her speak about them was really inspiring, both as a photographer and as a new-ish quilter. The texture, personal vision and fine craft of the quilts was incredible to see in person and I was really curious to see how they would work as photographs.
Ms. Perry was generous with her time and incredibly knowledgeable about the Center's vast and varied collection. She was very passionate about it and spent quite a bit of time with me picking out artifacts from the collection.
While editing the images, I was drawn to the pictures that used the quilts as two dimensional compositions over the ones with the other objects in them. I really was thinking about the hands of the maker and how to convey details that, to me, fascinate me so much in older quilts. The quilting stitches, the piecing, the minor mistakes and the design of each of the quilts are what I look for when I see older quilts. It causes me to wonder about who that person was, what their life was like and what that work meant to them. I felt including the artifacts was creating a false history that I was uncomfortable with.
That said, I am really pleased with the way the images turned out. I wanted to visually examine the quilts and was trying to find smaller compositions within them. It was important to me to convey the intelligence of their design, the details of the makers' hands and the way the quilts have worn over the past century.
I've only really included the three best images from the 6 quilts that I photographed. I've created a separate gallery on flickr that contains more images that I highly recommend you take a gander at.
I have had much luck with rented houses' landscaping and previous owners' taste in flowers. At the other house A. and I lived in, we had two roses bushes that produced fat, fragrant blooms in a light, warm yellow and a deep, rich red. These picturesque daffodils came out of our current backyard, all cheery and bright.
While I have made quilts in the past, I've always just sort of winged it. Sewing together whatever was there, haphazardly, to make larger pieces of fabric for a specific use. I recently found myself enamored of this particular medium, because I like the emphasis of the grid, the use of color to create composition on a 2 dimensional plane. The grid for quilting is very much like the one used in photography; broken up and rearranged, it becomes a space for subtle self-expression and play.
October has come and gone this year and as always, there were pierogies rolled, stuffed and pinched. We have already eaten through the stash I brought home, eaten them pan fried with butter and onions (or leeks), tossed with seasonal greens, with a side of local sausage.
I want to talk about how incredibly important pierogie weekend was this year, to write eloquently about how even though my grandmother is gone, she is still there with the family when we get together. How she holds us together, even in her absence. I want to explain to you, dear reader, how strange and bizarre it was to go through her sewing room's contents, her jewelry. To be in her house, without her there and to think about how we live our lives and the things we carry with us through it.
But I am not up for the emotionally draining task of opening myself up like that to a blinking cursor and an audience. I miss her terribly, in such small ways. Largely, I don't think about it but when I do, it is sudden and the memories are an assault to my calm, causing me to crumple into a ball of sadness and tears.
And I can't do it today. I have mending to do, laundry to fold, projects to work on. I can't give myself over to the process of my grief today.
Ravioli made with beet root paste, filled with herbed ricotta cheese.
This summer disappeared faster than I expected. So much change, so much upheaval causes time to get away from you; it slips through your hands like moist dirt. June swallowed by find a new place to live, July devoured by moving, illness and death, August nibbled away by travel. It felt like I didn't get a chance to do the things I thought summer should be marked by. It's been a long time since I walked the edge of land and ocean, a long time since I felt the lift in my stomach from a ride on a roller coaster.