In June I wrote about a piece I had made and gave to my daughter as a housewarming present. This piece now hangs in her dining room and when I go over to visit I catch myself staring at it as if I am willing it to give me some answers to questions I have in my life. It hangs there silent and I look at the chaotic design of it and recognize it for what it is: a reflection of the confusion I sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed by. It seems to me it is all about struggling to find your spot, where you fit. You take many dead end paths searching for your spot. If you are lucky, you find it.
When I started this piece many conflicting thoughts and emotions were going through my mind. My mother had recently passed, I felt too old for my job and I was adrift. I had pieces of wool and silk I had cut from used clothing and I loved the colors. Before you know it My design wall was telling me where to cut and how to place all those marvelous colors. But I also noticed how chaotic and confusing it all was and kept thinking I have got to find my spot.
My daughter came to visit and informed me I was making this piece for her. I have often wondered if she saw her emotional lost mother in this work. I am not sure I like this piece, it reminds me of places I do not want to go. It hangs in the dining room and it is silent. I wonder what it ever says.
I am inching my way painfully back into my studio. The last month has been difficult: busy at work, helping my daughter move. Now, on to bigger and better things!
I’ve been reading other artists discussing what they call themselves. It is a personal choice. For me, I remember telling people apologetically I make quilts. I knew they were picturing their or someone else’s grandmother making quilts that were used on the bed until threadbare. I would wait for the blank stare and the total loss of interest and feel frustrated by my inability to make them understand.
Slowly over the years, the general public have been catching on. There are still those moments when I run into the old comments and dismissive attitudes, but more and more people look at me expectantly, waiting to hear more. I am a quilter even when my quilts do not look like quilts. Whether I am an artist or not is for the viewer to decide.
I remember when Autumn’s Glory won a blue ribbon in my local guild show for art. The piece was heavily threadpainted and I had wanted a painterly effect for the small landscape quilt. I watched a couple walking in the area near my quilt. I saw the wife stop to look and her husband impatiently pushing her forward saying, “That’s not a quilt, it’s a painting.” Made me laugh. Sort of damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
I love fabric. The feel of it beneath my fingers gets my imagination running wild. I know many others in this field hate the “q” word, I love the word quilt. My family produced many quilters and I am one of them. My quilts are very different than theirs but that is as it should be. After all, I am unique and I am a quilter.