Friday, January 21, 2011

quilts, the power of repetition and the wait

Oh this quilt. I sew and cut and sew some more--it seems to take forever. Change can happen so so slowly. Are the colors moving in the right direction? Will it work? Are the colors too rich, too lush? How will the black lines define the quilt, the color changes, the movement to the top? Can I get it ready in time for the Baltimore Craft Show?

I feel like a parent waiting for a child to grow up--did I make the right choices? Did I steer in the best direction? I snap a picture of it. I have already pieced together the bottom row and removed it from the design board.  But are the colors progressing enough? Because of the size of the quilt, I can only see parts of it at a time. I must trust in myself and my artistic sense until it is sewn together.

I read in the paper that the sun now sets here at 4:49. At its earliest it set at 4:16. Not something I notice every day but occasionally. It is the little things--I watch the sun-shadow line creep up on Massamont later and later in the afternoon. It is not dark when I get home. A couple days ago I almost forgot to turn my headlights on when I pulled out of my parking lot.  The seasons are indeed turning though we just had a snow storm, an ice storm, cold cold weather.  More snow is on the way. This is the point of this quilt--the progress of the season. The repetition of the days and the small changes that happen. I am intrigued by these possibilities--the rhythm of the seasons. As Eva Hesse said, this repetition can be an obsession--an absurdity. A way to contain and order life and art. Do check it out in Lucy Lippard's book--Eva Hesse. Isn't this repetition one of the powers of a quilt? The geometry, the patterns repeated over and over. The human touch of the artist piecing the quilt, combining the fabrics to create the whole contained within this pattern but then extending beyond the quilt.

I remember the first quilt I ever made--an Ohio Star. A traditional pattern. I made block after block sewing by hand--not really even sure why I did it until I sewed it all together and realized that all those blocks formed patterns within the patterns and I fell in love with quiltmaking. Isn't this quilt the same thing? Simple blocks put together to make the whole depending on the power of repetition. The trust that these blocks will form a whole.

I look at one of the blocks from the bottom rows of the quilt. The darker purples and greens. The black so intense and strong. The colors hard to capture in a snapshot--but I love the richness and the contrast.

I compare it with one of the blocks in the current rows--more red, green turning to tan, gold. How closely related the colors are--purple to orange to gold, green to gold to tan.

But still I worry if it will work? I sew the bottom two rows together and look at the colors. Wonderful. I must finish the bindings. Then a picture. I can't wait. But in the power of winter, in the repetition of this winter we are having another snow storm. I am stuck at home waiting for the driveway to be plowed. How absurd is that?

What do you think? Do you use repetition to add depth to your work? Do you ever worry about your quilts in progress? How do you deal with the suspense of waiting?

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