Tuesday, August 9, 2011

telling a story that has no words

Sometimes I have to make the quilt to determine what it is about. Sure I know the colors and mood I want. Those mystical colors of the forest--the greys and taupes which have no name. The unexpected warmth of the rusts and yellows. The feeling of light and motion juxtaposed against the dark lines. A jazz composition in fabric determined by rules and sizes--riffs that I know as I discover the whole.

Each day I come home from work exhausted.  Trying to get it done for the Berkshire Craft Show this week-end. So many choices. So much careful detail to the colors and potentials of the fabric. Make what I know. Then stop and think. This is a quilt I can feel but not see. I know it is about the woods. Light in the forest I call it. A good title. I can see the motion--not sure how to get there. What does it mean?

Gradually I sew it together. How to get this line. This beat of the quilt.

I pin it to the design board. Do I want the lines to continue--is that the answer or is it too regular? What is the quilt about? These colors--where do they come from. Each one dictated by the last one. Haunting aren't they?


I change the quilt. Move the right hand side down a couple of inches. Sometimes I think better by actually moving the fabric if you know what I mean? There is a story here--but I must discover the words for it.

Yes that is better--more unexpected. Creates new lines. Amazing what a couple of inches can do isn't it? Makes the story complete.

Sew the quilt together. Hang it for a day. Let it age into place before the final finish. Try to learn what I was doing so I can make the next quilt. The colors brighter than the snapshot I take. Not muddy but complex.

 I think of the motion and colors of the quilt. The hike up Stratton Mountain. The constant stride--up and up we climb. Through the roots and rocks. Noticing the colors of the trees. The light that changes as we reach the summit. I wrote about it HERE.Yes, maybe that is the origin of the quilt. Not that this quilt is about hiking or Stratton Mountain. This quilt does not have a story but a mood and feeling.

How scary it is to work without that safety net. But also fascinating. Where will it lead? Do you ever work like this? What do you think?


  1. Looking forward to seeing the finished piece. Where is your booth at the Berkshire Craft Fair?

  2. I am booth 79--in the gymn. Are you in your usual location?

  3. I love to read your blog. Your words often express thoughts I have while working, making, and creating. Including the doubt (a constant companion in my case) as well as the joy when something feels right. Thank you for sharing and good luck at the show!

  4. Oh thanks so much Lotta. Yes, I guess doubt is a large part of being an artist--at least it is for me too.