Thursday, December 22, 2011

the turning of the seasons

Today is officially the first day of winter. The solstice occurred at 12:30 am this morning--that mysterious time of year when the earth seems to slow down and dark prevails. Soon the days will get longer until finally the longer days will lead to spring and  the return of warmth. Already, thanks to some strange rotations of the earth, the sun is setting a couple minutes later in the afternoon--don't ask me to explain, I just know it is (and if you are really curious you can read more about it HERE.)

For me, it is time to stop concentrating on eyeglass cases and potholders and think of new designs.  My sketchbook is full of ideas. Directions to pursue.The Baltimore Craft Show is only eight weeks away--YIKES!!!

But first, I must finish orders. The ones I took at the craft shows--the ones the customers did not need until January. Free my slate so to speak. First, the big one I saved especially for this time of year. A smaller version of endless fields.

Now maybe you remember this quilt--the wonderful lush colors of the fields changing and stretching into the horizon. How simple and complex this quilt is. How rich these colors are. I made it last year. Love the quilt. Love the design. I even made it in more greys and browns as you may remember.

This time, I have an order to make it smaller--single bed size. The color progressions will have to occur more quickly. The fabric selection must be just right. There is no room for error.

I spend months shopping for just the right colors. Replacing the burgundies and greens, the reds and rusts that I need to make the quilt sparkle. I make a special trip to get enough wonderful blacks--some with a bit of pizazz so it is not just a solid band of black.  New blacks with spirals and leaves. Black blues and black greens.

I study the quilt--trying to absorb the colors and movements. I make more placemats, purses. Yes I am procrastinating. Winding up for the large project. Wind up. Take a deep breath. Try to overcome my fear.  The customer is kind and patient but this is the time to begin. Now as many of my readers know, my  studio in Shelburne Falls is open to the public. I like it this way since I never know who may drop in. What may happen.

But that also means that during this time of anxious anticipation--as I await the holidays--I am in the studio working.  So much to do. A meal to prepare. Gifts to wrap--will the step children--such wonderful young adults--like their gifts? What tales will they have to tell. What about my DH--he has been so wonderful this year--I can't thank him enough. I didn't even do Christmas cards this year--I hope everyone understands. Will I get to see my young friend who told me that she had been in Hollywood too long--unless a movie is a blockbuster, it is just another film.

I know myself--making this quilt will anchor me. The slow steady progress of a large piece. One block at a time. Until the quilt finally takes off. Assumes its own life and propels me forward. So I make the first block. How lonely it looks on that board by itself, doesn't it?

Am I moving in the right direction? Are the colors right? Will it work? Amazing how a few more blocks create a pattern. The light is faded in the image but the design shows through.

Do I need to make the colors change more quickly? Are the greens getting light enough? The burgundies the right shade? So much to think about as the light returns. As I check off one more order from my to-do list. As I welcome the visitors to my new studio.

And you--what do you do as the seasons change? How do you prepare for the New Year? How do you schedule those large works? When do you notice the days getting longer?

1 comment:

  1. Your talk about process in the studio rings so true. And finding the rhythm within a piece - even when doing more traditional landscape painting I have always talked about a middle part of the process where I feel like I'm "flying blind" just letting things happen for a while, then step back and feel a little lost until I let the piece itself reveal its internal rhythm.
    My palette definitely is sensitive to the seasons. It was not an issue when I lived in an essentially two season city (wet and dry). Now, in a small town in a rural area, where changes in land and in light are so obvious, it is hard to work on a summer piece in winter or an autumn piece in spring.