It is the time of summer that I typically am getting ready to go to ‘quilt camp’. It begins this week and I feel the pull of wanting to be there even though I won’t be this year. No coincidence of course that in the past few weeks, I have been drawn to complete the quilt I began in a class entitled “Faces” with teacher Rosalie Dace last year and has been sitting quietly under a cloth on my sewing table ever since….
As part of a series I call ‘the mandala’ series, the design for this quilt has been organized around a center and is full of curved pieces that I have chosen to applique by hand in finished turned under edges. There is a tactile quality to all the quilts in this series, inviting the hand to trace the spirals and curves that weave through each one. Working now on this fourth and last of the series is inviting me to reflect on what happens in the space of a year, what I see differently that changes the piece, and how seeing these differences only reinforces what has always been there….
Now I am back in my garden ten years ago where my journey to quilt camp began. It is a new garden, only a few years old, and this is the first year that it actually looks like a garden, with discernible clumps of things like lavender and day lilies, with smatterings of color added by the annuals throughout. A novice gardener, I am thrilled with the emerging diversity and substance of this new garden and take many photos that become inspiration for the quilt I will begin in my first workshop at ‘Quilting by the Lake’ …..
The piece that I make this summer of 2002 is an equally thrilling experience for me. First time working with raw edge applique, I discover the freedom of working quickly and spontaneously with fabric and thread. Like the newly emerging garden that inspires this piece, I know I have found my foundation as an artist and almost complete my first ‘art quilt’ in the weeks time of the workshop with teacher Joan Colvin, and call it ‘Energy Garden’….
Now ten years later I stand out in my garden and take in the growth….
The once small clumps of things just taking root then have literally gone wild. The bee balm is now a field of its own, with coneflowers and wild flox mixing with black eyed susans and daisies and the mexican sunflowers. They tower over my head and assert their mastery over time by completely claiming the space of this garden as their own….
And now after a year, I regard where in fact the ‘faces’ that inhabit this quilt have also rooted and taken hold. Inspired by portrait photographs of my mother, me, and my daughter each taken at the age of four years old (as shown in the order below),
the quilt is structured around the energy that these faces share, embodying the foundation and expression of feminine as passed from one generation to another and what emerges is the archetypal face of ‘mother’. Now a year later, I am able to finally complete the form of this archetypal face while taking the time it takes to sew each connecting curve into place by hand, and while so securing the foundation of this quilt, can also honor how passions have played out over the past ten years: my mother now a potter gone wild,
my daughter an anthropologist gone wild,
and finally me, a quilter gone wild…