Here it is. My first quilt. It sort of feels as momentous as birthing a child. Seriously.
There are so many layers to making a quilt and it really doesn’t become itself until the very end. Piecing the front and back of the quilt seems like the whole story but really, that story isn’t told until there is another story written on top of it which is the mark-making of the quilting. Those stitches can either repeat the story (hiding in the ditches of the design…so that the quilting honors the image by being somewhat quiet) or the quilting can sand-blast and obliterate the the image by meandering all over it and rewriting the tale…which I did. Either way, the tale is written yet again by the choice of the batting and how it behaves in the wash. I used batting designed to shrink 5% between the two layers of quilting. This creates a puckered vintage/antique look. I love that. Once, I read on someone’s blog (I wish I could remember which one) that her favorite part of quilting was throwing her finished quilt in the wash and getting it all crinkly. I remembered that all the way through this process and couldn’t wait to do that myself. This last step takes all your order and hard work and throws chaos into it.
As for the over all look of the quilt, it isn’t nearly as loud as I thought it would be. But more is definitely more. It is bright and fun and happy. Perfect for my little boy. I based it on the adorable (and organic) new Circa 50 fabric line for Monaluna. The main fabric is printed with Vespas and VW buses and cars in a retro Richard Scarry style. And because of that, this quilt is called Things That Go in honor of Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go (A favorite around here.)
The funny thing is that as an abstract painter, my work tends to be organic, earthy, muted and atmospheric. Tonal ochres, deeply dark earth-purples, or veils of mist and washes. But when I sew, I seem to sew out loud. My choices are so different- much greater contrast of colors, crazy polka dots and prints- stark backgrounds. I am amused and curious about this difference in my voice so far. It reminds me of that Emile Zola quote: “If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” This quilt definitely came to live out loud…and so did my precious little boy. And it would seem, so did I.
The reason I am sewing in the first place is because it is fun and fresh for me…and that spirit seems to be alive in everything I make. Perhaps I have been making moody serious paintings for so long that my soul needs a break? I think that the real questions and emotions of human existence can even be solved and played with in quilts. And the thing is, at the end of the day, you can’t wrap yourself up and go to sleep in a painting. It won’t comfort your body- only your mind. So, quilts are paintings for the senses, the body, the soul.
Here is what my paintings look like…