Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In the beginning

Somewhere around 1996 quilts began coming into my dreams and demanding to be made. Did I know how to quilt? No. Still, they kept appearing, geometric forms and colour. This was exciting and I really wanted to make them. I signed up for a quilting class at a near by gift shop. The teacher insisted that this was a TRADITIONAL quilting class. No evil art quilts. All sewing was by hand. I had never heard of art quilts and thought traditional quilts were beautiful art. ( There is a rant here. I will save it for another post) Naturally, I bought fabric in many shades of purple and, voila, my first sampler was born.
I was then dealing with a hyperactive thyroid condition that made me irritable and nervous all the time. The healing process included complementary as well as traditional medical approaches. Quilting however was the most healing thing I did for myself at that time. I found hand sewing to be very soothing; something about that needle rhythmically moving in and out of the fabric, the texture and colour flowing through my hands. I know it had a calming effect on my nervous system. I had 2 young children and being able to pack up the work take it with me was wonderful. Instead of grinding my teeth while my brain was buzzing with"How long can it possibly take to put on a pair of boots?", I was happily making something beautiful.
After that sampler, the wall quilts demanded to be born. Our living room wall was covered with a large piece of white felt and I began playing with squares and triangles of colour. This was so much fun! Just like kindergarden. I remembered the joy and creativity I had as a young child.
Somehow with quilting ,unlike many other areas of my life, I was not at all attached to outcome. I didn't care when I finished a project. As long as I had something to work on, I was happy. I didn't feel worried about making a mistake since I didn't know how it was supposed to be done anyway. I was making it up as I went along. Seeing that this often resulted in beauty helped me bring this childlike quality of play and creativity into more of my life.
There were always obstacles. The colour in my mind did not show up in fabric. My daughter will tell you of the time I went after her nightgown with scissors because it was the perfect shade of blue. It was getting too small for her anyway, I said. Each idea I had seemed to need a technique I didn't know or materials I had never worked with. This sent me off on the long and continuing journey of learning and creating. This involved books, magazines, online classes, machines, tools and of course lots of FABRIC. I look forward to sharing more and would love to hear about others creative journeys.

The Green Place

This is one of the first quilts I made. It is
50" X 72" and is hand pieced and hand quilted with metallic thread. When I was growing up we lived on the edge of Arroyo Hondo outside of Santa Fe. My Dad and I used to ride our horses down into the arroyo. There was a place with a small patch of grass that was always green in all seasons. Maybe it was a spring. We would get off the horses, let them graze while we rested in the coolness. It was our special place. Today that place is under a highway, my dad has passed on and after 2 hip replacements, I no longer ride. The vibrancy of that green place lives forever within me. This piece hangs in my home to remind me of the eternal wellspring within.


I am organizing the first showing of my textile pieces here in Montreal. Galerie Espace is a small gallery space that artists can rent and organize their own show. This is a "getting my feet wet" event where I can see my work hanging and see people's reactions. Hopefully lots will sell and I will have room in my studio to make more. (Can you feel me visualizing?)

I like the idea of creating my own event. In the quilting world, a lot seems to happen at National shows that are juried and judged. I have been to only one of these and was amazed at the creativity and talent. When I browse the web or look at quilt magazines I am astounded by the number of people, mostly women, making textile art. I read that there are so many beautiful works entered in these shows now that judges award ribbons based on the neatest bindings. Being the queen of wavy borders, I don't think this route is for me. I am definitely open to improving my technique, but perfection isn't for me. Too much stress. I am choosing to create other ways to show and sell work.
You can see most of the pieces in the show on my Picasa site:
Please email me if you are interested: