17 December 2013

Then and Now, and then NOW

Those of you who have been following may know, I've been working on a quilt for the Windham Textile History Museum's invitational show "Then and Now".  12 artists were asked to create a contemporary art quilt inspired by an antique quilt from the museum. 

If you just joined us, my task is to create an art quilt to hang next to this quilt by Ruth Snow Bowen (1895-1983).  Ruth made over 300 quilts in her lifetime, all in the same pattern, “Grandmother’s Flower Garden”.  This one was made in 1981 when Ruth was 86 years old.  It’s about the size of a King Size bed, made with hundreds of 1.5” hexagon pieces – all hand cut, hand pieced and hand quilted.


Here's a work-in-progress photo of my first "Now" quilt, a bunch of tulips in a glass pitcher.  The idea was that since I'm not a gardener in ANY way, shape or form, the only flowers I take care of are usually in a vase.


However, after MANY MANY iterations of this design, adding flowers, changing the colors, chopping the border…. I just couldn't "click" this idea with my creative brain.  So I made kind of a radical decision.  I put this unfinished piece aside and started over.  I went back to the original "Then" quilt.  I studied it again, as if I were just starting the project.  The hundreds of tiny hexagons… the yellow centers for each flower… the picture of a honeycomb started to form in my mind.

With about one month to go before the quilt is due for photography at Windham Textile Museum, I had a brainstorm to go in an entirely new direction. 

Introducing "Grandmother's Flower Garden, Up Close".  My new focus - bees and other pollinators, the undervalued heroes of every flower and vegetable garden.  With renewed motivation and excitement driving me (I love bees), the composition is coming together quickly.  Here's a photo of the work in progress:


Not only does "Honey Bee" fit my own personal aesthetic more than the tulip composition, I think it works better as a companion to Ruth's quilt. 

Now the trick will be to get it DONE on time!  Smile


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