Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back to Quilting - A Contemplative Art

Airplanes - handquilted - 1978 to 2008
Garden Path - hand quilted - 90s

Wedding Gift Wall Hanging - Machine Quilted - '08

Center Amish Square - hand quilted - 90s

Wright Brothers Flyer in border

Flower Basket - hand quilted - 2007
Tomie De Paola ABC Quilt - machine quilted - 2007

The Needle Arts in My Life

On November 14, 2007 two photos of quilts were posted here (see archives or click on "art" in the list in the side bar). At the time more were promised but it never happened. Now with a little bit of breathing time this collection could be mounted.

If the truth be told, I was practically born with a needle in my hand. Most in my family and in my Brooklyn neighborhood worked in the garment district of Manhattan. My grandfather was a machine operator, my aunt a sample maker for a prominent designer of haute couture and my uncle a much valued presser in a factory. My godmother's husband held patents for machines that could automatically be re-sized for cutting out dress pieces from huge piles of fabric. I learned to sew on a factory machine kept in the basement. At seven I could crochet and by the time I was ten or so I could embroider a and knit. I remember following my mother and my aunt through the aisles of the fabric department of Gimbel's department store. They would finger the goods and make pronouncements about the quality. I touched the goods too and learned about quality, draping, and durability etc.

While I lived in Connecticut from 1969 - 1974 I was exposed to quilts and fell in love with them but could not find a teacher. Upon moving to Kingston, New York in 1974, I was introduced to a quilting teacher. Eager to learn the art from a master and make friends in my new town I enrolled in her class at the local community college. I was hooked by the colors and the geometrics. Then a tiny, tiny quilting needle was put in my hand and a thimble on my finger. I had thus far avoided thimbles. No way to escape them in hand quilting unless you want to bleed all over the quilt. I thought my days at the craft were numbered. Assured that practice and perseverance would win out, I kept at it and was rewarded. Now designing, selecting fabrics and hand quilting are my favorite parts of the process. I do use a rotary cutter as much as possible and machine sew the patchwork.

Eventually I became active in a guild, entered my work in shows, and taught some classes. Very special hand-quilted bed covers have been made to honor my parents' wedding anniversary (white and navy double Irish chain), as gift to my son and daughter-in-law upon their marriage (whole cloth white queen size) and now, at long last, as a gift to my middle son. This last one was begun in 1978 as a gift to Matthew (the artist son). It was to honor the 75th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight. But thirty years later that quilt remained unfinished!!!!! Now it has been completed. But Matthew does not know that and since he doesn't check out this blog it will still be a secret.

1 comment:

Dina said...

Ha, nice!
But I'd bet that Matthew secretly does follow your blog. :)