I’ve been in a bit of a creative funk. After finishing “Being Koi” and “Spigot” in October, I really haven’t made any new art quilts. This is not good for someone who will be a featured artist in a few months. My inventory is low, really low. I need to create.
I decided that my biggest burden to my creativity was my studio. I desperately needed a clean up. Unless I put things away and freed up some work surfaces, nothing creative was going to happen in this room. I put myself on task yesterday and in a short time I could actually see my cutting mats. Things were being put away, well…, except for those projects that have been floating. You know the one’s. The one’s in the “I’m going to get to the soon” pile.
Well I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly enjoy cleaning. I like a clean house, I just don’t enjoy the process to get there. I get distracted along the way, so it seems to take forever to finish. Yesterday, as I was moving things around one of my floaters surfaced and reminded me that it has been many years that I promised to complete it.
This floater was an orphan block, something my grandmother’s sister made. Vintage fabrics (circa 1930’s) hand-appliqued into a flower-like Dresden Plate, made by my great-aunt Florence. I bought the complementary Aunt Gracie’s fabric and the gold solid, at least 6 years ago. Yeah, it had been floating for awhile.
I picked up the fabrics and thought, I could do one of two things: I could move the block and corresponding fabric again, leaving it for the next opportunity to finish, or I could finish it now. I decided that Aunt Flo deserved more from me and I stopped the cleaning to work on the block. I did tell you I get distracted.
Working on something like this gets you thinking. I thought of my Grandma and Aunt Flo. They were both quilters and I know there was more than a little bit of sibling rivalry. I don’t know who was the better quilter of the two and unfortunately I’m not aware of any of their quilts being left in the family. Just some stray blocks. Grandma lived to be in her late her 80’s and Flo, the older sister, lived to 93. They both continued to sew as long as they could.
Flo never married and was a bit bitter about her life circumstances. I remember visiting her and watching the family dynamics revolve around the grumpy older sister. I was 21 when Flo died, an age where you’re more busy with your young life than the lives of the family around you. I remembered that I liked her, even through all her grumpiness. I wish she was in my life today. I think we would have a lot in common, including our grumpiness. But, I wonder if she would accept my form of quilting. I know she could teach me a few things, if she had the patience to deal with this quilting rebel. I wonder if I could bring her joy by sharing a mutual love of fabric and all things quilty. I believe we would enjoy each other’s company.
I can’t bring her back to life, but I can bring her back into my life. It is of great respect I made something of her orphaned block, a joining of two generations into one quilt. I will hang this quilt on my wall in my studio to keep Flo close to me and remind me where I come from, a family full of talented fiber artists. I hope she’s smiling as she knows I understand her passion. However, now Grandma’s probably gonna be ticked off that I haven’t finished her quilt. There goes that sibling rivalry again and my studio still isn’t clean.