So, by my reckoning, I’ve been doing this quilting thing for ten years now. On the one hand it seems like yesterday when I made that first quilt for Bee. On the other hand it seems like several lifetimes ago when I finished writing that first book. And it is simply impossible to believe just how many quilts I’ve made in that time (I lost count ages ago).
I suppose it is my turning fifty that has me looking back. I can’t believe I pulled off Martha way back in 2013. And I can’t believe the place that quilting has brought me to in terms of artmaking; without a doubt I’m making the best work of my life, and I have this gut feeling that the next few years are going to bring several steps forward. The ideas are coming more easily now; I think I am just more comfortable with fabric and thread, no longer fighting it, but instead playing with it.
Not to spend too much time being nostalgic but Quilt Out Loud felt like such a monumental task that anything that is going to come next will necessarily feel like a pivot. Actually, I think I’ve already made something of a shift when I made my mini quilt for the IQM’s auction raising money to send to a charitable organization in Ukraine. I’ve been thinking more and more about wall quilts after years of resolutely making bed quilts. In my head I’ve been messing with what might be a different vocabulary for me. I am becoming interested in working for the wall, but I am reluctant to leave the bed quilt technical vocabulary behind. I feel like the art of my work is the conflict between the comfort of the traditional quilt and the uncomfortable subject matter that I deal with.
So, I’m moving into this new landscape thinking in terms of groups of quilts rather than series. Groups by necessity hang together, function as a coordinated whole. Series live side by side and need to work individually as well as together. The wall has me thinking about smaller individual pieces that make up a larger whole. For example the next project is nine small quilts intended to hang together in specific positions relative to each other.
There is something liberating about working for the wall; the scale of a piece is unbound. While working for the bed requires a certain monumentality; they need to be on a human scale, cover a bed. I am intrigued by the idea of working in the miniature, or at least pieces smaller than even a crib quilt. I am hoping there will be a certain conciseness to these smaller pieces, a different type of directness, immediacy. And since I just committed myself to nine small quilts for the next project I really hope I’m right. We shall see; I’ll keep you all updated along the way.