Saturday, July 07, 2007


First, thanks for all the responses to my quilt mini-manifesto. One thing I did want to address was the nostalgia question that Atet (whose blog is wonderful) raised in her comment.

I definitely have a nostalgic streak (sometimes even just for last week!), but even with that, I don't tend to romanticize the past unconditionally. Back in the day, my major field of study was the English Early Modern period (c. 1485-1800), and--if you're not looking through the lens of Barbara Cartland--it's difficult to romanticize the lives folks lived then. They were rough and dangerous and arbitrary. And, I'm not saying that trendiness is new. Back in the Early Modern, trendiness was certainly a la mode as was anxiety of about the ideological import of trends (as when the middle class began to dress too ostentatiously, leading to great fears of class confusion). I could go on for a bit about this and move it up through the current quilting era (dropping in references to the 1971 Whitney show, Walker's "Everyday Use," and more), but it would likely interest just me.

On to the present . . . I did finish the 24! stars and bottom border of the Harvest Moon quilt. My fingers hurt!

I love stars. A couple months back, I was in Chicago for a meeting and zipped over to the Institute, which I also love. I stumbled into an exhibit on Ambroise Vollard, who was the first French art dealer apparently. The works they gathered together were grand, but even more impressive was the design of the exhibit. It was set in such a way that every painting popped. In one corner, I came across a Van Gogh that was new to me. I have seen the famous starry painting several times in various exhibitions and museums, but this one, Starry Night Over the Rhone, took me by complete surprise. It was displayed in a darkened room and lit to perfection. Each star twinkled and the river rippled. I could feel the slight breeze as it bent the light of the stars through the atmosphere. I was captivated by how the painting made one feel the night--the kind of night when the stars don't illuminate the night sky as much as let you know that it's a very dark world up there.

I'm no Van Gogh (which is not altogether a bad thing), but in selecting fabrics for this quilt, I wanted my mix of blacks and golds/oranges to generate some movement in the quilt's "sky," and the background I selected for the larger applique piece has a bit of white in it to do the same. More on the center later; now I'm off to make breakfast and read the Times.