Saturday, July 07, 2007

Starry-Eyed

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.

11 comments:

Libby said...

Your blocks look lovely - that is a really amazing painting, I'm surprised it's not more well known...

atet said...

Those blocks are great -- and what a wonderful inspiration! I love the Art Institute, wish I still lived close enough to get there more often.

Thanks for the nice comment about my blog! And I would be very interested in the discussion about trends and the impact on quilting since the Whitney show -- I've been doing some reading about some of the quilt movements since that time lately, some interesting avenues to take there. As for life in the early modern period -- you're right, unless you are a romance writer there is no way that period was actually "romantic" in that sense. I like my modern conveniences thank you -- but oh, some of the literature!

Patti said...

How wonderful to have seen this incredible painting "in the flesh". I've not seen a picture of this one before - I wonder why? When I was in grade school years ago the Seattle Art Museum had an extensive exhibition of Van Gogh. Our girl scout troop went to see it. I was probably in third or fourth grade, but I will never forget it.

What an incredible inspiration for your quilt. I would never have htought of it this way, but now that you talk about it I realize how perfect it is. Your stars are marvelous - I can hardly wait to see what you do with the rest of the quilt.

comicbooklady said...

I love your stars! and Starry night over the Rhone is perfect inspiration! I never had an appreciation of van Gogh until I went to the van Gogh museum in Amsterdam! I'll never forget it, to see the real deal is awesome, cannot compare to seeing it in a photo.

KCQuilter said...

Ooooh, love, love, love your starry blocks! Can't wait to see it all DONE DONE.

jovaliquilts said...

There is definitely something about stars. I go to the Art Institute every time in Chicago (about 2-1/2 hrs from where I live), but I haven't been there in awhile and now I know I absolutely must get there!

I really like your folksy stars -- great fabric choices.

Cheri

Lynn Dykstra said...

What a nice selection of pumpkins and blacks! great start on this quilt

Supermom said...

Hi!

I found your blog and love your quilting. Just wanted to let you know of a mini-quilt swap I am hosting. We'd love to have you if you are interested. The details are given at the blog link below. If it happens that you are not interested, I'd still appreciate if you could spread the word in the event some of your blog's readers might like to participate. Thanks!


Margaret
http://fourseasonsquiltswap.blogspot.com/

Quilty Mama said...

Love those stars and your fabric choices are fantastic!

gwen said...

I found your two last posts and the comments to it very interesting. For me quilting is a way to express myself, to relaxe and to do something with my hands. But since starting quilting, I have been interested in reading about quilt history as well. I think I learned more about American history that way than I did at university!
Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing more of your starry quilt. Your fabric mix is very interesting and brings movement.
Take care.

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