My life as a quiltmaker (for chronological order, read oldest post to newest)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

47. Capital T

Sometimes I get stuck. Not because there aren't enough ideas, but because there are so many that my head starts spinning and I don't know what to focus on. At those times retracing my steps a bit and going back to some unfinished work can give me a starting point. This was such a piece: begun in enthusiasm, abandoned in frustration, and reclaimed in time.

Years earlier while on a studio retreat, a small dyed/photoexposed piece of fabric featuring a repeated capital "T" in a beautiful script had inspired me; in a trance-like state with no distractions, I grabbed a background fabric and a handful of other fabrics which were shot through with shimmery metallic threads. Unhesitatingly I frayed the edges of the small squares I had cut, remembering my mother fringing the edges of checkered fabric to make a tablecloth. I was left with a pile of glitzy fuzzy fibers when I was done. All to the good: I dropped the fibers onto the central "T" piece and massaged them gently into place in the corners. I lined up the squares and stitched everything down. The whole process took very little time; I worked without thinking. But when I returned home, the easy state of mind left behind, I folded the piece up and stored it for later.

Much later: when I decided to enter the members' show of our local Arts Museum but had nothing ready, I dug the piece out from my piles of unfinished stuff and felt I was back where I belonged. Somehow in the interim I had figured out how to finish it; cutting bamboo pieces from my garden and grabbing ribbons off my shelf, I prepared it for hanging. I entered the show, received an award of merit, and sold it to someone whose name began with "T." I was back in the saddle again, and it had felt practically effortless. It was play. And when it's play, things always work.

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