Friday, December 17, 2010

My Back Pages...In Quilts

Not philosophical brilliance as penned by the great Bob Dylan, but more like A Brief History of My Quilt Life as seen on the walls of my sister's house in San Diego.

I was down there all week helping her recover from major surgery (she's doing fine) and realized that she has a complete cross-section of my quilt life on her walls. "They always look better in my house," she tells me.. ;-)
So I thought I'd give you a tour....I just went from room to room snapping pictures.

Here is the convalescent with my nephew Paul. Behind her is an experimental garden scene from 2004. I never finished it as I could not figure out how to...but she rescued it from my UFO pile and I am glad she did. My favorite part is the knitting I did for the dirt!
Here is a better shot of it...

I tried so many different techniques here that I will not bore you with them. But I did like that knitting.
But let's go back further...

"For Cadfael", 1997. I was reading the entire 20 novel series then and was mentally in Shrewsbury all the time. This raw-edged applique collage was my version of Cadfael's garden going down to the river.

This technique had kind of morphed into stained glass quilting around the same time. I made several of these very large angel themed quilts.

"Take Heart" was for my sister when we needed some cheering up. I was going through an extended Louis Comfort Tiffany phase at the time.

Meanwhile, one of Mary's sons, Andy (the subject of last year's "Love by the Moon" adventure) got briefly interested in sewing when he came to visit, so he made the quilt below...with no help from me except for free access to my stash and machine. He was about 12 at the time.

This is about 30" x 30". Is it not great??
Andy asked me to make a portrait of his bird around then too so I did.

Silver lives up above the lizard's cage now.

I had a few more large landscapes in me in the late 1990's...."Foliage 4" was my fourth attempt at fall leaves and I tried to give it an arty "I'm making a series" name. (I don't do that anymore.)
Mary was up visiting and saw that I had the quilt stored and she just wanted it. So it is on long term loan to her.

It does look nice there I think.

When she was getting married to her current husband Geoff, I decided to make him a "welcome to the family" quilt to give him comfort for when all of us new in-laws began to drive him crazy. But he put it on the wall instead....I wish he hadn't. After 10 years of us he could have definitely used some comfort!

It's behind the frame above their bed and not tucking someone cozily in, which is a shame.
It did mark the beginning of my move to making very simple bed quilts, almost one-patches. In this one I was inspired by that great white birch bark fabric.

Along came their daughter Qwen, so I made a quilt for her too.

Crazy quilting was just getting rolling for me then, in 2001. Qwennie here is 9 already!

Later I made her a portrait of her mom for her room.

Embellished prints had begun....

I've held onto my large crazy quilts since then except for one, which again is on loan to Mary because she thinks it would be better for her to enjoy it than for me to store it.

She has always loved this one and, while there are things I like about it, there are more that I don't. So I didn't mind sending it off.
It turns out that what she REALLY loves, now that she can see them, are the beads that belonged to our mom that were her favorite things to play with when Mom let her sort her jewelry. The necklace had broken long ago and I saved it, then used part of it here. I had no idea those beads meant so much to Mary but she says every time she looks at this quilt now it makes her really happy.

Well, my sister makes me happy. So I commemorated our friendship in a piece for her 50th birthday.

"Sisters Scrapbook Page" is one of the projects in my soon-to-be-released book!
Hopefully readers will be inspired to commemorate their own special relationships too.

21 comments :

Vicki W said...

How very cool!

Conni said...

This is such a great post! I loved the tour of your quilting history! Hope your dear sister makes a speedy recovery! Sisters are the best!!!

Deb said...

Thanks for Sharing. I love the tour. Merry Christmas

Debra said...

That was Fun!

Connie said...

Wow! All of your quilts are really nice. Your sister is lucky to have such lovely quilts decorating her home.

Bobbi Pohl said...

I just put the Brother Cadfael movies into my Netflix que. I read the books sometime back and have been thinking of them. I'm not sure the movies will be as satisfying as the books. I may see if the books are available for my brand new Nookcolor ereader. It's great to find we have these in common.

Kay said...

That was fun, Allie. Your work has really evolved, hasn't it?

Possibilities, Etc. said...

What a wonderful tour through the "gallery." It's like an evolution of your work and style. Thanks for sharing, and thanks to Mary for appreciating these lovely things.

Rachel said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who is inspired to needlecraft by books!

Mary said...

SO fun!! Not only do your quilts look better on my walls but my house looks better on your blog!! Surgery pain replaced by missing you pain. Wah Ha Ha

Summerset said...

What a great way to see your history. Love the sister piece!

Plays with Needles said...

Wow. You are ALL over your sister's house!!!! I can see that Mary absolutely loves you AND your work! It makes me feel like such a slacker where my own sis is concerned. I will definitely make here something this year...I'll add it to the new year's resolves...

Though I liked them all...my faves were the swirly cloud one and the knitted dirt...and the leaves above the mantlepiece...foliage 4...it really does look great there!

Rian said...

Ah but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now....

It must have been a trip to get to see your work with fresh eyes.

Sisters ARE the best.

Barbara C said...

How nice that your sister is curator of your own dedicated quilt museum. It looks like she's your #1 fan.

I enjoyed seeing so many of your quilts at once. It's a lovely selection.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

colorbox said...

Oh Allie....
I loved this tour.
As I love your family.
Gentle and speedy recovery to Mary.

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Anonymous said...

Allie,
Aren't you glad your sister has your work displayed, rather than you having it stashed/stored away in some box? I just love that first one with the clouds and the one just before the sisters one - how there are dark portions in the corners, moving to medium colors and all lightness and flowers in the center! I have been organizing the bedroom where I work/play and want to display more of the things I've made on the wall. Sometimes you can be inspired by your very own work - isn't that cool? Thanks for sharing....

Elizabeth said...

What a total delight to see all of these beautiful pieces!!! I really adore the first one with all of the different techniques and the KNITTING! So glad that your sis rescued it!!!!!

Sandie's Patch said...

I love it that your art is admired and loved, not stored away.
My two favourites are the first one, so beautiful, you almost get drawn into it and smell the flowers and hear the birds and insects! The second one I like is the Cadfael's Garden...stunning!

Thanks you so much to you and Mary for sharing.
Happy New Year to you and yours!


Sandie xx

Jean said...

Allie the leaf, Fall quilt makes me think back of the beautiful Fall we had this past year... did you glue on the leaves or stitch each and every one? You must have a lot of patience if you stitched them all! Lol.

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