January 26, 2014: Tactile and Visual Delights …


It’s cold and I’ve had the pleasure of sleeping under a number of my quilts recently.   My husband and I can judge what time of year it is by counting the number of quilts on the bed!  Right now there are 4 plus a wool blanket!  All that weight over me makes me feel like I’ve burrowed into a small, closed space at night; it feels comforting and secure as well as warm. Some people don’t like the weight on them, but I love it.  On top is Autumn Returns, the Vermont QF Best of Show from 2008. I believe in using my best quilts and not putting them away.  Everything is transitory, including me, so why not enjoy them while I can?  This fits the Japanese aesthetic of making everyday useful objects beautiful works of art.



Because this quilt barely fits over the top of the bed, I made a second larger quilt to go under it and hang further down the sides (that’s the rust fabric you see below the vine border in the above picture).  Below is the larger quilt:



The other 2 quilts and blanket are under those 2!  What a “tactile delight” to sleep under them!

I’ve been reading quilt blogs for about 4 years now.  Periodically blogs I’ve enjoyed either disappear or the blogger disappears with nary a word as to why.  It’s a bit of a strange situation because most often we don’t personally know the blogger yet feel we have come to know her/him and their lives seem to matter to us on some level.  Then, all of a sudden, the curtain drops.  I often wonder if the reason is tragedy or burn-out.   If the latter, why wasn’t a message left to let us know?  At any rate,  recently I discovered that a blog I used to enjoy but which ceased to post anything new for a long long time is back!  That blog is “Ragged Cloth Cafe”: raggedclothcafe.com/  I highly recommend you check it out if you are seriously interested in the visual arts.  Posts started up again this past October.  There are several contributing  artists and it is “a place for serious artists to verbally circle ideas about their own work, the visual arts, and the theories, histories, definitions and philosophies of arts, while relating these to the textile arts.”  I can vouch for the articles being interesting and thought provoking!  It’s definitely worth spending many hours going back through the archives and reading many/most of those articles.

A more recent post to Ragged Cloth Cafe in December by Olga Norris discussed our sense of touch.  She says that our visual sense is so dominant and important that when we think of art we automatically think of visual art, with probably music next.  However, she says, “touch is important – indeed it is vital for our emotional development.  Those of us who work with fibre, textiles, clay, plaster, etc. know how important the feel of our materials at various stages of our work is vital to the satisfaction we derive from making that work.  Those sensations of touch are what make us work that way, but we sublimate that essential tactile quality in order to present the finished work to the EYES of the audience.  Exhibitions are to be seen, not touched…but we can therefore never wholly transmit the total work to those who observe – they can never participate in that haptic experience.”   She goes on to say, “I believe this desire to touch and the inability to do so is particularly a deprivation where art quilts are concerned.”  And she further discusses how quilts are judged solely be appearance at shows and competitions.  Interesting food for thought and this brings me right back to sleeping under my quilts!  I continue to enjoy the tactile pleasures of the quilts I make, well after they are made.

I don’t have anything to show in the way of pictures of projects today.  I spent last weekend making 360 leaves for Sveta’s quilt!  These will be fused to their respective blocks; thank goodness I decided not to hand applique these on!  I am slowly constructing the blocks and getting them ready for the machine decorative trim around the leaves later.  By the way, I used a combination of “Lite Steam A Seam 2” and “Floriani Appli-Kay” fusibles for the leaves.  Both worked very well and are pretty soft and flexible under the fabric.  Both have a sticky back that allows one to stick the piece to the fabric and move it around before permanently fusing with an iron.  The Floriani stuck to the fabric better for allowing me to test placement of the leaves but this wasn’t an overwhelming advantage.  The main advantage of the Floriani is that one doesn’t have to deal with separating the thin “release” paper from the page with the fusible on it.

I am continuing to applique the “wheels” to their backgrounds for the Spirt of Japan quilt and have the pieces for 11 of the 16 blocks done.  These are going faster than I thought they would.  I’ve had time for these 2 projects because Spring Sonata is still at the longarmers’ to be basted and I have not, thus, been able to do any hand quilting.  I will post pictures of progress of these 3 active projects on the next post.

I do have some pictures of/from a great book that my son gave me for Christmas.  I had wanted to see the textile exhibit – Interwoven Globe, a look at textiles and the textile trade from the years 1500-1800 – at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC if possible, but, alas, a trip to NY over my break from work was not in the cards.  Instead, my son gave me the book/catalogue from the exhibit and it’s a beauty!

12014 Int


Here are some of the pictures in the book (click on them for great close-ups):

12014 IG#2

12014 IG#3


12014 IG#4

12014 IG#5

12014 IG#6

12014 IG#7

12014 IG#8

12014 IG#9


Lots of incredible visual/design inspiration!!  Also the book has interesting, erudite commentary on textiles and the history of the textile trade from 1500 – 1800.  Fascinating stuff!  Wish I’d been able to see the exhibit in person.  Also, per my previous comments about “touching” it would have been nice to touch some of these things, but, of course, that wouldn’t have been permitted!

I do understand that for those textiles that are trying to be preserved for as long as possible in museums, touching would hasten their demise.  But I wonder if we can loosen the restrictions from touching at least some quilts at some shows in the future….

Thanks for stopping by and stay warm!



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