My favorite parts


Potholder Quilt pieced together

I have a few favorite parts on this quilt.  Both the orange piece on the top of the quilt and the large blue square are made up of pieces of fabric, because I didn’t have one piece large enough for each.  Both were unplanned in this way and I worked with what I had. The way they turned out makes me want to make a whole quilt doing the same thing.  I love the  different shades of rectangular and square shapes that make the block of color.  On the orange I used the backs of T-shirts, on the fronts are logos and iron-on pictures that only show through as variations of orange.

I knew the blue tie that makes up the edge on the right side, with the 2 flowers, was perfect from the moment I saw it in my tie box.   And somehow the tie with green with orange and yellow stripes below it just works, although I couldn’t say why.

My other favorite part is where I started.  The patchwork piece just left of center.  I began by using all the left-over squares of polyester that I found while cleaning my studio.  I eventually added some cotton pieces that worked with the quilt overall, but I still like looking at it and trying to figure it out.

The last piece  that I find my eye lingering on is at the bottom of the large green and gold and orange and white panel where it makes it’s way down to a small square of the same fabric on the bottom border.  Where these two come together, the hard edge disappears.  And the eye moves easily off the bottom of the quilt.

17 thoughts on “My favorite parts

  1. Maria, it’s interesting to hear (read) you analyze your quilt like this. Do you think most people ‘get it’ in that artistic way, or do they just think you’re using up old fabric any old which way? Does it matter to you, or is it just the artistic process that is important? Do you think the original quilts made of necessity out of worn-out clothes were made with an artistic eye or just purpose-made to be functional? It’s late, I can’t sleep, and I’m just musing about art vs function. The discussion could be interesting…

    1. Well, Hazel, they are good questions. I don’t know if people get it the way I do, but once I put a piece out in the world I don’t have control over how people will think about it. I do love to connect with people, so I hope they see if not what I’m seeing, than something that speaks to them. Often people will tell me something about my work which I didn’t think of at all, yet I can see what they are seeing.
      I think some quilts were made with and an artistic eye. I often think of all the female artists through time who only got to express their creativity through domestic arts. It’s hard for me to imagine anyone putting together a quilt, even out of pure necessity and not considering which pieces of fabric should go next to each other. On the other hand, if a person hating doing it and had to, I could see just making it as painless as possible. Thanks for getting me thinking.

  2. Hi Maria…..great quilt! I am pulled to the piece of fabric that shows the night sky. In my own life I am very drawn to renditions of the moon, either alone or with the stars.

    Do you name every quilt that you make?

  3. I too appreciated your analysis of the “Potholder Quilt”. It brought me back to an Art History class in college. The professor used slides to show us how the painting causes the viewer’s eye to roam the painting &/or fix on a particular part. So after I read your discussion of your favorite parts, I looked at the Quilt as if I were looking at a painting. Your placement of the pieces of fabric did cause my eye to move around the canvas of your quilt – planned or unplanned. Have a colorful day. Mary Rita.

    1. I suppose that and in my drawing classes is where I learned to see and appreciate and talk about about art. Something that is really just about looking and thinking and seems so alien to many people. I think it would be great if we learned this in school just as we learn math or english.

  4. Thanks for your views on this, Maria. You’re so right about many women in the past finding their only creativity in functional chores…like the amazing quilts of Gees Bend!

    I’m just conflicted about what our world needs more of…art or practicality/function. In this world of too much ‘stuff’ how should we, how CAN we, ALL express our creativity? Many people have no natural talent or artistic eye but continue to pump out decorative, Michael’s-supplied ‘crafts’ that invariably end up in yard sales or thrift shops or the landfill (heehee…I typed ‘landfull’ first…Freudian slip! ;-)).

    How do we determine what is ART? How do we determine what is necessary to produce for the expression of the spirit, not just our own but the millions needing expression? How do we decide what should be put out into the world? Being a longtime environmentalist, I struggle with my creativity vs the need to live a small, sustainable life.

    (Maria, if you prefer we could chat on email rather than here; I don’t want to hijack your comments! If so, just delete this. Thanks for listening though.)

    1. I remember being in art class and having the discussion with a drawing teacher about saving my work. I didn’t believe in saving things, trying to live simply. I started using found pieces of metal and wood to paint on, when I was done with them I felt I hadn’t created more waste. It was also so much less expensive than canvas or paper. How do we determine art? I’ve thought of this a lot over the years and it continues to change. For me art has to have layers of meaning and have the intention of the creator for it to be art. But I’m an advocate of self expression no matter how a person chooses to do it ( as long as no one is being hurt). In saying that I also believe we are all responsible for what we put out into the world. Whether the content or the materials we use.
      And I love having this open conversation, thanks for bringing up thoughtful questions.

  5. Maria, so you have to have something to ‘say’ to create art? Is that the difference between your quilts and those created by quilters following a pattern?

    I so appreciate that you reuse old clothing. There’s enough stuff in this world already without buying new and creating more! My little cottage has been made ‘home’ with things from yard sales, used furniture stores, and thrift stores, and my clothes are all from thrift stores or even hand-me-downs from my daughters. 😉 It’s so much more satisfying than the ease of buying new.

    I’m trying to take the next step in my life, thus all the questions. Thanks for being patient with me. At age 60 I’ve developed arthritis in my hands (in spite of an excellent diet and exercise, darn!), and I need some way of expressing my creativity other than crocheting/knitting which I can’t do anymore. I thought I’d try sewing but is there really a need? I have to think more about your comment on self-expression.

    Thanks, Maria. (((hugs)))

    1. Hi Hazel, I think you do have to have something to say, not that you always know what it is when you start creating. But it usually makes itself known. The important thing to do is start doing something and trust it will take you where you need to go. Grandma Moses is one of my hero’s. She started painting when she was she got arthritis and couldn’t needlepoint anymore. I think she was in her 70’s and painted till she died in her 90’s. And again, I can’t tell you how important I feel self expression is. Without it we can not be our authentic selves. Let me know what you decide to do Hazel, and check out Mary Rita Scotts comment if you haven’t seen it already, there’s so many ways to create.

  6. Hey Maria, Funny, the first thing that lept out was the two men’s ties. What a lovely quilt. :~)

  7. I just finished reading a book by Jennifer Egan, “A Visit from the Goon Squad”. One of the main characters, Sasha,
    creates art by using bits & pieces of paper with family related notes (such as Dental apmt. 7/15/11). She says then the art is truly a summary of their lives. She also creates sculpture from broken pieces of objects (like Jack Metzger does) – so that nothing is wasted and the past becomes the present and survives into the future.

    My own personal take about the topic of what to put out into the world is: whether it is a new baby (the world is overpopulated, after all); a pure bred dog like Lenore ( when there are so many dogs that need rescuing); or art of any kind from any material (new or used, functional or not)….follow your BLISS (Joseph Campbell). Do what your spirit compells you to do (as long as it isn’t destructive to you or anyone else).

    Thanks for this invitation to an open discussion.

    1. Love the idea of art made of papers from a life. And I agree with you about the Bliss. I think Hazel will get a kick out of your comment.

  8. I got a great deal of pleasure discovering all the design elements composition scale color it was exciting like an abstract work of ART only the colors were much better , we have some you’re original pot holders in our country Kitchen we love them

  9. Maria and Mary Rita, thanks for openly discussing art and creativity here. You’ve both sure got me thinking! So: follow our bliss, express ourselves, be authentic, work around apparent handicaps. I suppose everyone has to express themselves in some way whether it’s a nice meal, a flower garden, a poem, a song, a decorated home, or a craft.

    Another issue is to give ourselves PERMISSION to do it. That’s a whole other kettle of fish!

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