In some ways, I’ve been thinking about making this quilt for almost a year.
It started when my friend Cathy gave me a book before I went to India. It’s called Tantra Song.
The book has reproductions of painting that author Franck Anrdre Jamme collected in the 1970’s in Rajasthan, India. Although the paintings are contemporary and anonymous, the designs originated in the 17th century, a form of Tantric art used to meditate on.
The paintings in the book reminded me of so many of the Gee’s Bend Quilts that first inspired me to start making quilts.
When I started sewing the hospital green and red (which are from scrubs that poet, and nurse Jackie Thorne gave me.) together I was expecting to make a rectangular shape out of them. But as I pieced it together, another shape evolved.
The shape was pleasing and somehow familiar to me, although I couldn’t place it. But I decided to trust it. I knew it somehow had meaning for me even if I didn’t understand it.
I turned the shape around and settled on it in an “upright” position. Like a giant boulder in an ancient stone calendar, or one post to a stone lintel.
I’ve never made a quilt with a shape that wasn’t all angles and easy to sew together. I decided to hand stitch the shape onto a ground. Making tiny dots and dashes of stitches along the edge of the shape.
It wasn’t until this morning, when I took down the scarf I was using as a curtain in the bedroom (with the cooler days, there’s no reason to keep the sun out anymore) that I saw the shape in the rock hanging from a piece of orange yarn alongside the window.
When I first saw the rock, which Jon had stashed in a copper pot in his office, I thought it might be a fishing weight. Jon had no idea where the rock came from, but I assumed someone found it on the property at Old Bedlam Farm. And although Jon wasn’t really interested in rocks at the time, he apparently thought it special enough to save.
The rock made the move to the new house and I just “discovered” it a year or so ago and hung it on the window.
It was in one of my Goddess books that I saw a photo of a rock, much the same as this one, and it was described as a weight used on a loom. The rock was special enough, even without me knowing it’s purpose, but the idea that it might have been a part of a loom, made it feel almost holy to me. A relic.
And wouldn’t that explain the comfort and familiarity of the shape.
I finished designing the quilt this morning. Not a reproduction of the Tantric paintings, but my own creation bringing together many different influences and elements, some I was aware of and some from my subconscious.
Grey Day, this quilt, named after Jon’s poem (yet another element) isn’t finished yet. I still have to back and tack it. And I’m planning on using that idea of the dots and dash stitching that I did around the shape in the tacking.
I’m thinking of tiny red dots and dashes on the brown ground and maybe the pink edge too….
When I done with it, Grey Day will be for sale for $425.00 + $20 shipping.