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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Closet Quilts


One of my goals for this year is to (finally...at last...) catalogue them, the finished quilts that live in the wardrobe above my head. I'm very, very bad at paperwork; my preference is to make, not to record. But every time someone asks me what size a piece is, I have to go measure it...again...and that makes no sense at all to me. So, I have a little book, and in it, I'm writing down everything I've made. Well, that's not strictly true. Everything I still have in my collection, or that I know is definitely somewhere else, like the healing quilts hanging in an acupuncturist's surgery, or the specific quilt I gifted to someone in the US, made for her birthday. Which is why I've got piles of quilts in the living room, and a tape measure on my knee.

Fortunately, though I've been working in cloth for over twenty years, the serious art stuff only goes back about five or six years, so it's not as if I have to dredge my rather uncertain memory for what I made Back Then. What is interesting, is clearly seeing the patterns in my work. I thought there were more quilts in the Texture of Memory series than there actually are, for instance. It is probably the earliest of the series quilts, and many of the themes in it, are still popping up in my work today. Many of those early quilts are either directly or indirectly about depression. One of them, Burnout, charts the progression of my last breakdown; my son can't bear to be in the same room as it. I know how he feels, though I see the hope in it, rather than the pain.

Art as therapy? Perhaps. But then, nobody criticises a writer for writing what s/he knows. I don't make quilts about depression specifically to help myself get over it; I make them because making art is what I do. And as I understand my situation better, it changes, hopefully for the better, and so do I. If that's therapy, so be it. For me, it's a by product. The real aim is the visual moment.

There seems to be rather a lot of work just lying about the house, waving...really must Put It Away. But not before it is measured and catalogued. What's scary, is that once this is done, I have to catalogue the paintings, too. There are quite a few of those, which accounts for the seeming gap of nearly a year, where I painted full time, pretty much, and didn't touch textiles. At present, there are paintings piled up in odd places. They aren't as easy to store as textiles. What I really need, is a Fan, who could take some away!

1 comment:

Shirley Goodwin said...

Marion, are you up to posting the odd photo of your "depression" quilts? Only if it doesn't distress you as it does your son. It's always interesting to see what was inside us at a particular point in time.