Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hand Printed Block Print Row House Quilt

Before my kitchen began construction, I was able to finish piecing and basting my house quilt.  For a few weeks I was plucking away at printing, ironing, making patterns, cutting, piecing etc.  It was a long and drawn out process because of life always interrupting.  On Monday, I began quilting and the workers began tearing up my kitchen.   This step of the game went surprisingly fast even with hand quilting!   While I'm happy with the role the stitching played, the colors of the quilt weren't my first choice or what I had envisioned.  They were a mere result of what was available at the local fabric store.  I would like to make more versions of this quilt in different colors that may or may not emphasize the negative spaces around the houses.  For me, this is what the Row House pattern is all about--the negative space that creates a letter Y shape.  The concept of this quilt is the magnification of the block print through the quilt piecing.  The bottom checker board area offers contrast to the house patterns but also compliments and anchors the whole piece visually.  I like to think of it as undeveloped land. Overall, I'm happy with this quilt but am regarding it as take one.  There is more I can develop here visually and conceptually. 

Just a thought regarding design:
Recently I toured the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio in Oak Park.  He is famous for designing everything in a home right down to the napkins and dishes leaving no room for surprises that may clash with his vision.  A control freak? Probably. But isn't that the essence of design?  I am always aware of the rules that I draw for  a painting or quilt.  Be it a color scheme or a pattern structure, there is always some designing happening; yet, I try to allow for surprises and improvisations to find their way in.  Allowing these blessings to happen and knowing when and how to keep them can be hugely rewarding.  I tried to strive for a balance in this quilt by creating rules and then, constantly breaking them.  I don't know if it is brilliant or lazy or just a means of shifting the onus of the outcome onto fate.   I wonder what Wright would think.  Did he ever improvise? 

A thought on the Y shape:
I mentioned above my recent obsession with the Y shape. Not only does it appear in this block print design, but in the veins of leaves I paint, the branching of trees, etc.  It is actually the symbol for Chicago if you examine the manhole covers; it represents the split of the Chicago river.  I'm not sure what I think all this means if it means anything.  I'm just noticing that it is appearing and reappearing in my work without me being aware, and that I respond to it.   Anyone else noticing Y's in nature or elsewhere?


Flips side color blocked

detail of stitching

on the lawn

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful quilt, Anna. I love that you see improvisations and surprises as blessings. I think that in art and in life, we all have rules or a pattern/structure we want to adhere to but the blessings come in the surprises that sneak in between the structure we are trying so hard to maintain---kind of like the letter Y that is in between your houses and sneaking into your life.