Monday, December 5, 2011

Goodbye quilts

I wrote last week about my love of commercial prints, and how I am chagrined to realize how many fabrics in my stash are pretty disgusting.  Don't know whether this is a function of overall changing tastes (I sure had a lot of yucky browns and beiges dating back to the earth-toned 70s) or to my own growing discrimination as an artist.
About ten years ago in a period of creative blight I decided to make a bunch of "goodbye quilts." These were made from the ugliest, most misbegotten fabrics in my possession, without much worry about design or composition. They were generally large-lap-sized and used traditional quilt blocks. The rule was that if anybody expressed an unsolicited positive comment about one of these quilts, they got to take it home, and it was surprising how many pieces got to leave under those circumstances.

Some of them went to the Holocaust Museum in Houston in 2001, where Rachel Brumer had an exhibit of her quilts about holocaust victims. She wanted to be able to give quilts to museum visitors as an expression of human compassion, and I was pleased to send her some of mine to put on the pile.

I called them goodbye quilts because I got to say goodbye to these pathetic fabrics without actually incinerating them. Even though the quilts were pretty awful-looking, it gave me a thrill to turn them into something useful, and to have them leave my premises.  And after I had made a dozen or so goodbye quilts I found that my creative block had disappeared and I was ready to tackle something more demanding and rewarding.

I'm sorry that most of the goodbye quilts came and went in the days before I owned a digital camera and had gotten into the habit of documenting everything I made.  The two shown here are the only images I can find of that series.

Today my stash doesn't include as many dogs as it did a decade ago, thank heaven.  I'm now down to a truckload of prints that are still mostly appealing to me, even if I don't know what to do with them. 

1 comment:

  1. The idea of good-bye quilts, both in making and disposing of them, is a good one. Hope you enjoyed my striped fabric video response.