Sunday, December 14, 2008

défense de fumer - a bit of history

Thanks for your helpful and interesting comments on yesterday's post. While I didn't put a date on it, I know it was made end of '96-early '97. Except for the black discharged fabrics and the stamped pieces that are her hair, I was still using commercial fabrics and still putting bindings on my quilts. I had made a whole bunch of scrap -pieced blocks (whatever that pattern was called - I don't remember) in preparation for teaching at a local, very traditional quilt shop. I got so sick of making the sample blocks that I decided I would be tempted to shoot myself if I actually had to teach the class. Fortunately, my sample blocks used fabrics that were too wild for their customer base -- including Usha's handloom batiks and other atypical fabrics, so the class never ran. Big sigh of relief!I was so happy that I didn't have to teach, that I decided to celebrate by doing something funky and fun with the blocks - so I set this one on point in the green and then I just got silly and followed my impulses. I was just beginning to experiment with text, and this piece was a toe in the water. I have no clue where the cigarette and the earring came from, but they made me smile. They still do. The piece is 30" h x 24" w. Your comments made me think the piece would be better if it were more ambiguous. I like ambiguity and try to keep my current work that way so the viewers can bring their own stories to the work. But in those days I was still making happy quilts. So, with my pathetic photoshop skills, I took the words out of the piece. Here it is. I think you might be right - it doesn't need the text. But I keep feeling it needs SOMETHING. Hmmm... Here's what happened to the rest of the blocks. I diced and sliced and sewed them back together with Kaffe Fasset's stripes and my own hand-dyed fabric. I had no idea what I was doing -- I don't know where this one came from, either. I donated it to the San Jose Museum of Quilts for their auction and it sold. I wish I still had it. It is called Aftermath. In the summer of 1997 I went to Poland with my mother and my work changed forever.

6 comments:

Eva said...

When I said I'm looking forward to something of this kind, I never thought of something like "Aftermath", but here it is/was: The great solution. Congratulations! A curagous act. I guess some quilters think, if they follow your example, that blood will flow from the cuts, do they?
The idea to introduce a piece with a surprising end of the story is great. Perhaps it might end up with a UFO-cutting-up-till-blood-flows-and-sewing-it-back-into-something-totally-different-CHALLENGE.

Anne Copeland said...

I LOVE the Aftermath piece, not only because it is a handsome piece, but because of the way you constructed it. This is so inspirational for me. I have a lot of things that really SHOULD probably be cut up, but I never thought of doing what you did. It is such a terrific solution. After seeing this, maybe there is hope for me yet . . .

Anonymous said...

Rayna, I'd love to know more about how/why your art changed forever after your trip to Poland with your Mom. Your blog RULES! Thanks, Debbie Bein

Karoda said...

I am asking the same question Debbie did...What was it about Poland, you, your art, and your mother?

Rayna said...

That's a whole story, which I will get to eventually.

:Diane said...

On the piece without the words... I like it better without words, too. If you decide it really needs something, I would suggest some more green in the upper left or expand on the hair treatment to give her really "big hair"!