Monday, June 29, 2009

On Art and Memory

Last week I received my June S.T.U.D. quilt from Karissajo.  Isn’t it beautiful?

The challenge was to make a quilt that uses texture.  She wrote that she had the ocean in mind as she made this – so the pleats in the fabric suggest waves.  It probably isn’t clear from the picture but the sashing and border fabric is a nubbly linen with hand embroidered crosses to suggest sand. 

It’s just perfect.  So beautiful in its own right. Karissajo couldn’t have known this, but it also awakens memory.  I live in Colorado now so it’s all about the mountains, but I grew up in New Jersey.   

I look at this little quilt and the week I spent at the Jersey shore with my best friend the summer before senior year rises in all its nostalgic glory.  I hear the cacophony of hundreds of little tinny radios playing the latest hits (“Hold your head up, hold your head up, hold your head high”) and it’s right there, the smell of salt water and coconut oil – because who knew about skin cancer back then?  We were on the bake!  Sand pulls from beneath my feet as I stand at the water’s farthest reach, a long, long horizon before me.   Or night time on the pier, circling dizzily on a spinning disc as George Harrison sings, “Here comes the sun, do do do do, here comes the sun . . .”

My gosh, it was a gorgeous time, though we didn’t realize, of course, how precious  youth is and how deeply the moments we collected would embed themselves.  How could I know then how it would strike me now so many decades later?  Such a sweet and touching memory.  As we strolled, Marcia and I, at the end of the pier where the rides and the booths clamored with noise and light, it was this wild sensory overload, but just a few steps down from all that and suddenly the clamor and noise fell behind us and the ocean was there, insistent, waves rolling, a lacy veil of white foam gleaming in the black and stars opening overhead.  And so right to be there with the friend I treasured with a passion.  Sweet memories, indeed.

And I, too, have a little quilt to send on its way.  I can’t show all of it yet since it doesn’t go in the mail until later today, but here’s a wee corner.

I love these little quilts that travel to me from elsewhere and come to stay.  They are quilts that I wouldn’t have made myself and they bring that newness of vision with them.  And yet, they also speak to me and become mine, as art should. 

Quilting, as always, opens doors.  What a lucky day it was when I started that first quilt and fell in love.


  1. I love the colors and motion of this quilt. Small world -- I spent my high school years in NJ too. You just brought back a lot of memories. Those hot, hazy summer days baking on the shore. The wall to wall people, the a.m. radios blaring and the boardwalk.....

  2. I love the colours in your quilts.

  3. Miniature quilts! Wow, some day I have to get brave enough to try one. They would be just the thing a doll needs to have. Thanks for sharing and I'll be keeping both eyes peeled for the miniature quilts book.

  4. Come and drink the koolaid. Most of the NI's aren't *that* bad. :)

  5. Oh Terrie! I just read the feature over at Sewn about your Dad's quilt. Heart warming. :) Every time I see your work I love it more!