Summer Goodbyes

Once again, summer has slipped away so quickly. The nights are much cooler and the mornings so very dark. The garden is on its own for awhile, though I am still getting beans, squash, chard and tomatoes. This month I sent off two favorite pieces to live new lives in new places. Marge’s Pickledish went to a new home on the west coast, and Homespun will reside in NYC.

A History of Toil: Marge’s Pickledish, 32 x 37”, cotton,linen, found table linens

A History of Toil: Marge’s Pickledish, 32 x 37”, cotton,linen, found table linens

This little piece began when my husband Mike and his siblings were emptying my mother-in-law’s home after her death. Marge was not a saver, but there were a few family items to disburse and on the way out the door that day, my sister-in-law Maureen pushed the cut glass pickledish at Mike, saying, “give this to Helen.” Making regular appearances for holiday meals over many years, I was pleased to have it. Not long after, I saw some interesting cyanotypes made with cut glass, and I decided to give it a try. This was definitely a trial and error process, but I got some very useable images on linen napkins and began to create a composition. Pickledish is a very challenging traditional quilting pattern and I wanted to make a nod to that, and at the same time visualize something completely new. All the quilts in the History of Toil series are medallion compositions, so the design started at the center. I layered an assortment of vintage table linens and fifties style fabrics with dense stitches.This quilt was selected for Artist as Quiltmaker in Oberlin, OH, and was also part of my recent exhibit at Arrowmont in TN.

I had a good relationship with Mike’s mother and think of her often. Marge and I were friends for many years. The glass pickledish, given to Marge as a wedding present, and to me as a memento, may still appear at table now and then, and I will eventually assign custody to one of my daughters. Meanwhile, the quilt will have a new home, faraway, and I hope it will be enjoyed for years to come.

Books on my List

Here are a few titles from my recent reading list:

Fallen Land, by Taylor Brown; How Not to Die Alone, by Richard Roper; Strangers and Cousins, by Leah Hager Cohen; Hazards of Time Travel, by Joyce Carol Oates; and Family of Origin, by CJ Hauser.