For our latest lesson at the online class I’m taking, we had to create something with the theme of “Self Discovery,” using our Likes/Dislikes collages and small quilted pieces from Lessons 2 and 3 (which I don’t think I’ve posted here… I should do that, huh?). The other night I tried making a wonky Log Cabin block using light and dark oranges, and wasn’t satisfied. So I knew that I needed to go back to the drawing board, so to speak, draw more sketches, and go in a different direction. The Log Cabin approach was too structured, and I didn’t want that. I think because it was too “safe.” That’s what I’m trying to get away from. The whole time I was making the little Log Cabin blocks my inner artist was saying, “Borrrrrrrrrring….. Can we PLEASE do something else?” So now I have two 9.5″ orange Log Cabin blocks. I might make 2 more and construct a little doll quilt for the girls.
Anyway. That’s not what we’re here to talk about.
When I was a little kid, I used to have a recurrent, totally indescribable nightmare when I was drifting off to sleep. The room had to be slightly warm, I had to be holding my mouth/jaw/tongue in a certain way (because I always noticed that if I shifted my face and yawned, my tongue would feel swollen from being in that position and if I moved it the dreams would stop), and I think I had to be really tired. The nightmare was (and this is where it gets strange — it truly cannot be described because it’s color, depth perception, heat, and motion — very very abstract) about undulating dunes of colors, usually dark oranges, reds, and purples, as far as the eye could see. And I’d be trying to move through them, unable to get very far. They’d get taller and shorter, wider, thicker, warmer, colder, and they’d kind of hum or buzz, the loudness changing the more stuck I got.
Because I could never describe these dreams in detail, I’ve never been able to fully get rid of them. For some reason they don’t terrify me like they did as a child, but it’s still very frightening to dream about being trapped by color. Helen used to have nightmares about “The Colors” a year or two ago; I’ve often wondered if she’s having the same dream, but because it’s not something I can explain very well, I don’t think we’ll ever truly know.
So. The other night, I was having an insomnia moment (all too common this week… And I’ll tell you why next week. I’m really really REALLY excited about something and it’s keeping me awake, which is ridiculous. And no, I’m not pregnant. Thank God.), so I came into my room and drew more sketches. I’ve been frustrated because I’ve been in a bit of a Creative Wasteland lately as far as inspiration goes, so the sketches were annoying me. The fourth one I did was absolutely an afterthought, but this is what I drew:
Once I drew it, I realized it was probably the closest visual match I’ve ever seen to those nightmares I used to have.
I put it together all in orange (my favorite color), with shots of light blue for contrast. The points were a last minute addition as I was sitting in the Kinko’s parking lot yesterday, getting ready to go inside and have it enlarged, but I decided they gave the dunes “teeth” and approached my fears a bit better. And I also wanted to have something that would be subtle if you were standing at a distance but you’d be able to see better as you got close. And I do love points in quilts. They speak to the geometry lover in me, I guess.
The quilt top is a mirror image of the sketch, because of the way the point rows are constructed (foundation paper piecing). Except for the rows with points in them, the entire quilt is currently held together with fusible web. I didn’t want to get into hand applique (don’t enjoy it enough) or machine stitching those curves — I wanted the instant gratification that using a fusible web product would provide. This is a wall hanging anyway (about 22″x28″ now), so it’s not meant to be super durable. And besides, the quilting and/or threadplay are going to hold this sucker together anyway. Who cares about raw edges??
So this is a quilt that attempts to vent my frustration about my creative wasteland of late, as well as finally giving voice to those dreams I had as a kid. Interesting. I didn’t know that was going to happen, but that’s immediately what I saw when I drew it. And I didn’t know I was going to draw it — my hand just sort of did it. Go me.