October 12, 2015

Favorite Quotes # 10 - Simple Things

"Some of the greatest poetry is revealing to the reader the beauty in something that was so simple you had taken it for granted."
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
Nature's Perspective - 1989 - 107" x 81"
I heard this line in the midst of a long, rambling interview I was watching online.  I backed up over the spot and wrote it right down.

I would expand the concept to all art, not just poetry!  Certainly for me, this has been a theme to my art making, though I have never realized it or expressed it so clearly.

I love experiencing art as a way to see more clearly.  I think art is truly art at its best when artist and viewer meet at that place of clarity and inner knowing, a place where they recognize and acknowledge each others' humanity and each others' spirits.  That to me is a great definition of beauty.

And these meetings are not predictable.  I like that I will never really know how and which of my quilts will impact which viewers.  Sending a particular message is not the reason I make quilts, that's for sure.

The image for Nature's Perspective came to me while driving home through Wisconsin farmland at dusk.  I felt like I was almost flying over the landscape, and the land was like a billowy quilt, tacked down at the corners by the farm building and the occasional trees.

But the most meaningful comment I had on this quilt was from our friend Jon.  He said it perfectly represents a vision that had always intrigued him - that the sky is so smooth and uniform while the earth below is so varied and dimensional.  Sure 'nough, he's right!  But that concept had never entered my mind while designing the quilt.  That conversation taught me a lot about art.

Actually, I get a bit perturbed about writers who try to define what "Art" is in discussions about whether art needs to be beautiful, or needs to have social commentary, or needs to be shocking and cutting edge, or needs to be created in a perceptible series that experiments around a theme (as I was told in a quilt design workshop years ago), or needs to be in fine art media, and so on and on and on.

In my world, Art is what someone is drawn to create, and Art is what gives someone else a satisfying experience.

Details about how the quilt was made:
The sky is half a Sunburst pattern.
The farms are Prairie Queen and Corn and Beans blocks.
The farm buildings are black felt.  The glowing windows and the trees are embroidered.

Due to the perspective, there are no two templates exactly alike.  My husband the engineer helped with the drawing and figuring.  Every template was numbered and marked for right side and top.  It was quite a serious undertaking!  I have never made such a large and complex art quilt before, and have no plans to do so again!

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