Drawing and Fire

Calling on all powers of patience, of calm. Remembered to meditate tonight. It does help. My weekend just blew up. Sigh. Oh well. Such is being a parent. I will deal. The next two weeks are kind of a mess anyway. Why not drag the weekend down into the morass? Meditation helps me deal with all the crazy uncertainties, all the things for which I cannot plan. I’ve never been good at the not-planning part. I like to know where I’m staying, when I’ll be eating (which is so much more of an issue now apparently), what the plan is. There is so much uncertainty in my life that I am always looking for the certain, for the dependable, for the things I can count on. I tracked my blood sugar all day. Interesting how drastically different it is from a year ago. I’m not happy about that. That’s something I don’t want to deal with right now and I have to deal with it. So I will. Growl.

So I could have ironed the bird tonight and been done with that quilt. But I was watching interesting television (The Amerikans or however they spell it…) and felt like drawing anyway. I just wanted the thing done. So I did it…here’s the top section, which I started drawing on December 10, continued on the 14th, and finished tonight…

Mar 12 14 001 small

The middle section was started on February 17, and then continued on the 20th and the 25th…that’s a pretty big gap between the top section (which is interesting in itself), but remember I finished some major quilts in that time period.

Feb 27 14 002 small

Then I started drawing the bottom on February 19, continued on the 28th, and finished (?…still not sure that part is finished) on March 11. I’m not copying it yet, so I can add to it if I want to. You wanted to know how the drawing goes, right? Assume an hour or two each night, so that’s 9 nights, somewhere probably around 15 hours. Wow. I used to be able to crank out a drawing in 2 hours, maybe 4. Of course, those were one-page drawings.

Mar 11 14 001 small

I seem incapable of one-page drawings at the moment. This sucker’s got a lot going on in there. What’s it about? Menopause. Loss. Pain. Grief. Anger. Genetics. Aging. Me.

Fun stuff.

I drew during the union meeting too (AND took copious notes. Because I am amazing like that)…

Mar 12 14 002 small


I am really trying to take deep breaths and go with the flow. Every day there is something else that someone needs from me, something else I need to manage. I’ve decided the classified staff at the high school are idiots. There are issues at my school with testing. A giant cart with 38 Chromebooks showed up in my classroom today. There was no room for it where it needed to be; suffice it to say that I had to make room for it. Higher-ups don’t consult staff. I think it will be OK though. I’m looking forward to being able to use technology whenever I want, and not just when a cart is available. I will have to migrate everything I do onto Google Drive though. That might be my summer project. Better yet, maybe I pay the boychild (with my nonexistent funds) to do that. Funny that. AP exams are coming up…between the two kids, they are taking 7 of them…at $89 apiece. I emailed about a fee waiver. Seriously, is there not a bulk discount? You can only be smart if you are rich enough to take the tests apparently. By the time we get the scores, boychild will already have acceptances and rejections and will have picked a school. What’s the point again?

An old friend of mine bought a quilt from me back in I think 1995 or 1996, somewhere around there. This was before I was doing art quilts really…I had taken a class in that watercolor technique, where you used squares and tried to move the shading from dark to light. I actually have two or three finished quilts lying around here like that, and this was one where I did that in the background, but then appliqued this bridge on top; if you drive north on I-15 from here, you see this bridge over the freeway north of Escondido…and then I did all these silk-ribbon-embroidery flowers in the border and at the bottom. I had a studio space downtown, and was working downtown at the time. It was very convenient, before kids. I would leave work and go screenprint at the studio afterwards. I loved that space. I probably couldn’t afford the rent now…it’s all near the new ballpark and probably horrendously expensive. But back then it was cheap and kind of unsafe at night, but it was all artists, and we would do Open Studios during ArtWalk, back when ArtWalk wasn’t just crappy stalls for blocks in Little Italy. And my friend, who was another editor at Harcourt, where I worked, loved this quilt and put it on a payment plan (you don’t even want to know how little I sold it for), and she bought it. And then I left Harcourt and had kids and we lost touch, but I’m pretty easy to find, apparently. She emailed me two years ago to tell me that she had been living somewhere back when the wildfires of 2007 were blasting through San Diego County and the quilt was in the fires…

clipping IMG_20140312_144636

Seriously. It survived, but only barely. I don’t even have digital photos of this quilt, it’s so old. I plan to document it sometime soon, when I can chase her down (and a decent camera…working on that…)…but it was actually in the San Diego Quilt Show in 1995…

clipping IMG_20140312_144708

This is before I had kids…I think I was pregnant with the boychild that year. I was. I was so sick, I was off work from early June until late August or September. Ahh…pregnancy. Ugh.

Anyway, she wants to know how to preserve it…and my understanding of burning is that it leaves the fabric so acidic that there is really nothing you can do long term…but even in terms of storing it? I personally would frame it under plexi or glass and let it continue to deteriorate until gone…but anything else? I’m not sure what to tell her.

Interesting to finally see it. I’ll have to poke around for photos of it pre-fire. They would be actual PHOTOGRAPHS. I know. Weird, huh? I didn’t have a digital camera back then.

So yeah. That took about 10 seconds. I have a shoebox in the bookshelf in my office that says “Stitching/Art photos.” Guess what I found? Really CRAPPY photos of the original…


And a closeup of the hand-applique of the hills (which look surprisingly like breasts to me now)…

Bridge2Apr95 small

And the embroidery…

BridgeApr95 small

And there is one of my very early “art” quilts. See? There is a process…I did evolve. This was April 1995 (that’s what the photos say), almost 20 years ago…the month I got pregnant with my now-18-year-old. Kinda looks a little different from what I do now, eh? I was such a different person then. It’s not all bad. I think I’m much more of a fiber artist now than I was then. Then I was a screenprinter for the art, and the quilting was more of a hobby…just trying stuff out and messing around with fabric and fiber techniques. I took lots of classes with famous teachers and dipped my feet into a lot of techniques (Hollis Chatelaine, Ellen Anne Eddy, Laura Wasilowski)…it took me a while to find my voice, my place, in fabric. I was lucky in that I had already found it in drawing and screenprinting. It took Joan Colvin and Wasilowski to help me figure out how to do it in fabric…that was probably around 1995 or so. Maybe soon after.

Anyway. It’s an interesting story of a Nida quilt. Next step? See it (and its owner, more importantly) in real life.

2 thoughts on “Drawing and Fire

  1. Love the Lilac Bridge in the quilt (which, BTW, I can see from my house…well, if I’m standing on the roof).
    In our district, you get to pay only $5 per AP test if you get free/reduced lunch. The rest of y’all have to pay $89. Should be a sliding scale, I would think. Fortunately I’m only paying for 2 this year.


  2. Interesting to see your “roots.” I’m still dabbling in different techniques; there are so many things I want to do!

    I like that bridge, as do many people I know. It’s nice to see style? elegance? in engineering. I believe it has a twin…in Sorrento Valley somewhere?


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