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The Art Square

19 April 2020

Today, after a rather long hiatus of about six years from large-scale sewing projects, I started sewing a quilt. It’s called The Shopping Quilt. I made this cozy coverlet, of my own design and name, for Dear Daughter during the summer of 2014. It was a gift from me to her that Christmas when the Master’s Student in Classics flew home to California from her New England college.

She bundled it up and stuffed it into her backpack to stash in her overhead airplane compartment, that scarcely roomy but very regulated space for each cramped flyer. My intent for this quilt was not merely physical warmth and comfort during those harsh New England winters. I wished for my daughter to keep faith in the womanly pleasures in life, and to keep an open mind about the future.

My version of The Shopping Quilt uses an existing pattern called Art Square.

I think the term describes me well!

Basically, I’m an artist and I’m a square. I’ve always been an artistic square. The unique combination blasts out of the creative water all of the stereotypes about The Artist. My idea of a block party is a rectangular series of quilting patterns in a book, not partaking in a keg and bbq-ed food with loud obnoxious neighbors. The loud obnoxious neighbors are that blob in the bell curve of anything; I’m typically so far to one end of that curve that I’ve yet to be detected, calculated, quantified, qualified, or even identified.

Suits me fine.

I didn’t veer off the one end of the bell curve on purpose. It simply happened. Although that result came about neither simply, or easily.

Whenever the road got too clear and easy for me, I took a detour which, I assure you, was not a short-cut. Instinctively, I do not trust the smooth pathway to anything. Through early experience, I got used to the rocky climb, and I did my best not to complain about the arduous journey. No one promised me a rose garden; and, judging by the arduous efforts I’ve had to take this year to acquire roses for a yet-to-be-realized rose garden, I’m not promising myself one either, at least not till the autumn of this year.

Patience is now the hottest commodity that you cannot buy. I had the foresight during that autumn of 2014 to buy whatever yardages remained of this adorable, fun fabric at the online store, Fat Quarter Shop. I’m glad that I did. I cut out the pattern pieces sometime during January 2017; and then I moved out of the Peach House in early May 2018. Those geometric textile shapes had been boxed up, in storage, for nearly three years when I unearthed them this past spring of 2021.

Oh, what a joyous sight!

Images of truly chic women shopping in Paris; of the Eiffel Tower, the fleur-de-lys, shoes, purses, and the world of womanly pleasures are a delight to behold!

Shopping as a womanly pleasure, in real life, anywhere, out there, is currently a thing of the past. The Mall, the Ghost Town Maul of Womanity, was on its last legs in 2014, when first I concocted The Shopping Quilt. That sprawling and sterile suburban landscape has turned into an overpriced physical selling platform for cheap foreign-made merchandise. Laughter, frivolity, the brighter side of life, the livelier side of quality-made goods (i.e. Made in the USA):

A woman must hunt and gather those treasures herself, online. And wait for the polite and benevolent delivery guy to knock on the door with the purchased prize.

What could be more truly and naturally feminine than that audacious activity?

A woman sets her sights on a marvelous way of looking, and she aspires toward that end. Along the way, she discovers that looking pretty is more than a mere physical sensibility. The nurturing of a person sometimes starts from the outside, and the sensation gradates inward, toward her heart and soul.

For me, picking up this thread — any thread — from 6-7 years ago was a challenge. That challenge was to bear in mind the faith that I’d hoped to instill in my offspring way back when. There are times when a parent must relearn a lesson she imparted to her child.

Bother the abominations that come your way!

What the deuce can you do when the world’s gone crazy, and you’re still sane?

In the good old days, I used to go shopping. Nowadays, I create art squares from those memories. And, incidentally, it’s still hip to be square!


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