We got back from Philly Last night. A week long Thanksgiving trip topped with a party where the inlaws who were not able to make it to the wedding could celebrate with us. They remind me so much of my extended family in New Orleans. It was a great time.
This is the part of the blog entry that would be an ideal place to insert photos of my trip. That is if I had any. I brought the camera…it never left the bag. I would make a lousy photojournalist.
I was able to see the Gee’s Bend Exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (You know the place with the Rocky Balboa stairs). Being from Alabama, this exhibit had a special interest to me. I loved it. Quilting is something I would love to be able to do (as in so many fiber arts, so little time). As I was strolling through the photo gallery at the beginning of the exhibit, there was a patron behind me explaining to her companion the how the meager surroundings and the compositions of the sewing room in the photo is where the quilters drew their ideas. Okay this might get me a some nasty emails. I think some of the museum folks were over-intellectulizing what was probably really happening. I think the women did have a great eye for color. And they while they did not formally know about art composition, when they need to break from the traditional quilt block patterns they learned from their mothers and grandmothers for what ever reason (like needing to make it faster, lack of similar fabric, etc. ) they were not afraid to break the rules (this quilt after all was for utility more than art) and had a natural eye for how to make it work. I read over and over again the comment….”It will keep my family warm” And like in knitting a shawl is created as a gift to provide the recipient with a hug, So did a quilt.
I found the quilts from the earlier days to be far more beautiful because they were pouring love into their quilts for their families. And the recycled fabrics were far more interesting, they had well worn character. But there was a period in the 70s when the women wear quilting home dec items for Sears and many of their quilts had remnant corduroy fabric in them. These quilts were still love-filled and amazingly beautiful and stylish. They were some of my favorite of the exhibit. At the end of the exhibit were a set of quilts made after they became famous. They are now able to get any kind of fabric they like. They quilts just were not as vibrant as they originals. Except the very last quilt of the exhibit. It was made entirely of store bought velvet fabrics. I can just see the quilter saying “I am going to make a quilt out of VELVET!” You could tell it was her dream quilt. And you know that as she worked each stitch and her hands held that luxury fabric she was in heaven.
I was given some vintage fabric right before I left Birmingham to move to Asheville. I was not sure of the age, my guess was mid century. It was quilting cotton, most likely flour sack. I used some of it to make project bags for knitting kits I sold at LEAF. One of the Gee’s Bend Quilts used some of the exact fabric. It was dated 1930s!!!! Who knew?
They rest of the trip was filled with playing tourist, visiting yarn shops, and seeing friends. I had some kick ass Vietnamese food in Chinatown and some killer Corned Beef Hash with pickles at Hymie’s Deli.
I got a fraction of the knitting I had hoped to get done for 2 holiday craft shows this weekend. So I guess you could say I am back to the grind. But the “grind” being my new job pimping yarn and knit goods. The last 3 days I found myself fantasizing about the yarn and how to grow the business. I have been itching to get to the dyepots and my wheel. You might even say my new career begins today. It is good to be home.