Friday, 27 July 2012

Idle hands...

This week, despite the beautiful weather, I have been feeling a bit hermity.  

I've been curling into myself a bit and enjoying the smell of freshly laundered sheets which hold the smell of the sun.  I've been taking 'serious' naps, as in bra-off, contacts-out, naps.  
I've been doing a lot of writing and internet searching and a lot of re-reading of books.  All because of an idea.  

The idea, which was sparked in my field research and has haunted me ever since, is that objects and actions and even smells and sounds, have the ability to hold memories we temporarily forget.  As it's unlikely I will run away to the circus, again, in the relative near future, I found another way to 'investigate' this idea (without a funding body). 

I embarked on a new domestic adventure.  Quilting. 

Or at least I started, in earnest, a quilting adventure.  I have had it in my head to do this for awhile.  But it's more than a quilt.  In doing this I am trying to harness a bit of tradition and wisdom.  I want to collect the stories of sewing hands and materials, I want to create a collection of squares and memories.  I want to connect to the different versions of myself through sewing.  Part of me sees this as a bit of a research project with an exhibition of textile and story and oral history.
The other part, just wants to make a quilt.  I want to physically cut and piece and sew and create something tactile.  With so much of our lives tied to the immediate and intangible, I want to do something that takes time and effort and will endure time and technology.  

I'm embarking on the adventure with a friend, over the internet.  We are taking to quilting in two very different ways and writing about the process.  

We have only begun, but I hope you will follow along.*  Even if you aren't the quilting, handicraft-type, I think you might enjoy where the journey takes us.  That's not to say there won't be description of step-by-step process.  There most likely will be some dry quilt-eze, but I think there will also be some interesting narrative about the act of making the quilt and the memories the activities unearth.  

My hope is to have guest posts about readers' own experiences with quilting, sewing and the 'domestic' arts. Good, bad and ugly.  And who knows, maybe someday we will have that exhibition.

What I do know, is that at the end of it (if there is an end?) I will have a quilt, made by my hands.  A useful and beautiful object to hold some memories while I make some more. 

*you can visit us by clicking the link to the right or just bookmark


  1. This sounds like a really interesting project for you both and I'll be interested to follow along. Did you see the quilting exhibition at the V&A a couple of years back? It was quite lovely, but also got me interested in the links and intersection between the domestic arts and feminism.
    I'm embarking on my own learning curve on this front (since having a baby. Which, again with my questions to myself re feminism!) with some embroidery and a fair bit of felt-making
    I don't know. Somehow it felt important to make stuff with my hands. Plus asking my mum to share some of her knowledge re that stuff. Hm.
    Sorry for the essay! Guess you got me thinking on a Saturday morning.

    1. I love the essay. I'm glad I'm not alone in this unlikely (or inevitable?) interest in the 'domestic' arts and the related feminist thoughts or claims.
      Glad you're along for the ride.