Catching up – August

In August I started itching to get back to quilting. For all my hand-stitching, I hadn’t even turned on my sewing machine in weeks, and that was ok. I needed portable projects for keeping up with the boys. So I decided to hand quilt the Ballet Bag quilt (which I may or may not name “First Position”). 

The boys had camp for two weeks, so I also started designing. It felt so good to stretch those muscles, and though it took a little while to get going, I designed and pitched some really good concepts. I really hope that I have the opportunity to make those quilts.

On the first weekend of August, my mom and I got to spend a weekend in New York (she won a contest on IG for two nights at the Iroquois Hotel in Manhattan! winning photo here), and I’m so lucky that she invited me to come along. We spent it taking in art in many different forms.  At MoMA, I was sad that a whole floor, the one that had many of the minimalists, was closed for the installation of a new exhibit. They put a few on an open floor, but it was crowded and a tiny bit disappointing overall. It was good for me to examine my changing taste, especially how being exposed to discourse about quilting as art, and how it affected my reaction to certain work. I also realized that I was much more tuned in and interested by the stories about artists’ process. 

Highlights for me included the architecture floor, a collection of film posters belonging to Martin Scorsese, and a photography piece arranged the photos into groups that resembled the shape and size of a quilt. Interestingly, the photos were examining a global life-cycle of textile production from New York City to Africa. (I’m looking up her name. I tried to document all of the artists whose work I photographed but sadly didn’t with hers.)

Later in the day we went downtown to the neighborhood between TriBeCa and Chinatown where I lived for three years in college. In an alley is a tiny room that houses Mmuseumm, a collection of ephemera and cultural artifacts. This place made me so happy. It tickled the part of me that delights in things that are ironic, absurd, and provocative. The items in the collections were sometimes dubious in their authenticity (a collection of inmate inventions), but sometimes delightful (the “Cornflake Index,” with each flake in its own tiny case). The guide was so well written, the selection of items so diverse in their mundanity and value, I found myself more inspired than surrounded by priceless works in MoMA.

 In the evening, my mom, sister, and I went to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch with Taye Diggs as Hedwig. It was a magnificent way to round out our weekend of art, with music and theatre that challenges convention in the punk spirit. It was heart breaking and beautiful and helped me continue the internal conversations about my own artistic identity.

 Later in August, we spent a week in my home state, in the town and on the beach where my husband and I shared our first kiss and he proposed to me. There were toddlers in the house, so not much hand sewing to be had, but there was lots of music and coffee and daily Del’s lemonade (A RI must).  We came back home to New Jersey and the town pool and lots of library time. I’m working on reading my fourth novel of the summer, Loving Day by Mat Johnson. I’ve also read The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

I also came home to a newly tuned-up sewing machine, and finally plugged it in yesterday when my in-laws unexpectedly offered to take the boys to visit family for the day. I decided to use donated improv blocks from the Denyse Schmidt workshop I attended to make a quick top for NJMQG’s charity efforts. It’s so colorful and beautiful in its collaborative color. The fabric is all Free Spirit Solids and Denyse Schmidt prints.

  The kids are back to school on Wednesday, and I’m already laying ground for a fall full of quilting. I’ve enjoyed the pace of monthly blogging, and I’m happy that I have this record of my summer’s creative notes. This time of year is a great chance for new beginnings, so I’m going to seize the season and get to work.