For so much of my life, my deepest internal struggle has been figuring out which lunch table to sit at.
Remember the junior high lunch room? If you loved to read and you did your homework, you sat with the Smart Girls. If you liked sports, you sat with the Jocks. If you puffed cigarettes in the bathroom and wore black eyeliner, you sat with the Greasers. If your sweater matched your knee socks and your hair was perfectly straight and you wore a bra (but not a very big one), well, you might be able to sit with the Popular Girls.
I loved to read and to play first base. I had the right bra and the wrong hair. I thought black eyeliner was scary and loved those Greaser girls who were my snow fort buddies in third grade. So where was I supposed to sit?
By high school, the boundaries between tables relaxed. You were probably relieved. I was bewildered. A cheerleader AND she smokes pot? A Freak AND she got a merit scholarship to college? A Smart Girl AND she wears overalls and work boots... AND black eyeliner?
And. A concept that has been as difficult for me in adulthood as it was in junior high. It seems like most people who create wear And with great ease and I envy their freedom. At 58, I am far better at it than I used to be, but every once in awhile, the rumble from the lunch room starts anew.
This time, it started with my stitching.
Over the past six months, I've been a Spirit Cloth junkie. My stitches are starting to tell my stories. They have coaxed me back to my writing.In fact,like so many people who follow Jude, I find that those little lines of invisible basting are connecting me to myself in ways I cannot describe. So all has been copacetic in the Just Going lane.
Until my most recent applique project came back after months at the machine quilter.
|excuse the photo, you'd need a helicopter to get this right|
I took Kim McLean's Lollipop pattern and colored entirely within the lines. All of the fabric is commercially printed and none of it is recycled (I originally intended to use only fabric scraps from work but that challenge quickly went by the wayside.) In short, it is as different from my current work as it could be.
And here's the truth: the contrast between those two worlds knocked me off balance. Where am I supposed to sit?
Which got me thinking about And. A world where all those things could be true AND the work remains full of Spirit. Because this cloth introduced me to the peace of handwork and the joy of unbridled color. I started it in 2008 trying to match every last leaf to Kim's pattern and finished it in 2012 letting the circles fall where they may. I love the old ladies dancing in their sundresses...
...the redheaded boy shyly offering a bouquet....
...and my favorite, the guy showing off with his basketballs.
My balance is back. I love this quilt. I am calling it Lollipop AND Me.
It's amazing what a girl can learn in the lunch room.
oh I love this quilt Julie, everything about it, the exuberant colour the precise attention to detail, the totally joyful playfulness of it all it's fabulous!ReplyDelete
thank you, Mo! The precision, well, that's another story. Not one block has four right angles, not one circle is round. Liza says that's what folk art is and boy oh boy am I a folk artist...ReplyDelete
Julie it came as no surprise when I read that you are a writer, that your stitches have coaxed you back to writing. I enjoyed so much you 'lunch room story'.ReplyDelete
I love the organic, freestyle of Jude's clothwork too, and I also love traditional patterns and some commercial fabric (love Kaffe Fassetts fabric lines) ... I love the way you have been able to meld the two. The joy of stitch and colour is alive in this quilt.
Lovely to have visited your blog.
I'm so glad you stopped by, and with such nice support. You clearly have the AND part of yourself well in hand.Delete
yes. the wordDelete
replace ..but..at all times with ~and~.
last night i utubed Beyonce's half time extravaganza and
grinned all the way through it. there is and always was and most likely always Will be some of that in me.
there's room for Everything.
it's a really Joyous quilt.
goats and beyonce, dharma and pee wee herman, the Great Chair Heist and the unforseen....waiter, I'll have what SHE'S having. Alice, you're the greatestDelete
I´m a big friend of the AND because the "either .. or" is so reducing our space of creating things.Who is only made with one template? After a certain age you don´t need the sort of support that brings uniformity.ReplyDelete
And this quilt is so beautiful and shows so much joy. Sparkling like a diamond. And all those stiches which represent lifetime and feelings and memory. What a treasure!
Judes lesson for me is: Slowly going on! That works!
Oh yes, Doris, and now I understand why it feels--felt--so cramped in that reduced space. Glad you were kind enough to share such niceties about my work, too, it feels great.Delete
I love everything I do , did and will do. This is the best thing to learn. It is all one. I love this quilt too. Mostly because you just told me how.ReplyDelete
jeepers, Jude, thank you!Delete
What glorious exuberance of color and pattern! I love it. The story yes I totally get that too.ReplyDelete
I am at least old enough to know that my deepest insecurities are hardly unique. That's the difference between the lunch room and the adult dining room, right?Delete
Slowly AND painfully I watched this grow into one of the most incredibly fun bunch of candy colors to ever tickle my eyes. I am in awe of your passion and patience. I am challenged by your endurance, your drive, your exceptional details and ability to see the pictures in clouds. In short, I love it! It is you and will always remind me of you. But, please don't put me through it again.ReplyDelete
Himself is a real fan, especially when he wants dinner.Delete
I think maybe you just explained me -- I am an and person. Wow. This post is rich and thought-provoking, and your gorgeous quilt is a feast for the eyes--so, so many stories. Much to think about. For now I will just keep looking.ReplyDelete
The Ands are definitely more interesting than the Either/Ors. You're making me see all the personalities in the quilt, like a kid's story book when we zoom in so close (Singing) "Who are the people in the neighborhood..."Delete
love what you shared about the lunch room. brings back so many forgotten for now memories. and your quilt. oh, my. lovely. thanks for all of this.ReplyDelete
you probably forgot them for good reason! Wait till I write about gym class...ReplyDelete
well! there is so much here to respond to! As a lover of saturated colors, commercial prints, and a (former?) aficionado of machine quilting, I have been standing with my mouth open (and drool coming out) at the edges of the cafeteria for quite some time. "And" indeed! Here's what I take from your wonderful recollections of middle and high school and your reflections on the word "And" -- it's all good, number one. Number two, I share the sense that the progress of stitching bits together by hand is connecting things up in ways not yet known, and three, hurray for being a fiber artist AND a writer!! And, one more thing -- I fully expect the former and current styles/approaches to find themselves in a dark room some night and get it on. Who knows what will come forth?!ReplyDelete
Thanks for reminding me of number 3....I turned my back on professional writing for hire about 4 years ago and I forgot that I started out with my words long beforre there were clients buying them. I never thought I would really see them again, and never dreamed that it would be needle and thread that would bring them back.Delete
PS I forgot to mention that I think the quilt is stunning.ReplyDelete
PSS. that means a lot, I am a great admirer of your work, it sings ANDReplyDelete
Hi, Julie. Besides the fact that your quilt is drop-dead gorgeous, I've been staring at it for awhile while I stitch (well, glancing then stitching, glancing then stitching) trying to figure out what makes it so unique and absolutely pleasing. Of course there are the wonderful colors and fabrics and the fantastic stitching. But I'm thinking it's the brown background that makes it unusual and appealing. The brown as a neutral and yet warm color, I think that's it...maybe. I'll look at it for awhile longer. I'm using a brown background for my pomegranate tree quilt and now I'm pleased that I made that choice after seeing your quilt. A lesson about brown!ReplyDelete
I picked the background (which is actually more of a burnished gold or bronze) because I wanted to try applique for the first time and thought that a pillow that went with my chair (we are definitely Archie and Edith Bunker when it comes to our chairs) would be a good start. I forgot to stop.Delete
But yes, I have seen so many browns as backgrounds, I think it somehow works magic with the foreground colors. Like the earth, huh?
The story of 'and'...this is so, so good! And you have related it through such a joy-filled quilt!ReplyDelete
Thank thank thank you!ReplyDelete
well, this is going to be a wonderful place to come visit over & over! belated congrats on starting your blog. I've enjoyed catching up. love the energy of this cloth, & have a few of these fabrics in my old stash. identifying with much that you've said here. and still enjoying the lunch room story thoughts.ReplyDelete
hey, cindy, how great that you came by! Wonder what the lunchroom is to your boys....probably a place to eat, huh?ReplyDelete