If you have ever read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand you would remember John Galt. He was the altruitsic character that quietly moved through society selecting and obsconding the pure, the good, the creative and productive meaningful minds of society. Possibly the most impactful book I ever read, it has stayed with me as life immitates literature. I remembered the story as I made coffee this morning and wondered to myself, "if I was John Galt, who would I take to my secret society?"
Yesterday a box of books arrived at the shop...in it was Gwen Marston's 37 Sketches. Upon opening the box I was overwhelmed by the small size and the texture of the book. My first thought..."the cover is enough, I don't even need to look inside." You know what it is like. The cover is an invitaiton to the mind to be entertained and inspired. Despite being satisfied with a glance I grabbed the book and held it close knowing I'd make time to devour it.
Last night when dinner and the dishes were finished and I had done all I could on the enormous binding I am working on I headed off with a mental smile to indulge myself in this book. What I found was a fascinating collection of engaging quilt works. There is something seductive about the simplicity of working with shapes and solids. For me, so deeply embedded in working with prints particularly, I find the solid revolution very attractive.
The book starts with an introduction by Jean Wells. The idea of Gwen and Jean in a room working side by side stopped me in my tracks. I admire the confidence and security that comes with knowing that as an artist your statement is strong enough to be shared, interpreted and enhanced by other artists. It speaks to the heart of creativity. It can't be copied. In the words of Margaret Olley, "enjoy your own signature...no one else has one like it."
The quilts themselves are stepping stones through the discovery process of quilt making. They remind me that it is important to stop, go slow and fully explore the world of colour, pattern and design. Gwen states that working small allows her to get to the point of every aspect of quilting and in many cases these small quilts become bigger ideas...I am with her on that one!
Liberated String Quilts, Collaborative Quilts and Jean's Intuitive Colour and Design are members of my secret society. In them I find the traditional references necessary to validate what I do. Tradition is a word that is closely associated with creativity and an element of many of the quilters I would invite to my utopia. I find more and more often in the written word of quilters I admire that they, like me, pour over books of antique quilts. What we find is what we are. How we interpret the traditions set before us becomes our statement of who we are today. I suppose that in a less literal sense I do invite these motivating individuals into my own bubble of life...exploring quilting with them is being free to create as I see it...with a bit of help.
37 Sketches...an artists statement of where it all begins. Freedom to be creative...gather friends and enjoy it.