Friday, June 18, 2010


June 13 -- rest stop

June 14 -- Flag Day

June 15 -- chests

 June 16 -- sky view

June 17 -- possum tail

June 18 -- soccer camp

Saturday, June 12, 2010


June 6 -- stop

June 7 -- in the culvert

June 8 -- pink socks

June 9 -- quark trails

June 10 -- from the deck

June 11 -- behind the restaurant

June 12 -- hollyhocks

Friday, June 11, 2010

My calendar quilt

I have written several times about my interest in daily art, projects where you make a commitment to yourself to make a certain type of art every day (or every week, for those with larger ambitions and/or less time).

My first daily art project was a quilt that has a block for every day in a year. The year was 2001, and I was inspired by a really dumb thing: the title of the old movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. I thought it would be really original to hijack that title and call my piece 2001: A Quilt Odyssey. Of course, it wasn’t original at all – in five minutes on Google I just came up with at least five shows with that title or theme – but it did start me on a wonderful piece of work.

The key to a daily art project, of course, is to set rules for yourself, and to write the rules in your own favor. You want to set the bar high enough so you will be challenged but low enough so you will actually keep on jumping. I did some serious thinking about this quilt in the last days of December, and decided that I would make a five-inch square block for every day. It didn’t have to be made on that day, but it had to document something that happened that day. Eventually I planned to sew the blocks together into a quilt.

On days when I worked in the studio, it was easy to make the block. At night, just before I turned out the light and went upstairs, I would gather up scraps from whatever I had been working on and sew them together till they were five inches square. So the quilt became a diary of the quilts I made that year (I was amazed to count up at the end of the year and realize that I worked on 42 different quilts).

On days when I didn’t sew, I looked for the most striking visual image of what I had done during the day. This was the biggest challenge for me. Since I don’t draw, I struggled with how to represent these days – and even if I had been able to draw, what could I execute in fabric within the confines of a five-inch square? I had to force myself to simplify, simplify, simplify. Turned out to be excellent training for my quest to become an artist.

Here’s one such block: we saw the opera “Daughter of the Regiment,” a frothy comedy where the guys all wore fancy uniforms. My first thought was to depict soldiers (which I couldn’t figure out how to do) but after many sketches, each one simpler than the one before, I came up with the essence of the fancy uniforms.

In a quilt this busy, it was nice to have some recurring blocks for continuity. I made up two blocks for travel days, a highway block and an airplane block. And a beach block for my calm vacation.

I’ll write more about this quilt in subsequent posts.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


May 30 -- behind the Mexican restaurant

May 31 -- Memorial Day

June 1 -- fifth-grade graduation

June 2 -- in the park

June 3 -- stone wall and redbud

June 4 -- blue porch

June 5 -- post no bills