For the Quilt Local blog tour (a celebratory kickoff for the publication of Quilt Local by Heather Jones), I was asked to post a photo of something that inspires me in my environment, share the reasons why, and choose my favorite quilt from the book.
For inspiration, I chose a sculpture from the Carl Andre exhibition that was presented last year at DIA Beacon, a museum just minutes from my house. I had never seen Carl Andre's work before and was deeply moved by its purity and grace. The sculpture I chose (in the photo above) is calm—it is literally grounded. When I look at it, the chatter in my brain quiets and I feel emotionally still. I like the subtle shifts in color, the contrast between the hard metal and soft lines, the sense of infinite possibility that it gives me. I like that it isn't fancy but it is complex. I like that it isn't demanding my attention but it has mesmerized me.
For the quilt from Quilt Local, I chose Shellshock (see photo above). Like the Carl Andre sculpture, it is calming, powerful, and graceful. I like how the yellows draw me in without completely overtaking the white and cream. I like how Heather has taken simple shapes and colors and combined them in a way that feels unexpected yet balanced. Similar to color studies by artists Josef Albers and Mark Rothko, Heather's quilts inspire me to stop and really think about how color and form interact.
When creating Shellshock, Heather was inspired by a painting of the same name by her husband, artist Jeffrey Cortland Jones. In the book there is a very small photo of Jeff's painting and it does not have the same calm feeling. Its title suggests Jeff might have been thinking about the psychological trauma of combat when he was creating it. If that is the case, then Heather's reinterpretation as a quilt and my reaction to the quilt in the context of this photograph and the book have taken it in a completely different emotional direction.
I actually edited Quilt Local, which was a pleasure. Heather is uniquely talented, focused, flexible, and resourceful, in other words, an editor's dream. We initially met at the first QuiltCon in Austin. At that time Heather told me a story about designing a quilt based on lines in a parking lot at a big-box store near her house in Ohio; about her interest in designing more quilts based on what she sees around her everyday; and about her approach to color, a combination of intuition and an acute understanding of color theory. That conversation led directly to Quilt Local: a collection of quilts inspired by local places and objects, each presented in two colorways, plus an accessible and practical exploration of basic color theory, quilt design, and construction. I couldn't be more pleased about how the book turned out. And I am definitely tempted to try recreating her Shellshock quilt in other color combinations. Like most of Heather's quilts, the construction is actually relatively simple, even for a beginner quilter like me.
The Quilt Local blog tour continues through November, with 20 stops in total. I am eager to see what the other bloggers choose as their inspiration and which quilts from the book they pick as their favorites. To check out the schedule, click here.
And now I ask you: What inspires you in your environment? Which of the quilts are you most drawn to (you can see more of them and some of the interior pages from the book here)?
To learn more about Carl Andre and his exhibition at the DIA, here's another video.