It's ironic that as I got fed up with getting thumbs down reactions to the industrial quilts I was making and had moved onto some landscape work that I've begun to get some acceptances of them.
I’ve made 23 quilts featuring some aspect of industrial buildings. Looking back, I had always responded to the weird juxtaposition of giant buildings in a a suburban setting. Suburbia with its rows of identical houses gives off fumes of dullness, dreariness, predictability, inexorably depressing. But these strange giant creatures hovering on the horizon offer an SF fantasy like intrigue. As I recall, there has nearly always been some fascinating industrial building in my life!
My first memory is of the gasometer at the end of our street when I was growing up. You don't see them often now , but gasometers were like giant tanks held within a framework of lacy iron scaffolding. The domed tanks rise and fall as (I presume) they fill/empty with gas. I've never actually made a quilt based on the gasworks, but I've incorporated that ironwork idea into a few other things. .
My grandfather was a miner and I regret the taking down of the old winding wheels, the memorials to those brave and desperate dedicated men. The old wheels of fortune dropping tokens on warm hearths, or black lungs.
After my young gasometer phase I then worked in a huge Victorian chocolate factory that spread over acres and acres, it must have been about half a mile from the entrance to the technical library where I worked, picking out images for chocolate boxes and laboriously (and probably in accurately!) translating articles about cocoa bean agriculture.
Then my next jobs were working in long stay hospitals in the moors of Yorkshire. I would drive pas many old mill workings with their tall elegant brick chimneys, a dynamic contrast to the wide undulating expanses of the moors.
Visiting Canada, I drove through Hamilton, Ontario and saw the steel mill across the lake. The water is usually choppy and textured, the horizon is wide, and the mill stretches widely along the shore with more nad more variations of diagonals.
In my home town in Georgia, I discovered an old cement works hiding behind a newly gentrified boulevard of older Southern homes with wide porches and rocking chairs.
And on a trip west , I saw these funky little drills, bobbing up and down in the fields like demented old cows, sipping the bounty of the earth.
These different shapes and lines, odd pokey buildings, spires of metal and walkways of lacy iron, towers of brick and cement provide great possibilities to the designing quiltmaker! But responses from shows, and galleries and viewers have up to now been pretty negative: reject, reject reject, "we can't sell those", "why would anyone want to make a quilt about that" "what strange colors you use" etc
and so I must admit the Muse stumbled a bit...and empty landscapes with no polluting (and let's face it they do, however complicatedly beautiful the shapes) factories or utility works began to seem more interesting, and I'm definitely wanting to move into unencumbered space.
And then, wouldn't you know it, dear old Mr Sodslaw comes along: accept, accept, accept, will you send us one or two or more for our gallery in a power plant, for our steam museum, for the World Financial Center.....
So the Muse is looking right and left and right again at the tennis match of public taste wondering who will take the title this year! I'll wait and see what she decides!!
If you have been, thanks for reading!! And if you run a power plant or some wonderful industrial facility, consider buying some great art work for the board room! or, even better, the main assembly hall.
As always, I love to get comments! Elizabeth