23 December 2006

Timber Ridge

When we lived on the coast, we had a huge window seat -- it would sleep four adults comfortably, we always said -- facing west. The view was meadow, then trees, and beyond, the blue of the Pacific. No crashing surf, nothing truly dramatic, but the ocean was palpably there, in the distance.

In 2002, after I'd been quilting for about a year, I was moved to depict that view. I was still working fulltime, and the hours I got to spend on the window seat, reading for pleasure or just spacing out, were a measure of the degree to which my life was in balance, or not. Most of the time it was not.

I drew the landscape, simplified my drawing, figured out how to piece it, made a pattern and, using the commercial fabrics in my stash, went for it. I knew at the time it would be one in a series -- a series of two, perhaps, but a series nevertheless. The light outside that window was so remarkable, so changeable, that one "Timber Ridge" couldn't possibly define the view.

Three years later, I took a class from Ruth McDowell, and realized "I've already done this." My job in the workshop, I figured, was to complexify what I'd done. Hence, Timber Ridge 2. This one sat, unfinished, for more than a year while we got ready to move and, eventually, made the transition from the window seat house up to Portland. A week or so ago, after finishing the Flatirons commission (see below) -- another landscape quilt, but one that reflects what I've learned in the interim about value and curved piecing, among other things -- I exhumed TR2 and, in a two-day frenzy, quilted every blessed centimeter of it. This evening I sewed on the sleeve and, ta da, the label. So it's finished.

I actually think the earlier version is more successful, though this one is more of a tour de force, I suppose. TR1 feels more dynamic, somehow, and the double border, traditional as it is, adds balance and a sense of completion. Maybe I can still add some yellow... nah. Whatever. It's like Grandma Moses (i.e. naive primitive-ism) versus Over-Complexification, and guess who won? Well, that's a lesson, too.

1 comment:

Gerrie said...

I really like the first version better. But that is me - I love nature abstracted. Both are lovely!!