Iowa Quilt Museum
I'm very happy that my recent Knot Quilt will be part of the exhibition "Here Comes the Sun" at the Iowa Quilt Museum in Winterset IA, from November 16, 2021 – January 23, 2022. The show is curated by Joe Cunningham. I hope you can visit if you are in the area!
I began my Knot Quilt during a residency at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle Maine the summer of 2021. Originally scheduled for May 2020, the long-awaited residency came in the nick of time as I was feeling particularly burnt out and depleted after years of relentless overwork, topped off by many months of isolation and stress during the pandemic. My two weeks at Haystack gave me the opportunity to reconnect with the creative process without thought of deadlines, clients, or commerce. It was a much needed break, and an incredible opportunity for refueling.
My first day at Haystack, our tour of the campus concluded at the library and I lingered to browse the fiber and textile section. I came across The Ashley Book of Knots, and was immediately captivated by the almost 4,000 knot drawings and diagrams, with descriptions and uses. I've always been fascinated by the art of knot tying and the infinite uses and forms they take, and have a particular fondness for diagrammatic drawings. The encyclopedic book is the result of eleven years work (and a lifetime of research) by Clifford W. Ashley, born in the whaling town of New Bedford MA in 1881.
Knot #1993, the Midshipman's Hitch, caught my attention with it's comical depiction of a scruffy sailor sitting in a loop with a hungry shark lurking below. The description begins
"When you have fallen overboard, which happens to us all, sooner or later..." and ends after a careful step-by-step with "...you are now quite ready to be rescued."
I revisited this book several times during my stay, sketching my own versions of the diagrams, my head filled with the ideas of function, purpose, knots, and untangling. Eventually I began work on my first Knot Quilt, and used the invitation of the exhibition as a catalyst for finishing it. Artist Carson Converse executed the exquisite machine-quilting.
I look forward to exploring this work further.