After finishing a quilt, I start pulling books off the bookshelf. There are two favorites, American Quilts; The Democratic Art, 1780-2007, by Robert Shaw, and my The Quilts of Gee’s Bend. I have looked at these books page by page, over and over again. I went to school for art. I am well aware of the connection between making art and art history. The processes of quilting, makes me feel close to the past. This is something I never felt with other mediums I have worked with. I have often felt like I was born in the wrong time period. Quilting draws me even closer to a kinship with centuries gone. I love modern quilts, but because of these feelings, traditional quilt patterns are equally important to me.
For the quilt I am currently working on, I was inspired by two quilts that were in the American Quilts; The Deomcratic Art, 1780-2007. However, my newest book has changed the direction of the quilt. Last weekend I went to the American Quilter’s Society QuiltWeek in Chattanooga. There were so many inspiring quilts to look, but the ones that truly blew my mind were the quilts from Caohagan. There was a section of a room dedicated to these quilts. I felt like I was looking at the inside of my mind. I was drawn to all the bright colors, and patterns of joy. I loved the narrative they all told together, and individually. They had a feeling of freedom and playfulness.
I couldn’t afford a quilt, but was so happy to be able to purchase the last book they had left, (1996-2009) Caohagan Quilts; A Small Miracle of a Southern Island, by Junko Yoshikawa. This book is now in my top three favorite quilting books.
My quilt, that I am currently working on, was going to be a medallion quilt. Now that I have discovered the quilts from Caohagan, It’s going to be a little like a medallion quilt with a little appliqué. It might include a Tennessee landscape, and some appliquéd kittens.