Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Study in Identity

So, I ordered my first ever complete fat quarter bundle. "Field Study" by Anna Maria Horner. I usually order a few half yards from a line I really like, or a smaller bundle of one colourway of a fabric collection. But I decided this was my birthday present - never mind that my birthday is at the end of October. We all know that in two months this fabric will be long gone unless you have a local quilt shop that stocks it. So I bought it now.
As soon as it came I pulled apart the stack of fabrics and re-folded them and checked them out. Then I laid them out on the bathroom floor, all ready to pre-wash. I really like this collection - the colours have a lot of depth and complexity, the patterns will cut up really nicely into smaller patchwork or stand alone as bigger pieces, and the way the shades and tones of colour work together on the various fabrics is really original. Once again, Anna Maria Horner's creative genius at work.
Now that my bookshelves are in the hallway right outside of my bathroom (also the laundry room - our house is very compact), I fold fabric and set it on my bookshelf, ready to be moved to my craft area. I was laughing at these bright, luminescent fabrics sitting in front of "No Exit" by Sartre and "Beckett: The complete plays" and assorted Shakespeareian Tragedies. I studied English and Theater in university, and I was fascinated with Modernist and early Post-Modern theatre and poetry.

At first I thought the two things - the new fabric and the old books - were juxtaposed. But then I realized that they actually, in a way, represent something similar. The thing I loved about those works of art was the strange moodiness and drama inherent in 20th century despair and disconnection. I love the surprising way images and metaphors and symbols were stacked and layered to create meaning that you interpret using your unconcious as much as you do using your logic and reasoning.  And really, except for the existential despair, I think the rest of that is all present in these fabrics, isn't it? Moody colours, dream-like images, bits of surprising patterns and symbols to sort and re-arrange to create all kinds of meaning and mood. Ah, I knew the poet in me would re-emerge one day. I just didn't know she's use fabric instead of words.

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