Monday, December 1, 2008

Change

In recent emails between the group a couple of us have commented on the importance of contemplation time for this challenge. Certainly this quilt was formed out of a set of random thoughts which had been swirling about for some time which suddenly clarified at 2am in the morning whilst I was waiting for the networks to declare Ohio in the US elections so that I could go to bed. My first thought when the theme was announced was of the current economic climate - see this post. Then I thought about working with fractals but had decided that such a small quilt needed something simpler and had been pondering binary code. Then, I was watching the BBC coverage and looking at the ever changing map of red and blue states. Change of course, being Obama's catchword was ever repeated and suddenly I remembered a story Dennis told me years ago.

He was behind a middle-aged woman at a shop till, rather grumpily wondering what on earth was taking her so long to make her purchase. When finally she was done she turned around and said, "I'm sorry I was slow. I'm just learning to count money'. Dennis told me because he was so impressed that she would make the effort at that stage of her life and that she was not ashamed to tell him. Change is indeed possible and one change that was happening on election night was that young people and old people who had never voted before were learning the importance of standing up and being counted.

The maths in an election is quite simple but produces the posisbilty for complex changes.

This quilt is made from a base layer of fabric fused to Pelmet vilene and edged using a tutorial I found on Terry's site. Then there is a layer of painted Lutrador cut into two sets of horizontal strips and hinged at either side embellished with little parcels of plain Lutrador tied with Perle thread. Those 'beads' represent the 'ones' from binary code. You may think also of voting papers. Over that is a layer of blue painted Lutrador cut into vertical strips embellished with stitch and sewn on pennies. ( which may explain the mystery in this post) The pennies are literally small change and represent not only the 'nought's of binary code but also the fact that with the current economic climate we are all facing potential change in finances which may reduce us to dealing with smaller sums of money. Hopefully this quilt is a reminder that beautiful things can be made from insignificant things. If change means simplification it is not necesserily a bad thing.

On each layer I allowed the grids to be a little uneven - change is never easy to co-ordinate with ecah of us starting from a different position and moving at a different pace. The strips can be woven at will to create a changing display on the quilt top, reminiscent of the changing electoral maps.

I think it is interesting that the quilt actually looks much better with a mix of Republican red and Democrat blue than with just one layer.

13 comments:

Gerrie said...

You never cease to amaze me with the thoughtful way that you approach each of these challenges. You use surprising elements and you make us think. I really do appreciate this, but at the same time, do you know how inept I feel every time you post one of these magical puzzles?

Karen said...

Helen, you are so innovative in your fiber art and this piece is no exception! Your use of non traditional items really draws my attention to your message and always leaves me thinking "why didn't I think of that"

Nikki said...

I love how each of your quilts makes us think! Each of the details has so much meaning. The interactive nature draws one in. I can't wait to see it in person some day.

Kristin L said...

You've upped the "profound-o-meter" on this one! I admit I was a little concerned when you mentioned how many concepts you were going to pull together for this one, but you've done it beautifully. I'm smacking my head too that I would never have thought of this. I particularly love that it is changeable -- just like our politics!
;-)

Diane said...

Oh, Helen, this is wonderful. I always enjoy your thought processes and how you interpret complex ideas visually. This is so striking to look at, even without understanding the symbolism of the components. Your details are quite perfect as symbols for electoral change. I love the graphics of the pennies and "voting" papers, too. Well done!

Deborah Boschert said...

I agree. It is successful as a beautiful design even if you don't know all the symbolism. But --- wow --- the symbolism is so interesting too. I love the voting bundles and the pennies. I also love the sheer quality of the lutador. It's very interesting to see the little bundles under some of the blue pieces. It also gives it a tiny purple haze. That's what I think our country really is -- more purple that just red and blue.

Terry said...

Oh I love this! Clever, clever, clever. The play on change/change, the binary 1s and 0s using coins and paper--all of it. The feeling I get looking at it is that it is like a gameboard and the elements can switch instantly, as of course, they could theoretically! I can almost hear a little clicky sound in my head as I look at this.

Nikki said...

I just noticed the voting papers peeking through thanks to Deborah's comment. One more thing to adore.

kirsty said...

Kristin hit the nail - Profound-o-meter!! It's completely off the chart! How extraordinary is this little quilt. How clever you are.
xxx

StegArt said...

What great timing for this quilt, as it parallels the US election and the financial problems that are also going on. As I stated in my comments about Kristin's quilt, I'll repeat that here as well....your thought process behind your work always amazes me.

Françoise said...

Very very clever... I take my hat off to you!

corryna said...

This is so very creative! A very clever idea indeed

Helen said...

Hi Helen

I just left a comment on Brenda's blog, but now I have read this post I can see that the blue/red parts are not hinged as I thought, they are woven. Never mind, this is very, very good. I love your story about the woman learning to count change. Not many people are able to do this once essential skill any more. They rely on the till to work out what they have to give back (assuming they have customers who use the 'folding stuff'!

This piece works on so many levels. Well done!