When this 'rusty' pallate was first announced I was amused ( and please, no one take offence at this) that the first reaction of some of my colleages was to deliberately make things rusty. We live in a society in which rusty things are play things for us - cast offs that we can use to experiment with and make something beautiful with. Of course such creative recyclying is a very good thing. But all I could think of (and maybe this is my house renovation preoccupation again) was that many people have to live under rusty corrogated iron and be grateful for its shelter. Every rusty mail is put to construction use.
I have long had a South African fettish and all I could think about was the jumble ofTownship shacks - often rusty, almost always painted brightly and decorated with whatever is to hand - the lables off food tins are a common substitute for wall paper. Its the same thing - creative recycling but with necessity underlying it.
This quilt was made at the Bishops ranch retreat in Healdsburg where I had the priveledge of spending time with Diane and 43 other quilters. I already knew I was going to do a rusty shack and one evening spread all the goodies on the theme I had packed so they were ready the next day. I sat and mused a while and told Diane I was going to do the door to a sangoma's (traditional healer's) shack. But, when I came in the next morning and looked at them again they said, "Spaza shop".
A spaza shop is a South African shop run from the home of someone living in one of the townships. There are over 100,000 of them and each one financially supports an average of four family members. They sell the basic commodities and were especially important in apartheid when they were often the only shops available in the black residential areas.
I went to the kitchen trash can and pulled out some new quilting materials. Diane - who had kindly loaned me her Bernina - looked at them curiously, then, with a hint of fear in her voice asked casually, "Are you going to stitch those?"
"Yes," I replied, "but not with your Bernina."
The relief on her face was obvious!