Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chokecherries

  
When I first heard the new colors all I could think of was fruit. Grapes at first, of course, then blackberries, which turn from bright red to burgundy to a deep, eggplant purple. I resisted and kept trying to think of another subject for those colors, but I kept coming back to some kind of fruit. Eventually I thought about chokecherries. I don't know if you live in a place where chokecherries grow. They seem to thrive in dry, hot conditions, usually along river or stream banks and if you were to pick one of the glossy deep purple berries and pop it into your mouth you'd be disappointed. They are not very sweet and have an almost bitter, astringent quality. But if you take them home and add sugar and cook them, they become the most delicious jelly, juice and the raw material for wonderful wine. They remind me of my childhood, picking them in the Idaho mountains near where we lived. When Ray and I were married, my Dad had spend several months making a good supply of chokecherry wine that we served with dinner after the wedding. I will never taste it again, I suppose, but can close my eyes and remember that rich, complex wine. The best my Dad ever made.

My little quilt, above, is the second chokecherry quilt I made for this challenge. I finished the first several days ago and was uncomfortable with it. I couldn't quite put my finger on why, except it just felt a little tight and fussy. Yesterday I got ready to photograph it and I decided I just hated it. It lacks the wildness and earthiness that are the essence of chokecherry. It is dainty and tidy and, well, boring. But I need to show it to you so you can appreciate how much more I like the new version.

15 comments:

Deborah Boschert said...

Amazing! So much better. I love the second quilt and your lovely story about the inspiration behind it. I especially love the doodly quality of the quilting. You really did loosen up. The wonky edge is great too.

Diane said...

I also love the story and while I think I would really like the second one IF I hadn't seen the first, I agree that the first has a wildness about it that is just wonderful -- so suits the subject matter. Your stitched doodly branches and bits add a great touch, too. I'm glad you did a second at the last minute.

Terri Stegmiller said...

Love it! While I really like your second version with the wondky edges, I just love love love that background on the first version and how the leaves fall over the edge.

Lynn said...

Love everything about it!

Lisa Flowers Ross said...

I think they are both good in different ways. The first seems more like a still life or study of the berries and the second captures more of the wildness that you were intending.

I also thought of berries at first but you can see what I ended up with in my play along piece on my blog.
http://lisasartmusings.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-work.html

Brenda Gael Smith said...

Like Terri, I am drawn to the collaged background in your initial piece. However, I agree that the second piece capture a sense of wildness.

I've never heard of chokeberries but love the story of your wedding wine. I just Googled chokeberry wine and gather it is popular in Poland. Maybe we could gather the Twelves there!

Terry said...

Yes, I think a combination of the background from the older piece and the foreground of the newer piece would have been the best combination all around! The collaged background is paper---maps of the area where we used to pick chokecherries and bits of an article about chokecherries, covered over with some of my tea bag papers.

Karen said...

I was just going to say what you said Terry, I find the background on your first piece more interesting, but over all I like the second one better. There is something to be said for redoing at the last minute.

Gerrie said...

I love your second piece that you made - the first one on your post - it is a bit confusing which came first!! I love the wildness of that and the irregular background. But, as others have said, the collaged background is wonderful.

Kristin L said...

Hmm, my comment earlier today somehow didn't make in on here. Anyway, I just said teh same thing you and Karen and Gerrie said -- love the wildness of the second one, but the background on teh first is super. It looks like it could have been a crumpled and stained piece of ephemera that got snagged by the chokeberry bush. I recognize your doodling in the stitching and hope that this piece is the first step in a looser, wilder, journey.

Elizabeth said...

Brilliant!!! Love the fee wildness of the second but I echo what others have said, the background on the first is wonderful!!!! How long did it take you to turn out the second version with all of that extra detail?????????

JB said...

Everyone has said it all. I admire your willingness to be so honest about your two pieces. In this instance, naturally organic, maybe overgrown and undisciplined feels better.

Nikki said...

I really love them both. Your first piece is so "Terry" with its strong lines and realistic depection. You capture an image so beautifully with fabric. But I understand what you mean by lacking wildness. The branch looks like it belongs in a well pruned garden. Your second piece has captured the wildness of weedy fruit.

Helen Conway said...

This is a fascinating lesson in design processes and working in a series. I have to say I prefer the first one- maybe I need to loosen up too! Oh and I could do a Poland meet :)

Françoise said...

I'd never heard of chokecherries either! I guess they don't grow around here.
I too prefer the second quilt you made. I like the black thread doodling on the leaves and the way you did the berries. (hum... is it cherries or berries?). Also the irregular edges are great.