Thursday, September 1, 2011

John Lennon's Spectacles


I've never been a huge Beatle's fan.  Sure, I like their music well enough, and like everyone else I've had it playing around me in some form or another for most of my life.  Aside from that brief period in 2nd grade when my friends and I argued over which Beatle was cutest, they just didn't mean that much to me.  My husband, however, is what you might call a dedicated fan.  Make that Very Dedicated.  He will argue seriously that few musicians have impacted music the way they have.

So it is no surprise that when we were in England and staying just outside of Liverpool, we scheduled a day to go into the city to see the famous places in Beatles history.  We trooped around and saw the sights and learned things about them that even Roger didn't know. It was very fun.

I was having a nice time, enjoying it all in a "isn't this interesting pop-culture history" sort of way when a few things stopped me in my tracks.  One was a piece of handwritten sheet music which turned out to be Paul McCartney's handwritten early draft of "Yesterday."  There was just something so immediate and real about seeing these messy penciled scribbles, and knowing that it was Paul's actual hand that had written it.  (This picture was heavily adjusted in Photoshop, by the way, so you could see the music markings.  The real thing was done in very pale pencil.)


And then, at a Beatles' museum sort of place called "The Beatles Story" (which was WONDERFUL and really full of fascinating things), I came upon a small glass display case containing John Lennon's orange glasses.  The fact that they were orange totally surprised me.  (See?  Your major Beatles fan would have known he wore orange glasses, I guess.) 



But what hit me was how ordinary they looked sitting there.  A simple pair of glasses, imbued with such magic because of the talented man who'd worn them.  And that, more than anything else I'd seen during that whole day, made John Lennon real to me.


 So that's a long explanation of what this piece is about:  the glasses and the handwriting that transformed the Beatles from rock music icons into real people for me.

In terms of how this was made:  I screen printed text onto fabric with textile paint, and then painted the glasses on free hand.  The word "Imagine" is orange organza stitched on. The piece is machine quilted, mostly with white thread for texture between the lines of writing.

16 comments:

Karen said...

Ted thinks Roger may be a bigger Beatles fan than he is! This is great Diane, the screen on writing is something I'm going to remember.

donna!ee said...

beautiful beautiful...excellent use of orange, makes me happy! :)

nicolette said...

I love the Beatles, John Lennon, text and spectacles and they all come together beautifully in your quilt!

The story is equally wonderful!

Gerrie said...

Well, I think John was right! Judging from our reveal today, orange is a very inspirational color! I love that you created this just using orange. The composition is simple and elegant and compelling. The negative space in the background has a nice flow to it.

Helen Conway said...

Did you use wire for the glasses? It looks like it. I am going to haveto be a local tourist and go and see the real thing now I suppose :)

Diane Perin Hock said...

I should add that there seems to be something about my camera (or my photography skills, but let's blame the camera) that has a tricky time with orange. In reality, this is a deeper orange, not quite so fluorescent looking. Just so you know. But yes, it's still all orange.

JB said...

I thought the glasses were either printed or appliqued. Nice jog of painting! Very effective use of text.

Kristin L said...

I ditto everything Gerrie said. Simple, elegant, thoughtful, and inspirational. Love it!

Terri Stegmiller said...

The idea behind the concept of your quilt seems simple, but your results are fabulous. The textures and imagery you used really make this work. Love what you did here.

Leigh said...

Isn't it interesting how it's often the little things that make people "real".

When I looked at the image, I saw background text, the glasses, and teh word "Tangerine" - must've been the color influencing me!

Françoise said...

This is a very nice piece Diane, simple and effective. You had told me about the glasses, and I was really wondering what you were going to do with these.
Btw, my hubby is a Beatles fan too. ;-)

Brenda said...

I'm always drawn to quilts with text and this is not exception. I was going to say that it's beside the point that I can't actually read it but that's not quite true. The fact that only the word "imagine" is legible makes that word even more powerful.

While I'm familiar with the term rose-tinted glasses, orange-tinted glasses seem somehow more moving. That with the right inspiration, anything is possible.

Nikki said...

The background printing is wonderful. I of course had to look for the repeat. I can find repeated text, but not the edge of the screen. The glasses are great. I had to blow up the picture to be able to tell they are painted.

Terry said...

Oh, Diane! You have no idea what the Beatles mean to me and the place of that music in my life! I think there is a certain time in one's life, when you are just coming into yourself, maybe falling in love for the first time, living on your own, meeting new people--it is a time that never leaves the truest part of your heart and the music of that time becomes the soundtrack of your life. I was at just that time in my life when the Beatles were everything. Those orange glasses made my throat tighten and I nearly cried. So evocative. So filled with history and poetry. You captured them perfectly. I only wish they were bigger!

Deborah Boschert said...

Wonderful! I just love the story behind the inspiration of this quilt. How amazing to find such an inspiring trigger from such a small display in a museum. The very subtle black stitching around the glasses and the word is so effective.

It really is amazing how the Beatles continue to touch so many people. I loved the Beatles when I was in high school. I remember being in the basement of some friend's house and sitting in complete laziness on his couch just listening to the Beatles. That was in the 80s. Now my kids know and love the Beatles too. Those songs, tunes and sentiments are timeless.

Unknown said...

I love text or more the impression of text the effect with the glasses and the larger Imagine are very striking. Lisa