19 Jul

No progress to share yet

My mommy/artist friends can probably relate to this. I had a great sewing day yesterday. I chose not to run errands or clean house while the kids were at school, so I worked for 3 hours in the morning, and then both kids were out of the house for a few more hours after lunch. I sewed together about 2/3 of the houses in my city quilt!

Of course, all good things must come to an end because my son thought he had a short day at school today, but when I went to pick him up, he didn’t. But I had already stopped what I was working on, so I ran errands instead (not horrible — now I have batting and backing for the city). Then I had six kids here for about 5 hours this afternoon. Did I mention that it’s been too hot to even play outside? I tried tempting them with a sprinkler flower thing, but it is broken and they all decided that our wading pool is just too small. My American family and readers may not realize it, but Europe doesn’t do air conditioning in most buildings, except department stores, high rise office buildings and grocery stores. That’s why everyone is outside in the biergartens and cafés. It was 110° F on our balcony today, so the only thing to do was to hide inside in the dark in front of a fan. All 7 of us. Playing Uno. Fun, but no houses got sewn today.

Mommy/artists can probably also relate to the fact that I think I had something deep and meaningful about my art making process to comment on yesterday, but I didn’t want to stop my sewing to write it down (our time is precious you know), and by the time the kids were in bed at night I had completely forgotten what it was that I wanted to say. Speaking about deep and meaningful, I used to be able to make all that art school babble about proportion and balance and energy and synthesis, but now it’s all I can do to finish a complete sentence, let alone make it erudite. I say this because, somewhere in my head is a well thought out, deep concept for my city quilt, but when it comes time to express it, all that I can say is “shopping bags humanity organic growth of old cities HEY STOP TORMENTING YOUR BROTHER!”

I have been going through the usual phases on the quilt. I was completely frustrated with it. Then I replaced some of the dingier bags with the more cheerful colors from my second dyeing attempt and replaced the non-bag fabrics with bags, and whenever I needed to fill a space I used white. It’s not quite the “resting place” Deborah suggested, but I think it helped. I also moved the reds around a bit per Gerrie’s comment. I was more concerned with keeping the high rises on their side of the quilt though, and red definitely went only with the high rises. Sydney was right on the mark regarding thinkning about it too much. I tried and tried to think deep thoughts and justify the placement of each and every house. Then my brain just hurt too much and said “to hell with it, let’s just get to the sewing part and see what happens, becaus ethat’s what we like doing the most.” So I left things where they were after adding the white, and replacing other colors. I slept on it and it still looked OK in the morning. No great changes from when I was frustrated, but now it didn’t look bad. (What an amazing effect one’s mood can have on all manner of things.) I decided to just start sewing, and now I’m really liking the quilt. I think that the red roofs and green bits connecting everything are balancing out the red buildings, and now there are some triangular roofs that really add a nice bit of dimension. Then I think, “oh no, I’m just sewing.” Where’s the line between naïve for effect and naïve because I can’t do any better? Again, too much brain, so I’ll just keep sewing. Since I’m so close, I’m not going to post a picture until I get all the houses sewn together at least.

It may be a while though, because tomorow IS a short school day (Hitzefrei: they go home early because the school has no air conditioning and it’s just too darn hot to learn anything) and we have music classes in the afternoon, and Katja has no Kindergarten on Friday because the Vorschulkinder (kids starting 1st grade in the fall) are having their end-of-Kindergarten sleepover. I’m guessing we’ll be going to the pool or lake.

5 thoughts on “No progress to share yet

  1. Well… I love the descriptions of the city quilt and your life… but I am missing a picture! (Of course, I can’t really talk since I haven’t posted many pictures lately.) Have you heard that it is hot here in Texas too?

  2. I love how you describe the mama/artist roles…I have 2 teens now but I swear once upon a time there was evidence of my life as an aspiring intellectual…now, any analysis is quick and to the point as in “i’m down with that quilt”…or “i’m just not feelin’ it” :0

  3. I wouldn’t worry too much about how you’re evolving artistically or mentally-as long as you can use the word erudite in a sentence correctly you’ll be fine. Hang in there!

  4. I wouldn’t describe myself as an artist but I’m definitely a mommy trying to create and I very much enjoyed your thoughts on this subject. During the school year I have a good chunk of time to just sit and mull over what’s on the wall. I’m finding none of that kind of time at the moment. Part of me says just give it up for the next 6 weeks and the other part just forges ahead doing whatever I can. Looking forward to seeing your next set of pictures. You really do get a lot done Kristin, you give me hope!

  5. I loved this post! You had me riveted with your angst. We are haviing very hot weather too and most people in Portland do not have air conditioning. I think Steph and family will come over and spend the night. We have air, but it is not very efficient. But it is better than none.

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