Tuesday, March 20, 2012

HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT

One of the first film crews I observed doing there thing was on the set of "How to make an American Quilt" starring Ms. sticky fingers, Winona Ryder.  It was the early 90's and the sleepy southern California town my family lived in at the time, Redlands, was abuzz about the stars that had fallen in love with the charming place we called home.  The plot centered on bride-to-be (Winona) who hears tales of romance and sorrow from her elders (played by Ellen Burstyn and Anne Bancroft) as they construct a quilt.  The movie tagline "There's beauty in the patterns of life" proved far better than the piece of Hollywood sh*t produced on the streets of our small town.  It came to mind recently, however, as I sorted through our hall closet, transitioning winter items into plastic storage bins for a long summers nap.  When you stop the noise of life for a second, take inventory of the volumes of STUFF you've accumulated over time, it's often shocking (and sometimes appalling) at how many things we carry with us.  I love all of those "things" though, because to me they are the bits that become patterns of life and a road map of where we've been.  Instead of packing away a beautiful quilt my grandmother made for my brother, I decided to re purpose it (still not sure why she never made one for me OR why I have his, but it's beautiful and along the way it became one of my acquisitions).  We frame our family photos and display our children's artwork, so why not honor the incredible creative hard work of our grandmothers by incorporating quilts into modern design?  If I put this on a sofa or bed, lets be honest, it would take a nano-second for it to be covered in dog hair and smell like bad breath, so I decided to honor my grandmothers work in a different way by making it a headboard in a guest bedroom.  By repainting a store-bought wooden curtain rod set ($9.99 at JcPenny) and hanging it just above the bed, I draped the quilt over the rod and created a beautiful, visually interesting headboard.  Honoring my past while designing for future guests...that's a star performance in my book!
QUICK TIP: Joe also inherited a quilt at some point (ironically Winona was one of his clients once upon a time), but it's a bit more tattered than mine.  The patterns and colors are gorgeous, but it's just too worn to display, so I thought (and I'd best ask him before I do this) about cutting it into smaller pieces and mounting them on canvases.  Michaels Arts and Crap stores sell blank canvases for as little as $6.99 (for an 8"x10"), so why not cut pieces to fit, apply with fabric glue and create beautiful art in a kids room, family room or hallway with 6-8 canvases?