With this contemporary art quilt, “Dreams of Pinot Noir”, I’m continuing my blogs about my series that I’ve done on Wines of the World. Packed into its relatively small space, (36.5” sq or 93 cm sq), are lots of subtle details. Good pinot noirs are known for their elegant, velvety textures and are described as being of “leather and lace”, so that’s the look that I was going for as I began this piece.
The image for this quilt came to me as a whole image in a dream. I have some of the coolest dreams, and this one was while I was dozing on a bus during a tour of the Burgundian wineries. The section of road that we were on was overhung by trees, so that the sunlight was flashing on and off as we drove under the shade of one tree, moved out into an open area, and then were in the shade again. In that halfway state between consciousness and deep sleep, I could see behind my closed eyelids, the lights flashing on and off. All of a sudden, I “saw” the image of this quilt, which looks pretty much the way that I saw it in my dreams.
In this detail, you can see some of the folded ribbon flowers that I was making at the time, with the burgundy one in the middle right with a button center being the largest of the the ones in this scene. Directly above it, to its left, is an antique crocheted button with a seed bead center that probably graced a coat at some point in the past. In the middle are some of the tri-colored grapes that I embroidered with floss. The large leaves are sort of rubbery and have a mildewed look to them. I found them by accident in the silk flower section of a local crafts store. They were exactly the effect that I needed to duplicate the aging grape leaves that I “saw” in my dream. In the lower left is a white lace grape motif that I again found by accident, this time in a fabric store that I have been going to since I was a child, Mary Jo’s Cloth Store, which is now in Gastonia, NC, USA. (I used to play under the tables while my mother picked out the fabrics for my dresses for the upcoming school year.)
I think that you can get a sense of the wealth of materials that I have in my studio by looking at this detail shot. In the center is a black, embroidered button that I got from M&J Trimming in New York City, USA. That amazing place is a “candy store” for ribbons, buttons, and all kinds of trims, with a patient staff that will pull down materials from the top shelves for you to drool over. Below it to the left, and to the right are some of the costume jewelery pieces that I find at thrift stores, yard sales, and of course, on eBay. My rule of thumb is to look for pieces like necklaces or bracelets, count the number of individual elements that can be cut apart, and divide that number into the total price to get a cost/unit. Over the years, (and countless purchases), I have a sense of what can be found out there in the supply stores and how much they cost. Jewelry pieces, however, can give an individual look to an art quilt, as you usually won’t be able to get more of that piece. However,sometimes things can be bought in a limited supply, as the black beaded applique in the lower left. Those were sold as individual pieces to be added to clothing, but were only made for one season. So, when I find an item like that, which I feel like I’ll use again, I buy as many as I can find. Hence, the well filled shelves in my studio,
Pinot Noirs are some of my favorite wines, and I am fortunate to have a large number from Williams Selyems from Sonoma Valley, California, USA, which have graced many of my dinner parties. While the image that inspired this art quilt came originally from an experience in France, good pinots are being crafted in many parts of the world now, especially in California and Oregon in the USA. The paring of good food, wine, and art has been a part of most of my adulthood, as one flows into the other for me, and all are part of a life dedicated to creative endeavors of all kinds.
Have youe ever been inspired by good food and wine while creating a work of art? How do you fit your whole lifestyle into your artistic endeavors?
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