Signs of Life

This week has marked the definite change of seasons.  It’s getting cold enough to frost overnight and it snowed and sleeted today.  We’ve brought in all the plants that I want to winter over and put the hoses away.  The wind has blown most of the leaves down, so raking will be our next task.  And we’ve been watching the Cubs and Indians (go Cubbies!) playing in the World Series.  It must be fall.  

The teaching schedule is winding down a bit too.  But the good news is that with the change of season, there will be more time to spend at home sewing.  I’m beginning to work on some new patterns including a Mystery Quilt Weekend that KayLynn Designs will host online this winter.  Sign up for our newsletter to get updates about the Mystery Quilt Weekend and watch for details in future posts. 

At times like this I also spend time reading and exploring new ideas.  Something that has interested me throughout my artistic explorations is the influence of culture and tradition on my art.  We have strong traditions in quilting that came to the United States from all over the world.  Many of our favorite quilting patterns involve spirals and circles.  Our pieced blocks are dominated by squares, triangles, and circles and many of the block patterns form an “X” pattern, diamonds, squares, or circles.  Have you ever wondered why?  

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One of those books I picked up during a “down” time was Signs of Life: The Five Universal Shapes and How to Use Them, by social anthropologist, Angeles Arrien.  What I learned was that there are simple graphic design elements that throughout time and across cultures have carried with them similar meaning.  Those designs are the circle, square, triangle, spiral, and equidistant cross.  My workshop, Signs of Life, is based on this idea.  Dr. Arrien’s study of these universal shapes will help you understand why there are certain patterns you are drawn to, or that you find easier to work with than others.  

Join us at the Gloversville Sewing Center in Saratoga Springs on Thursday, November 3rd for Signs of Life.  We will look at these universal shapes and what they mean within our quilting traditions.  Each participant will then create an individualized wall hanging based on their understanding of these design elements.  For more information and to sign up for the workshop, go to the GSC Website.  Past participants in this workshop have created both art quilts and traditional designs.  It’s open to any skill level – you will be able to design something within your quilting comfort zone.  Come explore and learn a little about why you quilt the way you do.  Hope to see you there!