So, my thesis has had me reading a lot about the feminist movement and its relation to quilting. Now, I’m not a feminist per se, but there’s something admittedly appealing about Miriam Schapiro’s love of quilting as a salvage art, a reflection of the uniquely female tendency to save and work with those spare moments of time, fabric and more. According to the artist herself, “among other things, [a quilt] is the history of women… it is inspiration, a connection with self, the dogged will to make something extraordinary in the midst of family routine, a sense of wholeness… pleasure in the act of working and knowing the power of ‘making.'” I love the idea. And as far as I can see, this tendency is by no means limited to the act of quilting exactly.
For example, I recently made a Pumpkin Lasagne from Nigella Lawson’s inspirational cookbook, “Nigella Christmas.”
It’s a gorgeous book, full of the most wonderful season dishes. This recipe caught my attention a while ago- I mean, pumpkin, goat cheese, ricotta… how can you go wrong? And it didn’t. It was delicious. On the other hand, I think I might substitute squash next time; it’s a tad bit sweeter.
Not sure exactly now Pumpkin Lasagne is like Patchwork, but it’s definitely the art of piecing something together, step by step, layer by layer. It’s making something from the most unexpected of parts- I started with two whole pumpkins that had to be peeled, seeded and chopped (which wouldn’t have been accomplished without the help of my brother and boyfriend). To go from that to a pasta dish is a fascinating process.
I’ve also been inspired lately by the book, Denyse Schmidt’s Quilts. I don’t usually follow patterns or instructions for these sorts of things, but this book is full of brilliant ideas.
This book is full of original ideas of what to do with patchwork and quilting, from book covers to aprons. Lately, I’m a fan of napping- the holiday season isn’t exactly conducive to lots of sleep. So I was instantly struck by the idea of a patchwork eye pillow and decided to make one for each of my sisters (as Christmas gifts of course):
I didn’t exactly follow the pattern, just the notion… and it’s a brilliant one. I filled them with flaxseed and lavender (Denyse calls for buckwheat hulls but Whole Foods didn’t have these). So they have a lovely soft texture and smell beautifully. Hopefully they’ll make for relaxing naps! Again, there’s something about their patchworky-ness that’s remarkable. Bits of fabric that I had lying about, flaxseed, lavender tea… and voila. It’s a wonderful impulse that us ladies have, I must admit. Viewing the random bits and pieces around you as the foundations forvarious creative endeavors is an invigorating way to go through life. You’re never borred, really, if you can see the potential in the random scraps of your world. And whether baking or quilting, these are remarkable acts of creation.