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Quilt no. 019: Of Discontent

I started this quilt in the days and weeks after the terrorist attacks on November 15, 2015. I thought back to the days after 9/11, the day of my 17th birthday and what I was doing then, how I soothed myself as a teenager.

Quilt no. 019: Of Discontent Grey Detail

I crafted a play list called Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent (put that on shuffle), filled with the music that I listened to as a teenager, music that has always reflected my rage, my sorrow back to me. I chose fabrics without much thought, selecting a huge range of values, in complimentary colors. I pulled from my stash, cut strips without a ruler and started sewing. My pace was fast and my actions were deliberate. Bands like Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill and Refused the soundtrack to my making, simultaneously nostalgic and yet completely relevant.

Quilt no. 019: Of Discontent Color Detail I

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I had been contemplating Chinese Coin quilts for awhile, enamored by their simple construction and endless variations. I re-purposed those vertical compositions while playing with my strip sets and found this while figuring out how to use as much of the those strip sets as possible. Here, light and dark move towards and away from one another. The eye travels both up and down, rests in the grey at the bottom and is then pulled back in by the thin light colored bands that dangle into the expanse of negative space.

Quilt no. 019: Of Discontent Bottom Detail

The asymmetry and dense hand quilting combine to make a subtle, textural design element. This quilt has wool batting, a first and something I will be revisiting. It is dreamy to hand quilt though and gives this quilt serious texture.

Quilt no. 019: Of Discontent Pulled Back Detail

I realized while taking these photos and while finishing two other quilts something fundamentally important to my making. By pushing the traditional quilt pattern into the unexpected, the quilt evolves into a vessel for self-expression and contemplation. I’ve been thinking about that in planning new pieces, which mostly live in my head at this point in my life.

Quilt no. 019: Of Discontent Oblique

It seems appropriate that I finish this quilt (because pics or it didn’t happen) in the wake of the past week, the political climate of the United States ugly and toxic. In the decade and half since my 17th birthday, I have watched this country split and divide along party, class, race and gender lines.  I have seen reality splinter, people moving away from one another because of those differences in order to keep themselves comfortable, so that they do not have to confront deeply held assumptions about the world. I can not and will not make a generic statement about our unity because it is naive to think such a thing was ever reality for so many people in this country.

Quilt no. 019: Of Discontent Far Away

6 Comments

  1. There is repetition here that bears repeating. Signaled in the lines of the quilt , the lines of the hay stacked background and the lines now drawn in the sand. You have called attention to something so many keep secret. But now not so secret any more. I for one think until we name what is unjust in the world we cannot call it to task. Thank you for reminding all of us that we have a job to do We have to step up to those lines and ever so boldly cross them. When they are behind us they no longer command our attention. Then we can write our own history one of love, acceptance and equality

  2. I find the contrast between the very bold colors and the medium grey to be fascinating. I try to find patterns in the lines but I think any patterns I find are of my own making and not necessarily intended. It’s a striking piece. I want to say beautiful, but that word doesn’t seem to fit right. Your work always gives me something to think about, which I really appreciate.

    • Shelby Marie

      Thank you so much, Anne! If there is any patterning in the pieced lines of this quilt, it’s entirely unintentional and delightfully accidental.

  3. Pingback: March 2017 Guild Update – Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild

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