I’ll admit it: I fell in love with Instagram’s immediacy and accessibility this year. It freed up what it meant to make “real” pictures and just allowed me to see and to record whenever I wanted to. I even put together a portfolio of the images that I made while working on a small farm this past summer.
At the end of March, I had the enormous pleasure of spending time at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center going through their enormous collection of artifacts from the Perkioman region of Pennsylvania. Candace Perry, the collections’ curator, spoke at a local quilt guild’s meeting on the quilts in their collection that I was lucky to attend. Seeing the quilts and listening to her speak about them was really inspiring, both as a photographer and as a new-ish quilter. The texture, personal vision and fine craft of the quilts was incredible to see in person and I was really curious to see how they would work as photographs.
Ms. Perry was generous with her time and incredibly knowledgeable about the Center’s vast and varied collection. She was very passionate about it and spent quite a bit of time with me picking out artifacts from the collection.
While editing the images, I was drawn to the pictures that used the quilts as two dimensional compositions over the ones with the other objects in them. I really was thinking about the hands of the maker and how to convey details that, to me, fascinate me so much in older quilts. The quilting stitches, the piecing, the minor mistakes and the design of each of the quilts are what I look for when I see older quilts. It causes me to wonder about who that person was, what their life was like and what that work meant to them. I felt including the artifacts was creating a false history that I was uncomfortable with.
That said, I am really pleased with the way the images turned out. I wanted to visually examine the quilts and was trying to find smaller compositions within them. It was important to me to convey the intelligence of their design, the details of the makers’ hands and the way the quilts have worn over the past century.
I’ve only really included the three best images from the 6 quilts that I photographed. I’ve created a separate gallery on flickr that contains more images that I highly recommend you take a gander at.
I have had much luck with rented houses’ landscaping and previous owners’ taste in flowers. At the other house A. and I lived in, we had two roses bushes that produced fat, fragrant blooms in a light, warm yellow and a deep, rich red. These picturesque daffodils came out of our current backyard, all cheery and bright.
While I have made quilts in the past, I’ve always just sort of winged it. Sewing together whatever was there, haphazardly, to make larger pieces of fabric for a specific use. I recently found myself enamored of this particular medium, because I like the emphasis of the grid, the use of color to create composition on a 2 dimensional plane. The grid for quilting is very much like the one used in photography; broken up and rearranged, it becomes a space for subtle self-expression and play.