Somethings Wonderful This Way Came

Somethings Wonderful This Way Came
1970's Vintage Caftan in At Play

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Making New Friends

I had the great honor and distinct pleasure of meeting a wonderful woman this week.  Her name is Carolyn O'Bagy Davis and she is the author of Hopi Summer, chosen this year by ONEBOOKAZ as its winning selection.  Carolyn is also the author of 10 other books including Hopi Quilt, a must read for any quilter interested in historic expressions by Native American women.  Carolyn is a quilter and quilt historian.  It must be said that she is also charming, interesting and a great supporter of all things quilting.  She came to me courtesy of Anna Mary Childs, one of the people who offered up a collection of Steiger textiles to be photographed in Tubac.  Anna Mary told her of my book project and Carolyn contacted me to arrange a brief visit  She's in the middle of a promotional tour for her new book and she stopped in on her way home to Tucson. 

After being gleefully and lovingly mauled by my dog, Tina, Carolyn and I shared some iced tea.  I gave her the 4 minute history of how I became a Harwood Steiger addict and how I progressed from totally uninformed to hopelessly addicted.  It didn't take long to getting around to viewing my collection of Steiger textiles.  As I unfurled example after example, we discussed the history, technology and personal background of Harwood and Sophie Steiger.  Carolyn was full of questions and very good advice.  She asked all the right questions and suggested all kinds of new avenues to explore in developing the book and in finding the right publisher.  It pleased me to no end that she kept oooooing and ahhhing as one Steiger design after another was revealed.  I love nothing more than to share my beautiful textiles with someone who truly appreciates them, and Carolyn honestly did. 

Carolyn is well connected in the Arizona quilting world.  She told me of her involvement in the Arizona Quilt Project and reminded me that our Centennial celebration is next year.  She suggested that I prepare a presentation on Harwood Steiger textiles for historic, quilt and art audiences.  Good idea, and I do have a presentation in development for Marshall Shore's Vanishing Phoenix talks.  Her visit was all too brief and we didn't even get through viewing the entirety of the collection.  But, in that short time, she inspired me in a number of ways:  book development, presentation, and a Harwood Steiger quilt.

I have always intended on making Arizona Sketchbook into a quilt.  But, now there is a level of urgency about it.  Because I only do hand quilting, it takes quite a while to produce a quilt.  Usually, only one quilt per year.  So, if I want to have a quilt ready for the centennial, I need to get started now.  Responding to the urgency, yesterday I photocopied the fabrics I plan on using, and began to experiment with possible block lay outs.  Two guiding thoughts influenced my experiments.  First, it had to be a simple block.  I want the Steiger sketches to not get lost in the block design.  Second, I had to outline each sketch in brown because the boxes on the fabric weren't any where near predictable.  I chose fabrics in colors that Steiger used.  They are mostly solids or read as solids.  I played around with my little strips of paper for hours and came up with some interesting possibilities.  I welcome your opinion about which best showcases the Harwood Steiger sketches. Maybe you have a block that would work even better.  Let me know.  Please send me some comments.

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