Just looking through and sorting some of the pics I took in Egypt last year I found some of these man-made surfaces. They intrigued me just as much as the massive temples and monuments with carved and painted pictorial records and stories that we experienced in our classic tour of Upper Egypt. The tomb and temple carvings were magnificent and along with the massive scale of these buildings, totally awe-inspiring. I’d like to go back and see more, at a cooler time of year, but the problem then is the place is totally packed with tourists like me …
In and around the architecture, all over the place I noticed lots of interesting patterning. Examples such as these were very inspiring, but rarely noticed by visitors focused on all the grand scale stuff around them. I feel they may influence something I do in the future especially once I get my laser cutter. We’re still making customs inquiries, so my order is not firmly placed yet. Uruguay being basically on holiday for another few weeks, we are not expecting answers any time soon.
The main area where I see these surface patterns inspiring something is quilting treatment, machine or hand. For example I can envisage hand made knots, or a knot plus bead, something lumpy set out in the kind of grid pattern of this ancient door in a gate in the wall of the old city of Cairo, UL: the UR panel is a ceiling covered with the 5-point stars that appear in so many temples and tombs 0f the pharaohs; and I have already used this once as a machine quilted motif for the quilt “Gift of the Nile” shown in part on the blog for october 7, 2007. LR is some of the highest part of the gateway to a temple at Luxor (I think) and who knows – I just like it; and finally LR a texture I love, the mane of a lion carved from granite ,standing outside a temple. Granite is really hard but these lines are so beautifully fluid and hair-like. I see it as a machine quilting pattern probably but possibly in combination with hand stitch.
On one of the lists to which I subscribe, in the past week one writer commented that she had to quilt something and was procrastinating since she didn’t like doing quilting. Well, you don’t have to quilt anything. You can tie with wool other threads and string, buttons, staples, safety pins, sewing pins – I have seen all these used to function as the quilt stitch does – ie hold layers together. And, one can always farm it out to someone who does love to quilt. Personally, I find the old under/over/under/over thing beautiful in the right place, ie a carefully constructed and quilted traditional geometric or applique quilt, especially the baltimore album quilts. But so many people are working to produce non-traditional quilt designs these days that it seems amazing to me that they feel bound to quilt them as they always have – using the traditional under/over/under/over, painstakingly doing x stitches to the inch, in fine pure cotton thread. Or if they are machining, the now rather unimaginative meandering and stippling seems to be the limit of some repertoires. If you paint, print, applique, collage, dye and and piece non-traditionally to produce non-traditional quilt designs, to me that begs exploration of intereasting, unusual quilting potential. You can quilt with anything from microfilament to heavy string, ribbon, and everything in between whether the label says ‘quilting thread’ or not.