Columbus sailed the ocean blue” go the famous first two lines from a children’s poem on American history of which I first learned while we lived in USA, 1987-94.
Probably in 1991, before the quincentenary of the discovery of what became known as The New World – the Americas, Quilters Newsletter Magazine announced some competition or call for an exhibition to go in their pages to help mark this huge event in modern world history. I don’t remember the exact details of it, however I clearly remember making my entry, which unfortunately was not selected:
Last week I realised that although this quilt was listed in my ‘master list’, I hadn’t noticed a photo of it anywhere for a very long time. Since then I have been searching, knowing it has to be in my computer somewhere – and eventually just an hour ago I found it in an external hard drive I haven’t accessed for years. Please share my joy! One possible reason for not finding it is I didn’t have the title exactly right in the search – duh. Anyway, I immediately re-saved it into this computer, and now it will probably pop up somewhere just because I’m no longer looking for it…
I was a bit disappointed when my work was rejected, but I’d already had acceptance and rejection experience so took it philosophically. When the selected ones were published later that year, I saw there were some some much better ones than this one.
Now looking at it, I know the shiny blue fabric said ‘water’, and the earthy coloured strips said, to me anyway, ‘earth’. If you look carefully, in the detail shot you can see spherical shapes representing the round earth, (as many at that time still believed the Earth to be flat) but now I see those spheres were way too subtle, but it’s an interesting idea I might revisit some time. Probably the horizontal strips of fabric should have had some green in them, to suggest ‘land’. Plus the strips themselves were perfectly straight edged, not at all land like… I had not yet learned the basics of improvisational cutting and piecing, but If I’d known them then, those strips might have looked more like islands in the blue, and been more appealing. The best features of this landscape+history inspired work are the wonderful cerulean blue polished cotton furnishing fabric, and the inspired freehand watery machine quilting pattern.