work table : Albuquerque Foreclosure Quilt

Albuquerque was calling me. I kept seeing the name pop up in recent foreclosure articles. Foreclosures are up 151% there in the third quarter among other things. I came across this quick sketch I did last week. You know those sketches? When you make them you see so much more in the drawing than you see a week later?

You look back and wonder what you were thinking. This is often how I draw my initial ideas. I guess I'm a minimalist and anxious to just start making.

I like to piece things together the old fashioned way, with tape. I could do it on the computer but then I'd need a large format printer. I don't have the patience. And yes, that's my cat's tail sneaking in above.

Here was the initial idea, highlighting the large street grids you see as you fly over New Mexico and Arizona. I never understood why they laid the streets out like this. They're SO ugly and force everyone to get into a car to go anywhere. And then I realize I'm taking on way too much so I scale things back a bit, using just a portion of the overall area above.

Now it's coming together. The shaded areas are civic activities: schools, parks, right of ways. Seeing a high school sited in the middle of a foreclosed neighborhood makes me ponder what it must feel like to be a teenager these days. What do they have to look forward to? Not much it seems.

I start to dig around in my messy piles of remnants to look for fabric to use. Something dusty and drab is needed for this quilt. I find all my beiges and pile them into this bowl my mom started to make years ago. She never finished and it's nice to see the marks she made. I remember her as I work. I think she would have liked this one.

And I start piecing. Interesting, I just visualized the layout but hadn't counted up how many 12" x 12" panels there would be. What do you know? Twelve. My brain naturally likes order. I take a little break to finish off a side project.

I like to do a little traditional sewing on the side as it helps keep my sewing machine skills up to par. Now back to handsewing.

Eleven more panels to go and then I will add the other layers to the quilt. I'm really liking this one so far.


k said...

i'm really liking it too - those sandy colours are great for it. i quite like that pillow as well!

lotta said...

it looks great. it is wonderful to see how your ideas take form.

Sonya Philip said...

I always like seeing in progress shots. Can't wait to see more of the quilt as it grows.

aracne said...

How interesting. I loved to read how you proceed, I now understand that some choice have to be made in order to simplify the map, right?
I am curious to see the rest.

**EYE-SNACKS** said...

Hi Kathryn,it's nice to read your working process..I recognize a lot(but i'm more chaotic)
somehow it strengthens me to continue
my way of working..so thanx

Love to see that you have that rememberance moment of your mother too :)

mathea said...

It's so interesting to follow your process - thank you for sharing!

Kitty@kittykilian.nl said...

Hey K., wow, great pillow!
Why do you actually sew the quilts all by hand??

kathrynclark said...

Thanks for the lovely comments everyone! @Kitty, because my sewing machine sucks! No, really, handsewing gives the pieces that rough, chaotic that hints at the vulnerability of these neighborhoods. They're not perfect little planning creations anymore. I also enjoy how attached I become to these neighborhoods by studying each block in detail.

Sophie Truong said...

Great post Kathryn. Isn't handsewing so meditative too? I love it, it's almost like I need it to stay sane..

anastasia said...

i've always been a minimalist sketcher, mostly using words to describe the details. it never went over well in art school, especially when other students carried their overflowing sketchbooks around like personal bibles.
eh, whatever lets you remember the flashes of creative thought.

the colors you're choosing are perfect in expressing the dismals, and loosing of hope in these areas (color bleaching out= a happy life disappearing). will you use the indigo blue piece in the bowl photo?

kathrynclark said...

Hi Anastasia - halarious comment about the sketchbook carriers in school, so true! I am using the indigo blue fabric throughout the quilt to represent civic or public right of way (a traditional color used in public planning is blue for civic).


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