Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Two Ways of Looking at Seaside Goldenrod

There are some places whose remembered images are so powerful that, if I just visualize them, I have  direct access, as it by teleportation, to the color of that sky and the smell of that air.

The heartstring pull of those places lies in their long views over broad expanses--horizons with breadth, skies with height. The  mountains of Maine's Acadia National Park--with their sun-warmed pink granite and mingled smells of ocean and pine--and the tall dunes of Cape Cod exert that kind of pull for me.

I love the idea of recreating these scenes in fiber because the experience brings me there.  My latest effort:  Two Ways of Looking at Seaside Goldenrod, inspired by a view out over Cape Cod Bay in Eastham, Massachusetts.

When we visit the Cape, we stay at a cottage high on a dune overlooking the bay.  A path leads down from the cottage to the water.

Just before the path reaches the edge of the dune, on the left, there's a beat-up bench.  You can just see the back of it in the shot below.

I've put in a lot of quality time on this bench.

The sight of the water from this vantage has such a strong pull for me that if I visualize this scene, I can smell the tang of the bay, feel the warm sand under my feet, and send my eyes all the way across the bay to Wellfleet.

From time to time I've sketched the view in pastels.

Do I love sketching this view?  Does the Pope wear little red shoes?

In the summer of 2011, I tool a felting class through West Hartford Continuing Education.  In that class, I recreated this view of a clump of seaside goldenrod growing at the top of the dune.  My teacher, Elena Gibson, suggested that I reproduce only the right hand side of the image.

Here's the original photo

And here's the part I used for my felted image, below.

Now I've combined that felted piece with the image on which it's based, printed out on fabric.  I mounted the felted piece and the photo on a piece of handpainted quilt batting.  I then layered the three onto another piece of batting to give the image extra loft.  Finally I attached and superimposed all of them on a background of lapped piecing.  I lightly quilted along the stems of the goldenrod.

The background is kind of cool--too bad it's on the back!

I'm going to call this piece Two Ways of Looking at Seaside Goldenrod, because, well, it does show two different ways of looking at a clump of seaside goldenrod.  And I'm honoring Wallace Stevens' poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

The act of reconstructing this scene in fiber has been a way of rejoicing in its beauty and savoring it over time and physical distance.

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