Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Square 43: Lorraine Roy

Square 043

The last time I saw Mom—we knew she had only a few months to live, but didn't expect it to be our last visit—she gave me $1,000. Two weeks later she died, and I wanted something to remember her by. In a situation like that you learn what you value. I bought a couple pieces of original art, which I could not normally afford.

It was easy to choose the artists. One of my favourites is Lorraine Roy, who makes art quilts depicting the interface between nature and human consciousness. My attention had been drawn a few years ago to a project she did in conjunction with University of Guelph Arboretum: Saving Paradise, a collection of 17 quilts depicting rare and endangered tree species of Southwestern Ontario. It was a subject close to my heart, and a medium that appealed to me.

More recently she has worked several series of quilts to portray tough little trees growing in rugged environments such as the Niagara Escarpment. These pieces speak of the fragility and tenacity of wild habitats, but also of the human spirit. Having hiked many stretches of the Bruce Trail I am familiar with these scenes, and it was one of these quilts I decided to purchase: Burning Bush 8.

I chose to knit this square at a time when I cannot actually see Lorraine's quilt. It is packed along with most of my other belongings in preparation for moving on Saturday. That considered, I'm surprised at how accurately the yarns selected somewhat randomly from my stash pay tribute to colours and textures of "Burning Bush". Had I set out to describe the piece in words, I could not have done as well.

I am beginning to feel that each of these squares is a painting (and Lorraine's work would be appropriate inspiration for that). A picture says things words cannot, and yet the words of this Yarn are also an essential part.

The yarns in this square: purple Cascade, unknown single-ply gold yarn, variegated green and gold Malabrigo, wine-coloured Patons, some interesting rusty purple wool-mohair-acrylic-alpaca Karen by Filtes King I've had in my stash for ages but not used before, deep orange Noro Kureyon, bright orange Létt-Lopi, chocolate Tupa from Mirasol Peru, and a frosted green remnant of another Noro yarn.

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