Posts Tagged ‘reality’

What We Create

March 2, 2020

I read an article about the models we have used to help us explain brain function, and why thinking of the brain as a computer may not be ideal. You can read the article yourself here. This line caught my attention: “. . . the brain does not represent information: it constructs it.” The mad sci fi writer in me said, “Bwah-ha-ha! My world building is alive! It’s alive!” The quilter said, “See, your brain quilt series isn’t such a silly idea after all.”

The picture above was inspired by an article describing how language is stored in different parts of the brain. Neurosurgeons received permission from a bilingual woman to make a few tests while they were treating her, and discovered English words were stored in one place, Spanish in another. I’ve also read that the language we speak structures the way we think, so learning a new language can in effect rewire our brains. Now it appears that the very nature of what we consider real is created by our thoughts as we try to explain what we see. There’s a story in here somewhere, as well as several quilts.

Luck and wisdom!

Reality Is In The Foot Of A Cat

April 23, 2018

One day in an antique shop, I noticed a simple but elegant bookcase filled with beautiful linens. On top of the stack on the highest shelf I saw a very realistic toy cat. I had to stretch to reach it. I tugged on its foot to determine if it was stuffed with kapok or buckwheat.

The foot was warm.

The cat’s expression was not.



Donovan the cat (not the one in the antique shop)


I considered myself lucky that a killer stare was the only thing the cat threw my way. It settled back to resume its nap and I retreated to a curio cabinet. Since everything was behind glass, I wouldn’t have to worry about mistaking a live critter for the work of a genius artist.

I was reminded of that experience when I told a writer that her character wouldn’t have reacted the way she wrote the scene. “The good news is I think of him as a real person. So real, that I’m ready to argue with you, his creator, about what he would or would not do,” I said.

We all laughed, but it’s worth remembering that the reader brings as much to our work as we do. The reader wants to see a fully fleshed character, wants to imagine having lunch with our heroine, or going fishing with our hero. If the reader tells you we’ve made the character act in a way she would not, could not, act – listen! Like beauty, reality is in the eye of the beholder.

Just don’t tug on its foot.


Return to Reality

April 27, 2016

I returned from Art Quilt Santa Fe with new ideas. That’s only to be expected – Betty Busby is a fabulous teacher, and Ann Anastasio and Gale Oppenheim-Pietrzak do everything in their power to create the ideal space for experimentation. The reality, given that I am the queen of messy studios, is that once I returned home I had no place to work on these new ideas.

I didn't make time to put things away before I left

I didn’t make time to put things away before I left

Ah, well, there’s always the floor.

Working on the floor keeps one flexible, right?

Working on the floor keeps one flexible, right?

The good news is, the little pieces I used for an experiment will work with the fabric I have on the cutting table. This will give me one more opportunity to put things away, not put things down.

These will become flower patches

These will become flower patches

I made these pieces with silk, Sharpies and rubbing alcohol. Yes, it’s an old technique but I never used it so it’s new to me. Later, I added some black for definition with a Pigma pen.

Could be star paths, could be map lines, could be coffee cup rings

Could be star paths, could be map lines, could be coffee cup rings

This piece might become part of a space quilt, or I might use it in a map quilt, or even in a Route 66 quilt. I don’t know how it would fit in a Route 66 quilt, but that’s the whole idea of trying something different, yes?

Raw silk and spreading paint circles

Raw silk and spreading paint circles

This raw silk patch is probably going to become a floral scene. Even the high desert has flowers once or twice a year (although these don’t look anything like those flowers).

The best news about this experiment is I thought I had lost my raw silk, but it was where it was supposed to be all the time. Part of me wants to blame the stash pixies for hiding it the last time I wanted it, but more likely I just overlooked it. Either way, I’ve got it now.

Luck and wisdom!