Post # 13. On Names

First things first. Last week I promised to post a photograph of a completed quilt.

Winter Sunrise

And now for this week’s musing on the significance of names. Deciding on the name of Winter Sunrise was a turning point in the final design of this quilt. Suddenly I found the focal point. The stitching of the tree over many evenings had not been an aimless pursuit. I wanted to make a shiny in-your-face fabric tree, but that was where the plan ended. I admire artists who do their legwork in the design phase before they pick up their tools and actually make the art because I don’t know how they do it. I tend to stitch along and follow where the fabric leads.

But, for this and the previous quilt (Birdsong) the naming of the piece has been important. And so it should be. To name something is to give it substance, to make it of this world. Imagine, for example, how strange it would be if we did not name our children. A name needs to suit its bearer. Perhaps this is why some people prefer to go by their nicknames or even go to the trouble to change their names officially.

Shakespeare famously had Juliet say “What’s in a name?” when she bemoaned the fact that her beloved, Romeo, was from a rival family and so they could not be together. Taken out of context, one could argue that Shakespeare was wrong when he wrote these words for Juliet “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

To return to the quilt and how it came to be called Winter Sunrise. I had prepared small squares of copper metalic fabric to use as leaves, but when pinned onto the tree they looked wrong. So I tried them in a row along the top and, viola, the sunrise was conceptualised.

This is the second incarnation of this quilt. The pieced background to the tree was stitched in 2010, from a pre-selected set of eight hand-dyed fabrics from Amafu. The pack was called Artist’s Palette and that became the name of the quilt in its previous life. During that time I produced a good number of quilts in a kind of frenzy of delight – playing with different designs and fabrics to see what would happen. These quilts piled up and a couple of years ago I decided to upcycle some of them, by adding a tree, even cutting up one quilt into smaller sections and rebinding it.

This a triptych of some-not-very-good photographs of the stages that Winter Sunrise has gone through.

The quilt was turned upside down and the orange squares removed to make the background landscape for the tree. To make the tree I first appliqued evening dress and metallic fabrics onto violene by machine and then hand stitched the completed tree onto the already hand-quilted quilt.

I spent last weekend on the couch, stitching. What a luxury.


One thought on “Post # 13. On Names

  1. Names are arbitrary Labels but you hit the nail on the head with this title, it resonates with the awakening winter sunrise.


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