This is “James”, my entry into A RVA Runs Through It, which is a special exhibit at Mid-Atlantic Quilt Fest (MAQF) this weekend in Hampton, Virginia.
The Richmond Quilters Guild sponsored this exhibit, and it seemed a natural for me to enter using photography as well as quilting.
My Artist Statement—
“I am not a native. As a transplanted New Yorker, the songs that Richmond sings to me aren’t necessarily the same ones a native hears, and I am ok with that! (Obits in my hometown paper for a 97 year old read “Brooklyn native, brought to Staten Island as an infant.”) I get it.
This is the first in a planned series of YoYo quilts. Painted Cheese cloth and Yo-Yo’s depict Class III and IV Whitewater Rafting, surrounded by photos I’ve taken of favorite spots in RVA.”
I love to take photos of the James River, and of things in Richmond that I enjoy.
I have an outsiders appreciation of the place—I don’t focus on the political or Civil War, but I do love a lot about Richmond, and the parallel’s to my former New York life aren’t lost on me. I was born in Richmond County, New York. (More popularly known as Staten Island.) Staten Island is to Manhattan what Colonial Heights is to Richmond, VA. Manhattanites stare blankly when you say Staten Island, and when I say Colonial Heights up in Richmond I get that same vacant stare, a level of disbelief that I have wandered so far afield and north of the river. I went from the forgotten borough to the outer suburban edge of this metro area. It takes almost as long to get to downtown Richmond as it did to get to downtown Manhattan, although the mode of transport is very different. Car. Not bus, then boat, then train.
The quilt came about the way most good things do. I was walking around the IQF in Houston just after Super storm Sandy, and my mind was distracted by thoughts of home, of the devastation, and I had a certain amount of survivors guilt, being there in TX enjoying life, while so many of my family and friends were battling this storm; seeing all the news reports, and just this sense of doom, and dread for my hometown, and all the places I knew so well.
The idea for this quilt came from that day, because walking through the quilt show in Houston, my mind being pelted with an overload of visual stimulation, I had suddenly envisioned a quilt about Sandy. And, once that came to me, it broke through my inability to buy fabric, to settle on things I liked. I bought fabrics and I knew it would have YoYo’s, and I had very specific ideas, but I wasn’t totally ready to make it. So, it sat, aging, as my quilts often do.
When this challenge was announced, “James” came to me, almost fully formed; so many of the thoughts about Sandy that I hadn’t yet realized just lined up and became this quilt.
Sandy is still going to happen. It’s closer now, than it had been before. This piece was very much a test run.
The photos on the quilt are all mine, and are all available to purchase at my website. This takes you to one page where most of the images are, but please, explore more of Richmond and more of my photos!
My understanding is after this 4-day show, the entire RVA exhibit will be at a church in Richmond for the month of March. (I believe it is Shady Grove, but am not positive, nor do I have details.) Watch this space for further information.