Sunday, May 6, 2007

Off the Map: The Quilt Store

Another one of Bautista's techniques that I wanted to try was "crayon melting." Claudine Hellmuth uses this technique in some of her collage books, too, and it generally requires a small quilting iron.

One day DP and I took a trip to Salado, a little town about 50 miles north of Austin. We try to make it up to Salado every few months to wander the galleries, visit the lovely little shops, and have lunch. We stopped to eat at a little cafe we hadn't yet tried, and I happened to notice a quilting store next door. "I'll bet they have a little quilting iron," I said, so we headed over after lunch.

The minute we walked in the door, I was enchanted with the quilts hanging in the entrance. One was labeled a "watercolor" quilt--I had no idea what that meant, but the urge to reach out and stroke it was irresistble. I quickly found the iron, but then wandered around like a kid in a candy store, eyeing the vibrant colors and patterns and textures of the fabric. I was considering the fact that my sewing machine was already set up in the formal dining room, a room that had largely been wasted space up to now. I was also casting about for an excuse to buy some of these beautiful fabrics. I finally sighed and said, "I may have to take a quilting class." I thought DP would roll her eyes and gently remind of the hundreds (ok, maybe thousands) of dollars worth of glass, kilns, and supplies collecting dust in my workshop; or the tons of art supplies filling my craft room from shelved floor to ceiling. Instead, to my surprise, she said, "I love quilts. That would be awesome." It just goes to show that 11 years of living with someone doesn't mean you know them all that well.

By the way, I did use the mini-iron to melt crayons, which is fun and can lend some interesting surprises to paper and collages. At the same time, having stepped mentally into that brilliant landscape of fabrics, I couldn't quite force myself to leave.

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