We make a lot of choices. Some make me uncomfortable, like choosing an outfit to wear or deciding which important task needs to be done first. Others come easily most of the time, like figuring out how to combine the leftovers with fresh tomatoes to make dinner or deciding the elements to include in a new piece of artwork. Spending time on choices results in stronger artwork.

How are you sleeping? Good sleep is the subject of my newest contemporary art quilt.

I sleep well almost every night. Reliable rest. My husband’s sleep is not reliable. Each morning I ask him about his sleep. The answers vary – good (6 hours), excellent (7 hours), okay (5 hours), or terrible (less than four hours).  He has read books and articles about sleep and tried many changes in behavior, including timing his exercise and eating for best results at bedtime. The latest weapon in his sleep arsenal is giving up alcohol, even small quantities! He is serious about sleep.


Good Sleep detail
Good Sleep detail

I have been thinking about the sleep that we are gifted with and how it relates to our health. Good sleep is fundamental to feeling safe and well. While my husband continues to try out every possible approach to getting better sleep, I continue to think about what sleep may look like as artistic expression.

While we rest, our bodies and minds make repairs. Neural networks are highly active during sleep, storing information, consolidating memory, making connections, priming creativity. Is sleep heavy or light? What shape is sleep? How would you represent it if you were the artist? What colors would you use? Would you include dreams in your depictions of sleep? Think about this a bit before you scroll down to see my finished piece.

Spending time on choices results in stronger artwork. I chose to make the size and shape of my artwork expansive to reflect the large amounts of time spent sleeping. I wanted the colors to be cool and dark and quiet to reflect the place where sleep happens. I wanted to comment on both the light nature of dreams and the heavy nature of deep sleep. I pieced the fabrics so that they would be clean-edged and smooth.  I chose dense quilting to show both the ordered and the chaotic ways that all is connected  while repairs by sleep angels are underway. I chose a bit of musical notation to represent snippets of melody that can be carried through the night. 


A rabbit and bird showed up in a dream.
A landscape showed up in another dream

When I made Good Sleep I was thinking about how important good sleep is to overall health. But I also think good health is important for getting good sleep! Which comes first? The chicken or the egg? I may have to create a piece that shows a positive feedback loop. Will the shape of the art be a circle? I will spend time making choices. Many choices.

But first, I must do some of the other important tasks that need doing.

The recipe for September is a quick way to use fresh tomatoes. We have both Roma and Cherry tomatoes from the garden to enjoy. Combine tomatoes, olive oil, feta cheese, and roasted walnuts. Yummy.

3 Responses to Choices

Patty Hawkins

Oh Joan
Another excellent blog topic!
Sleep! Calif dtr & I have discussed this! She lives in Mission st/San Fran, 2 and half flights up/ large flat/rent control/ the reason she stays!
Last several months LOUD music after 10pm from Tacqueria across the street/ she leaves messages on noise problem line!
No problems ever til now! I understand your husband’s woe! Good luck????
Thanks for your FRCQ work????

Judy Beresford

I really like the diagonal swath of purple, from lower left to the moon panel. It gives the illusion of translucency.
The thin lines of stitching to the left of the moon panel look like spider silk, reminding me of those wispy fleeting thoughts and emotions that go through my head at various times.

Christy Gerrits

Sleep can be so elusive, especially when you are feeling that you need it most. Beautifully said and portrayed. I enjoyed reading how you try to show various aspects of sleeping.


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