Show and Tell

In December I had the pleasure of hearing Transendence: How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty and Time, read by the author, Gaia Vince. She follows the story of homo sapiens from their beginnings until now, and her full research and excellent storytelling make this book of non-fiction a real page turner! I was listening while cleaning up the studio and examining a new fabric, an Indonesian floral batik given to me as a gift. In spite of current events, one could not help but feel impressed with and inspired by humans. One of the many things I was struck by, was our ability to trade goods and create beautiful things.

In the spirit of beauty, I gathered together other fabrics that would enhance the floral batik. The resulting contemporary art quilt is called Evolution. It is 43 X 53 and all these pretty fabrics were already in my stash.

Even when you avoid the news, a lot of ugly comes through. I had a good start on this piece, which expresses the distortion and division in politics, by using recognizable logos of news platforms and social media. Then Jan. 6th happened, and the former President was banned from Facebook and Twitter. I had my thumb on the pulse, but I can’t say it brought me joy. So far, 2021 is tragic and very uncomfortable!

Ugly is 43 X 33. It has dark blue and red fabrics, frayed edges, and loose threads. By accident, the face and kneeling body of a robot guy emerged. (If you squint, you’ll see him.) More subtle is the word NO across the middle of the image. The letters are cut off on each side of the word.

It’s kind of wild that I created these two contrasting pieces back to back. There wasn’t a plan. It just happened. While I arranged fabrics to create composition, I thought about Notan, light and dark harmonies. That was last month’s blog post topic. I also thought about narrative, which I talked about two months ago.

And now we cleanse our palettes with a recipe for Ginger Pancakes. I make pancakes a lot, and am experimenting with new flavors all the time. I could give you a pancake recipe every month, but realize that most of you don’t want to bother with all the ingredients that go into gluten-free pancakes. This pancake is worth the time. It will remind you of ginger cookies, but is less sweet and has more flavor.

Ginger Pancakes: Mix together 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, 3/4 cup almond flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 t. each salt and baking powder, 1 t. ginger powder, 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1 T. sugar, and 1 T. fresh ginger diced fine. Add wet ingredients: 2 t. honey, 1 egg, and 7/8 cup almond milk. Fry on griddle about 2 minutes per side. Even cold they make a good snack. (No toppings necessary)

2 Responses to Show and Tell

Patty Hawkins

Thanks as always, Joan!
I “think” I see the robot guy, but the word. NO doesn’t appear to me!
Excellent usage of fabrics in both pieces! So impressed with your
cheers! Patty Hawkins

Karin Ebertz

It’s always fun to read about your creative process! I’m not surprised that real-world trauma makes its way into your work. The two quilts are like night and day, but then again, that’s the whiplash we’ve been living through recently.


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