Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Moors


At the end of last year I was accepted into the Four in Art collective whose members make a 12 x 12 inch quilt each quarter, reflecting an annual theme.  We are revealing our quilts for this quarter today! The theme for the year is "Literature" - which is a nice wide theme given that it potentially includes not only individual works of literature and their authors, but the history of literature, its political, social and cultural importance, themes in literature, the history of writing and text and so on!  I am excited to see how the others have interpreted it and you can visit them all here:

Betty at her flickr page
Elizabeth at OPQuilt.com 
Jennifer at her flickr page
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Rachel at The Life of Riley
Simone at Quiltalicious
Susan at PatchworknPlay

[post updated to direct to Jennifer's flickr page]
The Moors
My work is inspired by the use of landscape and weather in literature.  In particular I thought of the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  (If you have not read Jane Eyre it is marvellous - it has absolutely everything in it.  Feminism, romance, morality and religion, the issue of class and social mobility, questions about the nature of love and the importance of autonomy, about the significance of physical appearance, and about passion and intellect - and it is also just a really good story!)


As well as the themes the book covers, there are also beautiful descriptions of landscape and weather, both of which often act as a way of heightening whatever happens to be going on in the plot.  The Yorkshire moors and the weather she faces on them are used at a key point to emphasise Jane Eyre's total isolation, not just geographically, but physically and mentally, cut off from any family or friends.  That scene was the jumping off point for this quilt, but I was thinking also of the significance of the moors in general in the life and work of Charlotte Bronte and her sisters.


I left the top of the pieced section deliberately curved, adding the border around it, partly for aesthetic reasons but also in an attempt to make it to look less static and contained, and I stopped working on it at the point where the image is still quite abstract, because I like to think that in the absence of any kind of artistic statement by its creator a viewer can take whatever they want from a work.

Finally, I wanted the quilt to appear framed like a painting to symbolise the way that words have transcended the page to create an image which now has a life in a different form.

Practical details of the quilt in another post.


34 comments:

  1. Catherine, what an inspirational interpretation of a facet of Jane Eyre! I can truly see the moors in your colors and movement. The "framing" especially enhances this important aspect of the novel. And I love that you left a wee bit of openness to allow the reader, to so speak, space to wander and reflect. You've just done a wonderful job here!

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  2. Catherine, what an inspirational interpretation of a facet of Jane Eyre! I can truly see the moors in your colors and movement. The "framing" especially enhances this important aspect of the novel. And I love that you left a wee bit of openness to allow the reader, to so speak, space to wander and reflect. You've just done a wonderful job here!

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  3. Lovely! l definately recognise that leaden sky, I spent several weeks traipsing around beneath it as a geology student! This sounds like an interesting project, Catherine. I'm off to see what the rest of the group have been up to...

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  4. This is beautiful. You did a wonderful job on it.

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  5. What a beautiful little quilt. I love Jane Eyre and I think you totally captured the feeling of the moors in this quilt. The moors also remind me of Wuthering Heights. I am looking forward to reading about your making process, as I am truly wondering whether the quilt is painted or pieced. And I really like the large white border framing the center. It presents it perfectly.

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  6. I love this little quilt. I have this style of strata quilt on my mind a lot lately and you have used such beautiful colours and quilting to create this one. Your quilt totally evokes the barren moors in the Bronte books, it's fantastic!

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  7. A wonderful little quilt!!! love it!
    Greetings, Rike

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  8. This is beautiful. I love your interpretation and description :)

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  9. Absolutely beautiful, such a thoughtful piece, love it.

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  10. I clicked onto your blog, and sat, still and motionless, while I took in all the parts of your little masterpiece: the colors, the quilting, the framing, and most of all the explanation, the leading us to the deeper realization of this brilliant little quilt. I love this quilt! I love the colors, the ideas of isolation found both in your text and in the depiction. So lovely, so wonderfully profound in illustrating this idea.

    Bravo!
    Elizabeth

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  11. I have seen several screen versions of Jane Eyre and always felt the isolation of that character on the Moor to be a very important 'visual' image of that story and you have captured it so well an beautifully in you piece! Reading your synopsis also makes me think maybe I had better read the book too! Thanks!

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  12. Catherine, it's a beautiful piece of Art! I absolutely love your style and interpretation. This quilt is truly like an abstract painting that captures the feeling of moors and deep isolation so well. Brilliant!

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    1. Thank you Larisa - it was a lot of fun to think about and make!

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  13. Gorgeous quilt and lovely "painting"....wonderful job!

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  14. How wonderfully done is this quilt! Did you sew each of those curved pieces with seams? or are some appliqued over other pieces? I think the feeling of the environs where the story took place is expressed well.

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  15. What an absolutely beautiful min quilt- an art quilt in the true sense of the word! I would have great pleasure hanging this on my wall! A resounding success!

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  16. Fabulous quilt Catherine and a wonderful interpretation of the theme.

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  17. I have read Jane Eyre many, many times and I might add love the movie version starring Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles. Your mini quilt is truly inspired, Catherine. Your lovely words and interpretation of the bleakly, beautiful moors are so poetic. The lovely gradation of colours resonate with the austere beauty of the Brontes' novels. I must say your gorgeous art quilt sits perfectly against your rock wall....it brings to mind the craggy, rugged rocks that one would see in a setting of a Bronte novel.

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  18. This is stunning Catherine - it makes me think of the moors just looking at it, and Jane Eyre - definitely one of my favourite classics.

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  19. Its just beautiful, Catherine. I love Jane Eyre and your thoughts on the moors are most intriguing. I just posted on my early life love of Wuthering Heights, another book where the lanscape of moors is prominent. As an American, reading those books in the 1980's (pre-google images search!) the idea of the moors was particularly romantic, foreign, dramatic, beautiful to me. Your peice is equally romanitc, dramatic, and beautiful. Well done!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It is luxury to be spending time thinking about this theme:-) I'll be adding some of the books on your list to my increasing pile of things that I ought to read.

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  20. Your quilt is stunning because it has captured so much emotion in such a small little space. I love that you explored landscape in literature. I can think of many scenes in literature that rely on the landscape as ambiance to set the scene. At first glance I was taken back by how sensitive the landscape and skyline appear. I was intrigued by your comments about the curve at the top of the quilt. Only a practiced artist would think to pull this one off - and you did it beautify. You are a wonderful addition to the Four in Art group. I look forward to seeing your other projects this next year. Simone

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  21. Fantastic! What a great interpretation of Jane Eyre, you've really captured the mood in one of my favourite works of literature! The colours are perfect & the simple forms are somehow evocative of the many facets of the book, both plot wise and thematically.

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  22. Wow!!! That's stunning Catherine! I love it! You've really captured the colours of the moors and the rolling hillsides. It truly is a piece of art.

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  23. This is an absolutely gorgeous mini. I really think you have captured the feeling of the moors, not that I've seen them but how I perceive them through literature as well. I enjoyed reading your creative process of designing the quilt too.

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  24. Stunning! I live near the North Yorks. Moors and think you have captured the feeling perfectly!

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  25. It's a beautiful little quilt and a marvelous interpretation. I enjoyed my year with the group last year and think you will enjoy it too.

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  26. What a great theme - so many possibilities. Your piece is very evocative. I love the colours and the sense of movement you have achieved. And you make me think I should revisit Jane Eyre.

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  27. You've captured it so well, before I even registered any of the words I saw the photo of your mini and thought moors, although initially my first literature thought was Emily rather than Charlotte, and Wuthering Heights. But then I got to your words and Jane Eyre works for me too!

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  28. It's so beautiful on its own, and then reading your post was also such a treat. What a great theme - landscape and weather in literature. I missed this post in February - so glad you linked to it from your Haiku post. You are truly an artist!

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