Eris • Quilt #265
54″ wide by 48″ tall
Title of Sculpture: There Are Many Idioms About Breathing And Yet
by Kameelah Janan Rasheed, 2021
Since this photoshoot was at a facility that studies the quality of our California air, it was fitting that the idea of breath, or breathing, or air, was prominent in their public art all around the building. We toured the building, picked up the swag from the vendors and displays in the parking lot, the solar panels overhead shading us from the sun. Rasheed’s artist’s statement includes this line: “As a meditation on pacing and temporality, the artwork is a form of preparedness for the hard work ahead.”
Pacing — a steady pace? Don’t overreach? Don’t run faster than you have energy for? Keep up the pace?
Temporality— the state of existing within or having some relationship with time. Lived time (as opposed to clock time or objective time). Temporality is a term often used in philosophy to express the way time is understood, often as a straightforward procession of past, present, and future.
Some background: Love us or hate us, we here in Southern California are keenly aware of our air, and the effects that pollution has on our health. Too many of us live in communities polluted by automobile exhaust that combines with the moist air that comes in off the ocean: smog. Some communities are polluted by idling train engines. We have seen a distinct uptick in air pollution due to our online shopping habits from the pandemic. An increase of warehouses built at the eastern edge of our city, only a few miles from our home means the freeways are now clogged with semi-trucks bearing goods from the ports to the ocean of warehouses that have been built in this area in the last few years.
I have an asthma inhaler in my bathroom drawer; today in the exhibits in the parking lot, one vendor displayed about 10 of these devices, encouraging us toward cleaner driving, cleaner air, and an awareness of our temporality. Keep up the pace. But maybe…move a little faster.
About a year ago, I felt as if I were drowning. I couldn’t keep up the pace. I felt disconnected from time, certainly an effect of the pandemic in our lives. I know I wasn’t alone in these feelings. I tacked a giant calendar on the wall of our garage, and took to marking it off one day at a time. Keeping track. I pared down all interactions and responsibilities to almost nothing. I was choking in sadness, bad air, political pollution, weary to the bone. I am usually the biggest Pollyanna you’ll every see, but at that time there was no breath in me.
When we are stressed, we often say Breathe in, Breathe out. Take in good, let go of that which is exhausted. Find fresh, expel the stale. I decided to make space for new things (Heart’s Garden?), to re-examine what I had in my life, and what I could let go of. I have taken steps to regain my health, and finally feel as if I’m making my way back to myself.
I also found my way back to this quilt. It has been a satisfying period of finding quilts made in a rush, and now taking time (pacing?) to sit with the quilt, find the way to quilt it, to finish it. My husband Dave always finds great places for us to photograph, and willingly holds the quilt, a support in all ways. So it was fitting to photograph this quilt at a place which is concerned with breath, with air. The title, Eris, was a parallel to my inner world last fall, and the discord seems to continue into this year as well, with its Ukranian war, the J6 Committee findings, the ongoing pandemic (and now we are returning to using our masks).
But I worked in Harmony. I appreciated the safety of Order, the constraints of Geometry, the goodness of Grace. But most of all, I acknowledge the gift from the One who loves us all: Creativity.
Take a breath!
Other posts about this quilt:
Pattern is found in my PayHip shop and includes two different sizes.
This quilt had a working title of Spectral Light.
I write about the fabric in this post, stars shining brightly.
There are other, smaller versions of this quilt: Choose Something Like a Star.
Some of the quilting was written about in this post.
The original Triad Harmony Quilt Finish (quilt #234).
I taught a workshop for Coastal Quilters, and they produced a lot of amazing Triad Harmony quilts.
You’ll probably see this design again. I made a total of five different quilts for teaching, and have quilted three of them.