"Double Mexican Wedding Rings #4"
Nancy Crow has been working in quiltmaking for over 20 years. Named a Fellow of the American Craft Council she has received two major awards: Individual Artist Fellowship for the Ohio Arts Council and The National Living Treasure Award from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She has had major solo exhibitions at the Renwick Gallery-National Museum, American Smithsonian Institution and the American Craft Museum in New York City.
"It has nothing to do with March other than that's the month I made it in. But I consider that quilt for me, what I would say a good luck quilt because I was invited to be in an exhibition in New York City at the American Craft Museum and the director put it in the front window of the museum and that just, my whole career as serious quilt maker sort of started then, I mean it gave me a chance to exhibit other places, got a lot of publicity, and it looked great from across the street, standing and looking over towards the museum.
"It was hand quilted and it was made from templates and that's a very traditional way of working where you basically draft out your idea on paper and then you cut out the geometric shapes to size on paper and then you use that paper pattern to lay on top of your fabric and I don't work that way at all anymore so that's a very traditional time in my life.
"I made up my mind about the time I finished that Mexican Double Wedding Rings, that's about the time I was starting to think, my gosh if I can't figure out another way to work that's more direct because I'm a very direct person and I like to get from A to B in a very quick manner. If I can't figure out another way to work that's much more fluid, I'm not gonna make quilts any more because it's too, the whole thing about making templates, of planning it out so much ahead of time, it's just so intellectual and not dipping into my emotions enough.
"So starting in 1990, I actually only made one quilt that whole year because I was trying to figure out how could I work more like a painter, that is to think of that cutting tool almost like a paint brush, you know you cut directly. It means you have to have control over the shapes as you cut them because you're cutting them totally by eye, so it took me practicing probably from 1990 until about 1993 that I was starting to get, find my stride working that way.
"And once I started to realize that by working in this freer, more spontaneous, what I call improvisational manner, I was totally engaged with what I was doing, there wasn't a part of it that bored me, you know and so all of a sudden quiltmaking became interesting again. And so that's how I've been working for the last, basically the last 7 years, because it took me 3 years to be able to do it. I think you have to train your muscles to work first of all, you know, you have to train your eye to be able to cut such clean shapes.
"I don't want to know ahead of time what I'm gonna do because to me then it becomes totally boring and I'm very bored, very easily so I have to basically keep myself entertained by challenging myself.
"Just cutting out pure shape out of pure color is extremely exciting
to me and then putting it up on the wall and seeing how what I've just
cut interacts with what else I've got on the wall. And I absolutely love
shape, I absolutely love composition. And I feel those are two things
I have no problem with, and color, I just, I love them, it's so intense,
I can't explain it."