Thursday, September 04, 2014

St. Paul's Suite

I seem to turn on the radio whenever I'm in the car and recently heard Gustav Holst's St. Paul's Suite as I drove up the long sloping freeways to our neighboring town.

The piece, written in gratitude for his new office at St. Paul's Girls School, or so the announcer said, has several parts and the section that really caught my ear was the one where a traditional tune (which reminds me of "what can you do with a drunken sailor") is overlaid by Greensleeves.  Which led me to think about the commentary I read about a not-so-favorite quilter who claimed she'd invented a technique where she overlaid her quilting pattern over something else, and that the two designs, without any relationship to each other, coexist on her quilt.  I've seen a couple of those quilts and I would typify it more like an argument these two designs were having.

(from *here*)

That made me think of my current argument with the world: about how everything old is new again, but I seem to be the only witness to this in the quilting world.

This quilter claims she has a new and original idea about overlaying two distinct patterns, but here Holst was doing it musically decades before she was every born.  Another quilter proclaimed that her book contained New! and Fresh! block designs for quilts, but the block she chose was one I'd seen in a book published in 1970, some forty years ago.  Another duo talked about their take on combining two blocks in one quilt, but Joen Woelfrom pioneered that idea some twenty years ago.

Maybe it's because I traffic in the "modern" gang--young women who, having missed out on Home Ec and Sewing are now learning to sew by quilting, by trying to reinvent the wheel and claiming for their own.  Some of us oldtimers laugh at the young'uns trying to enforce copyright on traditional quilt patterns.  Several of us were drawn into a working group (called a "bee") and have named ourselves the Mid-Century Modern Quilters, the mid-century a nod to the fact that we are all over 50 years old.

I listened to an NPR show the other where an established artist (read: older) talked about his younger years and how he thought his ideas were new and interesting and really lit the art world on fire.  He chuckled, paused, then said, "I suppose all young artists think that."  I suppose so.


Sherri said...

So true! I know of a quilter who claims to have "invented" a technique my grandmother shared with me twenty years ago!

Judy said...

We see the same thing in clothing. My mother-in-law always tells me to keep my favorite things even when they go out of style because before too long they'll be the "new thing."