Friday, June 8, 2007

"Teach Me to Hear Mermaids Singing"

My quilt “Teach Me to Hear Mermaids Singing,” part of Husqvarna-Viking’s 2006 Gallery of Quilt Art exhibit “Masterpieces: Imagine That!” will be at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England, in August. The quilt was first displayed at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in fall 2006, then at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago in April. From England, it goes to Sweden and then Australia, Denmark and Finland, returning home in 2009.

This is my first art quilt. I took a class with Bonnie McCaffery in the fall of 2005, and learned to paint a face on fabric. I came home and started creating the story behind the face. Goes to show how a class with a great teacher can change your work ... and sometimes even the course of your life! Thanks, Bonnie!

This quilt is really about my daughter, who at 10 remains convinced that she is actually a mermaid, and will some day transform and swim out to sea.

The name comes from this poem by John Donne:


Go, and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me, where all past years are,
Or who cleft the Devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be'est born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear
Lives a woman true, and fair.

If thou find'st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet,
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet,
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.

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