Saturday, October 12, 2013

Everyone has fabric

For my last night in Columbus, my mom and I visited longtime family friends whose early bonds with my parents were forged over auctions, estate sales, and the like.

They are collectors. Exhibit A, their kitchen wall:

Exhibit B and C: two pieces of work by a Columbus artist and friend, Lee Csuri (I just adore her combination of whimsy, pathos and Medieval heraldry).

During the course of the evening, our hosts told hilarious stories about some of the acquisitions they'd made. These well-rehearsed stories, each with its unique characters, circumstances and "moral", remind them of why they went (and still go) to such effort and expense to fill their house with unusual items which now, at life's end, become somewhat of a question-mark. When they can no longer be the docents of their collection, who will recognize the value of the objects they leave behind?

Value is a mysterious entity. The market says it is quantifiable. The soul says it is not. It's like light: particle or wave? For the collector, it is both. As our hostess said, "Sometimes it's about an object you can't live without. Sometimes, it's about taking pity on an object. I mean, if you won't love it who else will?

In this spirit, I was invited to view her assortment (if not "collection") of antique quilt blocks. There were some very special ones, and some not so special ones. The fabric was old, perhaps not so strong. She and her mother had painstakingly disassembled quilts for the blocks--she doesn't remember why, perhaps to make pillows. I gravitated to these Dresden plates, which had never been assembled.

Why these gripped me I cannot say. But I spent the ride home imagining what field to put them on, and what color their centers should be. Back home, this is what I arrived at (that's actually indigo, not black).

Note to self: I must be careful. Everyone has fabric.

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