quieting a messy brain

Lately, my creative brain has felt a lot like this:

A mess of scraps, thoughts, projects, etc., though likely less candy-colored than this heap of stuff. It’s one of those times that I have so much swirling through my head that I have a hard time focusing on one goal or one project. And instead of addressing every idea flapping around in there, I have made almost no progress on any of them. So I decided to get out of my head and into someone else’s.

I spent the early part of one sunny day last week exploring the work of some other textile artists. My first stop was at a gallery on the Lower East Side, where artist Elana Herzog has mounted a very textile-y installation.

"Into the Fray" by Elana Herzog at LMAK Projects

Herzog has a knack for transforming fabric scraps and cast-offs into elegant, minimal structures. I enjoyed imagining what all of those frayed yarns were in previous lives – sweaters, stockings, hats, blankets, wool bikinis?

After the moderation of this exhibit, I was ready to be overwhelmed. So I marched up to the Park Avenue Armory to take a peek at a show called Infinite Variety, presented by the American Folk Art Museum. This fleeting exhibition, open for six days only, features 650(!!) red and white quilts from the last two centuries. I had to catch my breath as I walked into the large hall at the armory…

How spectacular! The vast range of quilts was not only breathtaking in its visual splendor, but also in the amount of craftsmanship, time, and dedication that it represents. Most of these quilts have been made by unknown women, many as gifts of love and charity, others for simple everyday use.

An embroidered dedication to President Taft

Despite the variety of designs and patterns, this collection of quilts represents such focus on a classic color combo. All of those grids, curves, and borders quieted my brain, and I left with inspiration to organize my mind and focus. Here’s hoping that it lasts!

And on I marched down Park Avenue, back to beloved Brooklyn….


About whitney crutchfield

I'm a textile designer, artist, and intern extraordinaire giving it a shot in the big city. I like to look at things and watch people. You might find me toiling away on a new design in my Brooklyn studio, embarrassingly chuckling at NPR guests as I fiddle with things in the craft room of a certain lifestyle company, salivating while staring at the pie shop that sits below my bedroom window, or dodging doggy poo on a run in Prospect Park. www.whitneycrutchfield.com
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4 Responses to quieting a messy brain

  1. Jaclyn Wills says:

    Whit – I loved your article! Those quilts were so beautiful!

  2. monet says:

    the quilt exhibition is fantastic! thanks for sharing that.

  3. Dang Amanda says:

    Hooray for textiles. I LOVE those quilts. I totally drooled on my keyboard. Thanks for sharing. šŸ™‚

  4. Pingback: Do One Thing Everyday That Scares You. | Blue House Blog

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