I recently received back three quilts I had made years ago, two from a relative who has recently died and the family were happy for me to have them back; and one from another relative to mend, as it had had thirteen years of use on her bed and was showing wear and tear.
It was strange getting these items from my past back again, it was like seeing old friends you haven’t seen for years. Whilst being jerked back to a former time in my life is a bit weird, I was happy to see them again. The one pictured above is called “Wheeling Stars” and involved a lot of hard work with all the embroidered stitiching.
I thought seeing the ones I had made for my deceased aunt woud be sad. Indeed, there is a sad element to getting them back, that she is no longer with us and they are no longer on the wall of her house, which has been sold. But the quilts themselves are looking joyous, sparkling, in fact even better than when I first made them. The pleasure my aunt had in buying, displaying and enjoying them has rubbed off on them, so that they reflect back this happiness to the viewer. Similarly, the rather worn and faded bed quilt, now gives off the added feeling of having been valued and used, and feels like a happy object.
I remember a quilter friend who had had a quilt accepted for a travelling show and won a prize for it, when she finally got the quilt back after one year of travelling to shows all over the world, she said it came back very much enhanced: sparkling from all the admiration it had received.
We all know that art affects the viewer. What I am realising now, is that viewers affect the artwork too! It reflects back the admiration and enjoyment it has received from viewers and owners. It is a two-way process.