Sailing Away

A single sailing boat block from Spinning Sailboats by Anne Gallo and Susan Raban exhibited at the Vermont Quilt Festival 2012
4 blocks together in Spinning Sailboats by Anne Gallo and Susan Raban exhibited at the Vermont Quilt Festival 2012
Spinning Sailboats by Anne Gallo and Susan Raban exhibited at the Vermont Quilt Festival 2012

I’ve been writing about the arts forever (or so it seems). Over the years, I’ve watched virtual wars between two teams that I call the “Tradition Keepers” and the “Heck with Tradition” non-keepers.

For Tradition Keepers, you play music the way it was first heard or you paint portraits according to rules set down by artists in the mid-19th century or you quilt only by hand.

The Heck-with-Tradition folks refuse to acknowledge the past.

In fact, they often declare they are free of the past, that everything has to be new, new, new or it’s invalid. None of that hand-sewing stuff here, thank you very much.

But you know what I like? Moments when the two get blended, and something simultaneously new and old is birthed.

This work is a mild example of that process at work.

The single sailboat block at the top of this post is part of a quilt created by Anne Gallo and Susan Raban called Spinning Sailboats that was at the Vermont Quilt Festival this past weekend. This sailboat block is about as traditional as it gets, and is most often featured in quilts where all the boats float in the same direction.

But Gallo and Raban played with this traditional block, sewing four of them together, each headed in a different direction. That’s picture number two.

Now look what happens to the movement of color in this whole quilt when you view these foursomes put together. The single sailboats disappear, and you have something old and new at the same time.

Cool, eh?

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