Thinking Out Loud…
That place is Baker Bay, Cape Disappointment, Washington. Every time we go there, I lose myself in photographing this spot. There is some mystery for me in that this is the terminus of the Lewis and Clark Trail. They didn’t find what they were looking for– the Northwest Passage, an easy, cross the continent route to the Pacific and on to the Far East. Disappointment.
Baker Bay opens out into the Columbia River just before the river flows into the Pacific. At this point, the Columbia is a place of dangerous sand bars, shifting waters, and often wild weather–still requiring careful piloting of the ships that travel up river to Portland, Oregon. While Baker Bay is a small protected and shallow bay, sand bars come and go with the storms. It is a place of many moods. I love it.
Even in the pouring rain and blowing wind, I can’t help but try to capture it.
Marks for counting—the posts, relics of an old pier,
Imprint still water.
On our most recent trip to that place, I found myself saying–“I need to make a quilt of this.” And then I stopped, astounded. I haven’t said that in a long long time. For a brief moment, I could see the fabric I would use. I could see the pale colors I would use. Then the moment passed.
Like a bolt of lightning, the idea seemed so clear
Where did it go?
I’ve been writing a lot of haiku lately. Well sort of haiku—17 syllables. Traditional haiku pays attention to the number of syllables per line as well as in the whole…I am just letting it rip. I think of haiku as a word picture with a point. And that is the basis of what I am going for.
Since the beginning of my quilt making, I have thought of my quilts as poems, not particularly holding to any form of poem, just your garden variety visual poetry. Kinda high-falootin’ my mother would say…. but there you go.
It is helping me, right now, to think of my quilt ideas as haiku—short statements capturing a feeling or a moment—visually. And somehow this place that I keep photographing is prodding me. It’s a bit like bird watching–catching glimpses among the branches, standing quietly, respectfully, gently so that the bird does not fly away.
So an idea begins to come into focus, just a hint or two for now.
The next stage feels as though I am marshaling my forces to begin a campaign–gathering the bits, the tools, all the stuff that takes an idea into real form. And it still seems a task I am not ready for. What’s holding me up?
I know I have to figure out the HOW. How am I going to work now? How am I going to DO it? I don’t want to force myself into the ways I have worked for so many years. It feels like an old shoe that no longer fits.
Hand work, lap work, portable, rough and ragged, loose and fragile, humble, collected elements, simple, crude techniques, unfinished, unvarnished, imperfect, aged and relaxed, freed up….Ideas are coming around, and around, and around….