Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Today is the reveal of the latest work by the Twelve by Twelve group. Be sure to click on over and check it out. The theme for this round was "Shelter."
The theme of "Shelter" could relate to only one thing for me—home. If you've been reading this blog, you know we spent the past year remodeling and moving into a new-to-us home. It has been a difficult year and discouraging in many ways as the housing market deteriorated and more recently the decline of the entire economy has thrown us all into a state of anxiety. Much of my anxiety revolves around the house we have not been able to sell as well as the new house that we are now unable to complete to our satisfaction. Still, home is and must be, a shelter from the outside world and a refuge from anxiety and fear.

I planned to use the words "my home is my shelter from the storms of life" in this piece. I started a piece using these words. In it I depicted a woman looking out a window. My intention was that she would look safe, at peace and secure inside her home. As I worked on it I realized she was, instead, reflecting my own feelings of anxiety and a degree of sadness. When I showed this in progress to my quilt group, one of them said, "well, you can save it for when the theme is 'Melancholy'." By the way, the pieces that make up the window frame are actually straight. I didn't take this far enough to even fuse them down, so they are just laid together for the photo and I didn't do it very carefully!

I moved on to another idea—the welcoming front entry to our new home. I finished this piece and stood back to look at it and realized I hated it. It felt overworked, jumbled, chaotic. Again, I'm sure, a reflection of my own mental state.

"Breathe," I told myself. "Relax." I closed my eyes and what I saw was simple. The basics of shelter. A roof, walls, support and space. Clean, uncluttered and solid. So this is my final and official response to the "Shelter" theme.

It has been a process and I think it has been instructive. I have recognized my anxiety and worked through the details and distractions to come to a realization that shelter can be both a structure and a feeling and a state of mind. And I really kind of love this piece. It feels optimistic to me and I hope that is where it has taken me.


  1. Melancholy isn't the first response I had when I saw picture #1. Resigned, a touch hopeful perhaps. The interior is warm in contrast with the cool, lingering expression of a person taking a look outside to see if the rain has let up yet.
    I would love to know a bit more about your technique- it appears more like pastel than fabric.
    There is a lot happening in picture #2- but absolutely nothing worth hating on. The waiting wingback chair shadowed in the window is particularly captivating and inviting. When depicting our own spaces who wouldn't be trying to squeeze in every comfy detail? Yet you depict several obstacles in front of the door- plants, stairs, a railing... could this also reflect your experiences with your housing transition?
    Picture #3 is a radical departure from the first two and speaks to me the most (but then I'm a very graphic kinda guy).
    This small journey you've portrayed is rather remarkable to me. I cannot say I've ever seen that kind of progress/epiphany in my work. Only shows how far I have yet to go, eh?
    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I really appreciate your blog.


  2. I really like the second one that you did.I like it because it does not have that graphic perfection of so much of your work. It looks homey and welcoming. Your final piece is a wonderful use of shapes and colors. I love the blue fabric and the use of complementary colors, but I still like the other, better. I love that chair through the window - I want to come in and curl up with a book!

  3. I think the chair in #2 is a wonderful, homey, surprise. But, I'm so glad you kept going and got to a more open, cheerful place.

  4. Interesting how pared-down #3 is, compared with your first two attempts. It really does seem to reflect clearing your mind and focusing on the essentials. Have you noticed that it also reads like a big bright arrow pointing up?

  5. The one you love is the one I love. Stunning!
    I also am glad you shared this progression, it is helpful to others to learn the different ways we work. That said, I think the lady in the window is also wonderful. I hope you finish it, I'd like to see the final work.

  6. Anonymous6:53 PM

    Terry, I think your final piece is the quintessential abstraction -- that is, the process allowed you to pull back far enough to "abstract" -- to generalize -- and see that home was as much a state of mind as a state of being and a physical place. It also clarifies through its geometries, which means you can see more clearly.

    It's a beautiful design -- also what I would say is quintessential Terry Grant. I could go on about the complexity of the seeming simplicity, but I'll be seeing you soon and so I can wax gabby then. June

  7. I like them all! But if you really can't stand #2 and want to find it a new home..I would be honored to have it!
    Your final one is nice clean lines...

    I believe there is someone out there that needs your old home...

  8. I like the final piece very much but I think I would have loved the first. There's something compelling about it and the message really speaks to me.