At first I thought of cars in a parking lot. I spend a lot of time walking around looking for my car in the car park. I do. But a conversation with a friend got me thinking beyond car parks and county parks. I realized there are all kinds of parks. Then my mind went to Shenandoah National Park in my beloved state of Virginia.
For my non-American friends, the Shenandoah River meanders through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and West Virginia which is in the northern part of the American South. As in Dixieland. Virginia was Confederate state during the Civil War in the 1860s. In the song Take Me Home, Country Roads, John Denver sings, “Almost heaven, west Virginia, Blue Ridge mountains, Shenandoah River…” Yes, it is all that..
The Blue Ridge Mountains are one of only two places in the world where the chemical isoprene, released by the (red oak) trees, imparts a blue cast to the atmosphere. (The other is a eucalyptus-forested area in Australia.) Other mountains in the world might look blue from a distance, but, apparently, not to the extent of these two places.
Since I happen to have a lot of gradient blues in my stash, I thought I would do something like this. But then I thought about what it is like to actually walk in these mountains among the trees and flowers. When you are standing on a mountain, it doesn’t look blue.
My favorite kind of quilt making is to use only what I have on hand. I have had some muted 2.5 in/6.35 cm blocks hanging around for several years, so I started fiddling with them. The idea was to use up as many of those blocks as I could to represent the textures of the Blue Ridge as you stand on them. Thus, Late Summer in the Blue Ridge was born. The colors remind me of the dusty heat that is present there this time of year.
The 156 blocks finished at approximately 20×21 in/51×53 cm. I quilted it in wavy horizontal lines to mimic the peaks and valleys. It’s the first abstract representational quilt I have made. Hope you like walking in Shenandoah National Park with me. Here’s the song if you care to have a listen: https://youtu.be/oTeUdJky9rY