Sunday, February 12, 2012

American Quilter Magazine March 2012

One spring day about 12 years ago, my mother was visiting me up here in Northern California.  I had recently moved to El Dorado Hills which is located at the base of the Sierra Nevada range and is full of gold rush history which is literally right out my front door.   I was still trying to make this new place my home so I would frequently take little day trips to find hidden jewels along the country roads. This became my way to acclimate to the area.  

On this trip I had my mother along and took the back roads up to Placerville, which was  know as Hang Town back in the day because it was a hanging town, if you know what I mean! They didn’t have any lawmen back then so the citizens took it upon themselves to hang the bag guys from the trees.  Really! Not only does the town today have an old miner (a likeness - not THE miner) hanging from above the historic tavern, they also have some great antique shops and Mom and I wanted to visit them.

We were 3 miles up the aptly named Green Valley Road,  when we both spotted a field in the distance full of brilliant color. What was that?  When we got to it, we saw an old, carved sign that read Iris Farm. We both giggled. I turned the car and drove through the open gate, past the cows and up to the most beautiful sight we have ever seen. 

All of my senses were on high alert. The smells in the air were rich wet dirt, sweet blossoms and maybe just a hint of cow.   The ground was wet and our shoes got a little muddy but we didn't care. There where rows and rows of blooming irises in every color.  Blue, purple, reds, pinks, peaches and, of course, yellow. There was a teenage girl with a bucket walking down every row of flowers picking off the dead buds so that  more could bloom.  That is a job I would have loved  as a kid.

Is this what Van Gogh and Monet saw and painted?  I was so moved by the view and filled with emotion.  I just wanted to cry. 

So, I have had a love affair with irises for a long time. My mother bought these yellow irises that day from that garden and they now grow in my mother’s garden along with others she purchased that day.  When spring arrives these yellow ladies dance in her yard and now, also, on my quilt.  I have written an article about making this quilt in the March/April 2012 issue of American Quilter magazine.

This flower will soon be a pattern that I will be debuting at my Empty Spools Seminars retreat Easter week in Pacific Grove. Come spend Easter making beautiful flowers - just like Monet and Van Gogh.
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