Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ladder Collage

8x8 inch paper collage
based on a quilt design by Nancy Crow

Lately I have been spending much of my studio time thinking about ways to use my big collection of papers in abstract design.  A design I created last month elicited a comment from a friend who suggested it reminded her of the quilts from the ladies of Gees Bend.  When I tried to get the book from our library I learned it was stolen, and when I ordered it inter-library loan, the wrong book arrived.  So I searched farther and discovered a book of wonderful designs by Nancy Crow.  

This little collage is similar to one of her marvelous quilts, though certainly not identical.  I used altered pages from National Geographic, papers I bought in Italy, a paper bag, and a page from an old atlas - all glazed with acrylic paint.  I'm not sure what it was about the ladder design.  I know ladders can symbolize striving, for spirituality, for success.  But I think the dark colors and ladders stirred up memories of our dairy barn.  

Dad used to send me scrambling up a ladder into our hay mow to throw down bales of hay or straw for the cows. I loved it up there - loved the darkness, the high roof, the ropes and pulleys, the bales that could be arranged into forts.  I loved the slivers of light that entered the mow through gaps between the vertical boards, and the bits of hay dust and chaff that sparkled in the slices of light.  There were ladders along the side of the hay mow too, and sometimes my friend up the road and I would climb up high and jump into the hay.  That was probably a good way to die, but we never were hurt.  There was a ladder inside our cement silo too.  I remember climbing to the top and looking out over our farm, feeling that I had a bird's eye view of the world.  

My knees would never stand for anything of these activities any more.


laura said...

What a strong and appealing design! It really "works"! I love it.

Barbara Grant said...

I love the look and feel of this piece, and I enjoyed reading your thoughts behind it - especially the story of your past.