One aspect of artistic endeavor is finding interest in the mundane, even in society’s outcasts. A case in point is Japanese knotweed, pictured above on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. It is considered among the world’s most invasive species. It’s certainly the bane of my local parks departments.
According to Eattheweeds.com, Knotweed, in the Buckwheat family, is not liked in western nations because it grows around three feet a month, sends roots down some 10 feet, grows through concrete, damaging roads, dams, buildings and just about anything made by man.
And yet, I like the screen of its stems that allows me to see the river and the opposite bank. Its dark green leaves provide a refreshing contrast to the lighter, grayer green of the distant trees. Maybe it would work as a horizontal composition with lots of criss crossed narrow pieces as part of one row.
According to the website noted above, you can cook and eat its leaves. Perhaps a knotweed puree over ice cream or knotweed bread. Recipes are provided. I can tell you where to harvest lots of it.
In The Weeds
Sometimes I quilt a piece I’m not so enamored of to avoid dealing with a piece I haven’t a clue about and don’t want to screw up. Yet again I’ve sidestepped a larger (around 45 by 50 inches) piece by tackling a smaller one that I’m not heavily invested in emotionally.
In keeping with my recent efforts to use fabrics I created, I combined tissue paper and stamped fabrics with orphan blocks to make “In The Weeds.”
I kept cutting off bits and then adding strips, and finished up with a thermofax print; so the piece is a hodgepodge of surface design techniques. I decided it looked like a patch of weeds so I called it “In The Weeds.” I recalled that term being used by restaurant workers so I looked it up and came across this post at The Word Detective.
I decided the following sums up my methodology:
. . . as Mark Liberman points out, the use of “into the weeds” to mean “delving deep into the details” doesn’t carry the same sense of painful confusion as the restaurant use, and such “weed wandering” is actually the sort of thing true policy wonks enjoy. As he says in his Language Log post, “The metaphor here seems to be that when you wander off the beaten path, you can explore arbitrary amounts of not-very-valuable intellectual foliage (“weeds”) without getting closer to your conceptual destination.”
In other words, I’m on a side spur just detouring around that larger, more serious piece. Because I didn’t really care whether or not the piece was ruined I ran roughshod over it with free motion quilting. That was fun but resulted in quilting that would elicit “strive to maintain consistency in stitch length” from a show judge. I also learned that tissue paper fabric needs a longer length stitch than I used.
10 CommentsOctober 20, 2017 · 5:11 am