Week in Review 2020 – 09/25

I’m back in the studio after a several week fallow period. This is what I refer to periods when I am not specifically working on an art quilt. The reality is my mind is always deliberating over one idea or another. I never know what will set my mind off, or how far it will take the idea, until I feel compelled to start the actual creative process.

This is the blueprint or piecing guide for Cautiously Optimistic. The white pieces will be executed in a similar manner to work in my Shifting Values series. A few will remain white, but the vast majority will be a range from lightest “gray” to black.

Would you believe the end of my current fallow period began with the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg? It’s true. However, the path from her death to the design I settled on is anything but direct. The iconic images of RBG always feature her in her judicial robes topped by a stunning collar. How could I capture those collars? RBG is a study in contrast. She was 5′ 1″, but reached the height of the Supreme Court. She approached interpretation of the Constitution from a radically different perspective than the friend she made of Antonin Scalia through their mutual love of opera. The more I thought about RBG’s life, the more I grasped that to honor her life I would need to make contrast a strong visual element.

The first block for Cautiously Optimistic is pieced. Isn’t that haunting face at the top creepy, but perfect?

At first, loosing Ruth Bader Ginsburg, filled me with dread, sucking all hope I had for a rosier tomorrow. RBG never gave up. Why should I? As I sat at my computer playing with this idea or that concept on EQ8, I surprised myself by diverging from the original stark black and white, robes and collars images swirling in my brain. RBG was far more nuanced than my plan. She personified hope during dystopian times. Therefore, a sense of hope rises from the ashes in this design.

I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


  1. Another challenging quilt that is sure to be incredible. I love the idea of interpreting RBG’s collars. I, too, was dismayed that she didn’t hold out 7 weeks longer. Now you-know- who will try to replace her with her exact opposite. So unfair!

    1. Norma, I think you would do a spectacular job interpreting RBG’s collars. I can envision you creating notecards, much like the ones featured in your post. Instead of black ink, use white.

  2. WOW!!!! I love your new plan……the piecing would be daunting for me but right up your alley….can’t wait to see it progress.

  3. I love your idea of a fallow period between projects versus the way so many of us talk about “not being productive.” A fallow field is renewing itself in preparation for future productivity, which of course is exactly what artists and creators are doing when they need a break between the end of one work and the beginning of another. And, in response to your reply to Mary’s comment — you know your work is authentically yours when it is something that only you could/would attempt to do!

    1. I agree, Rebecca. Perhaps that is why I have never experienced artist block in 30 years of creating. We certainly don’t expect to go 24/7 without blocks of sleep. Therefore, why beat ourselves up if we rest, recuperate and regroup between projects?

      Your comment about work being authentic when it is something only you would do, has me on cloud nine. Yes, I’m pleased, even proud of my work, but I admit I struggle with not comparing and judging it against others.

  4. We watched a wonderful biography of RBG entitled…..”RBG.” It can be seen on CNN or on HULU Streaming. I mention it because she is seen poking about in her SCOTUS closet, showing several of her distinctive collars. The one that really intrigued us was from Hawaii…..feathers and “beads from the beach” which I think may be the tiny shells one finds especially at low tide. I believe there is a book about her collars……

Comments are closed.