Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A series of fortunate events

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I truly believe that things happen for a reason. Let me elaborate...back in December I read a book called "La Catedral del Mar" or "Cathedral by the Sea". I won't be telling you the whole book but to summarize, the story takes place in 14th-century Barcelona and it is about a porter who carries stone blocks to a cathedral construction site. I highly recommend the book. Now back to my story. In February I visited Mexico, and while there I went to the Metropolitan Cathedral, an architectural jewel in the center of Mexico City.

A few weeks later my family and I went to Southern Spain and France for Spring break. We visited, like most tourists do while in Europe, many cathedrals and palaces in Madrid, Seville, Granada and Paris. It is hard for me to tell which place was my favorite but I would have to say that the one that impressed me the most was the Cathedral in Seville. Its central nave rises to an awesome 137 ft so once inside the cathedral one can't help to feel insignificant.

Another highlight during the trip was visiting the Alhambra Palace in the city of Granada. While being there I was just going through the motions of moving from one room to another and trying to take everything in. The grandeur of the place hit me once we were back home and I looked at the photos we took. One thing I do remember is that while visiting all those historical places and taking photos, my eyes would focus on the materials used to construct them. At the cathedral in Mexico City I couldn't get over the size of the wooden doors and their intricate pattern. In Seville, the chosen materials were smooth granite and marble. The Alhambra, due to the disrepair in some areas, had stucco falling off many walls and the dirt and stones were visible creating beautiful texture. Notre Dame, in contrast, had beautiful well maintained stones that were set hundreds of years ago .

If I haven't lost you yet, you may be wondering where the story is going. Well, a couple of weeks before leaving for Europe I got a phone call from Laurie Brainerd, a fantastic fiber artist from San Antonio. Laurie called me to see if I could help her quilt a series of art quilts she had been commissioned to do for the San Antonio Baptist Mission Trail Hospital. I love quilting art quilts and immediately said yes!! So during April, Laurie and I worked together for a few weeks. My job was to quilt stones and bricks and fading stucco and wooden doors on her beautiful quilts. I truly think that reading the Cathedral of the Sea and traveling to see old churches and palaces prepared me for the task of quilting Laurie's 3 art quilts. It was indeed a series of fortunate events that led me to successfully quilt Laurie's ideas onto her art quilts.

Close up of work done with my longarm. All the stitching was done free hand.

Here I'm quilting in my studio

Quilt made by Laurie Brainerd, quilted by Martha Tsihlas
Property of the Baptist Mission Trail Hospital in San Antonio, TX.


Pam said...

Serendipity is REAL and we need to listen to it whenever it knocks on the door!! Great story and your collaboration with Laurie is stunning!

Quilt Inspiration said...

Hi Martha, somehow we missed this when you posted it in June. We just wanted to check in and say that your quilting work is wonderful... a work of art ! Congratulations on these beautiful pieces.