Margaret Blank – Circle(s) – Blue Plate Special
I’m always amazed by how the mind works. Mine went around in circles as I pondered this latest 15 x 15 theme. There are so many ways to interpret this topic!
I began by looking for a mathematical definition. In the one I tracked via “Wikipedia”, I found an intriguing statement: “The eccentricity of a circle is zero”. In common parlance, “eccentric” is an adjective meaning “quirky” or “peculiar” or “odd”, so I thought it might be fun to reproduce that phrase directly…using text inside circular designs. I even made some samples in my sketchbook:
But no…that idea didn’t appeal when it came to translating it to fabric.
Shortly thereafter I heard and then read the poem To Be of Use by Marge Piercy which included the lines, “The work of the world is common as mud…But the thing worth doing well done has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.” This thought seemed to dovetail with Carrie Newcomer‘s lyrics from her song Holy as the Day is Spent: “Holy is the dish and drain/The soap and sink, the cup and plate…And frying eggs sound like psalms/With a bit of salt measured in my palm/It’s all a part of sacrament/As holy as the day is spent”.
Cups, saucers, bowls, plates…all are most often circular. I considered recreating a table setting, as seen from above. The bare shapes, though, lacked personality:
Imitating this layout in simple fabrics didn’t improve it.
“…frying eggs”…now…that might have something to it, combined with a cup and a plate…Worked in blue…something reminiscent of the daily special offered in diners and truck stops…often served on plates that were divided up into sections, and coloured blue… Hence the origin of “Blue Plate Special“.
My version doesn’t feature a divided plate, but it’s all done in shades of blue — with a touch of white — and is on the menu every day, often all day, at our local truck stop restaurant, The Whistle Stop (2012 Ltd.). It’s just off Alberta’s Highway 21, driving south from Edmonton…on the edge of Mirror. If you’re driving by, do stop off for a hearty meal and a great cup of coffee!
Materials: commercial cottons, fusible web, cotton thread.
Techniques: fused applique, free-motion and echo quilting by machine.