from “Euclid’s Orchard” (a work-in-progress)

“What I want to do is find a way to sew the graphic representation of Euclid’s orchard. For nearly thirty years I’ve quilted to find a way to explore texture, to try to bring a one-dimensional space into something resembling two: runnels of cotton pierced with small stitches; stars slightly embossed on a bed of dark velvet. I think of these surfaces as a kind of landscape relief, something for the hands to read as though reaching down from the sky to learn something about the earth – hills of brown corduroy, cabins built of strips of coloured fabrics, a red hearth at each centre; an indigo river alive with the ghosts of salmon, their eggs glittering among the stones below them.

I want to create those neglected trees rising from the surface of the ground, the clovers and wiry grasses around their trunks, the spring daffodils I planted in hope, and all the teeming biota under the earth: worms tunnelling through the porous soil, the burrows of field mice, the root systems of the native wildflowers. I want the nematodes, the protozoa, fungi, the broken rocks, minerals, the decaying organic matter creating the humus needed to keep the soil healthy. I want to commemorate a dream, now abandoned, but potent in the collective family story. We had an orchard. We gave up on it.”

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