Sunday, January 15, 2012

Artist in training

About halfway done with the 3,000 almond trees to prune before they bloom in mid-February.
pruned branches on ground between rows of trees
Since November I've been helping out in the orchard. I've lost count how many I've pruned. Maybe half. This city girl has gone country.

Some trees are saplings. A few snips and they're done. Easy peasy. The bigger ones are tougher.

I was a pruner in training for the first few rows. After a few hundred trees, I'm surer and faster. Pruning is as much about the eye as it is about the physicality of the cut. 



Sometimes it's really obvious which branches must go. Other times I must choose. The difference may be subtle. Yet I know I've chosen wisely when the tree lets out a nearly audible sigh of relief.

How does this relate to quilting? Nancy Crow always advises her students to do the exercises again and again, to compose many many quilt tops.

Only by repetition does the body and mind learn. As with pruning, so it is with quilting. Quantity does count.

Train the quilter. Train the eye. Train the artist.

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