In my extended family, we have a tradition of making quilts to mark special occasions: graduations, weddings, and new babies. These quilts are a mélange of fabrics representing contrasting memories, themes and wishes that combine into a coherent single form. In a similar vein, this piece is a quilt made of varied ideas, musics, and influences, and, like a quilt, it has a top, full of action, color and pattern, and a back where the pattern of the threads hold it together is visible.
This quilt draws on my memories of skiing during spring break as a child. The top, “a dance where the mountain always leads,” takes its title from my aunt’s favorite shirt, and is a mogul field built with harmonies from Stravinsky and an uneven, knee-destroying rhythmic refrain from a 16th century French chanson. The back is a stately sarabande, perfect for humming while gliding down on the last run of the day. It states and then develops a short progression based on the birthday of my oldest daughter. One day I hope to take her skiing, if only to watch her grandmother and great aunt glide gracefully down the mountain.