Catalpa buds, just beginning to open...
Exceedingly beautiful, but like very few quilt designs, CATALPA requires a 50 x 50 drafting grid. Thus in her quilt column, dated May 25, 1935, in the Chicago Tribune, Nancy Cabot explains:|
"CATALPA FLOWER is a clever, pieced design made without any conscious application of geometry, but cut with geometrical precision, one of the fundamentals of successful quilt making. What the women of the 18th and 19th century lacked in mathematics they made up with a well developed sense of accuracy and beauty of design."
As a teenager, Emily Dickinson included a botanical specimen of the Catalpa in her Herbarium (Catalpa bignonioides: aka, Southern Catalpa). Also called the Scholar Tree, with pinkish white flowers, the catalpa has a long history in Japanese and Chinese poetry, for example, this five-line tanka about non-duality, celebrating simultaneously the strength and flexibility of catalpa wood, by the great Zen Master Dogen:
Dispersed, as today's
Spring light fades
Yet stays held taut,
Like a catalpa bow:
My travels are never ending.
More quilt patterns at this site accompanied by exquisite short form Japanese poetry include:
Early Japanese Women Poets
BROKEN SPIDER WEB
VARIATION OF SAIL BOATS
AROUND THE CORNER
Haiku by Basho & others
TOAD IN A PUDDLE
ANN'S DOLL QUILT
Also Emily Dickinson with quilt designs at: