~LIGHTNING STRIKES . . . NANCY SMITH
‘WE LIVE IN PUBLIC’ – WHERE ARE WE NOW: NANCY SMITH
THIS IS MY HAND-STITCHED & PATIENTLY RE-STORED ca. 1860-80 AMERICAN QUILT. the pattern is called: ‘LIGHTNING STRIKES’ (!!) – PHOTOGRAPHED MID-WAY TOWARDS COMPLETION, ON THE 20th FLOOR TERRACE of MY FDR & GRAND ST APT, NYC. MAY 1998 . . . NANCY SMITH.
I was a resident artist, crew member and one of a handful of JOSH HARRIS key assistants – at ‘QUIET’ – the $1 million dollar+ PSEUDO sponsored/year 2000 Millennium party – wired with 24/7 live streaming surveillance – that became the foundation for – ‘WE LIVE IN PUBLIC’ . . . the Sundance award-winning documentary by ONDI TIMONER.
I founded (2005) – and currently run this website – artloversnewyork.com.
And, yes. I still repair old quilts . . . by hand.
this photo gives you a better idea of the terrace set-up. yes, that’s the East River, and the Brooklyn Bridge, in the background. although I photographed a number of my quilts on that terrace railing – this is the only one – where I went out of my way to get the World Trade Center into the composition. funny right, Lightning Strikes and all ?
it was a really shallow terrace on the 20th floor – so I really didn’t have that much room – to get a long distance shot in – unless I made a concerted effort, which I did this one time only – on a whim.
later, when researching the quilt – I found it was based on an old pioneer pattern, called Lightning Strikes, with a specific reference to “domestic fire” threatening one’s home . . . it is also called Zig Zag and Streak of Lightning, and it is a very popular pattern, that survived frontier times and got handed down in many a family – even when the totemic message was lost, mostly because of its striking graphic and dynamic visual appeal.
from: ‘Eight Hands Round – A Patchwork Alphabet’ by ANN WHITFORD PAUL:
“ZIG ZAG – This pattern was sometimes called Streak of Lightning. People who lived on the plains were especially afraid of lightning because during a hot summer, it could set the dry grass on fire. A strong wind could spread the fire, threatening their homes, their animals, and their crops. The whole family helped fight such a fire. They used wet blankets and pails filled with water from a well or a nearby stream. Maybe a woman sewed this pattern so she would not forget (!!) how hard everyone once worked to save her home from a lightning fire.”
posted on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. NYC.
and, yeah I watched the whole thing happen in real time from this very balcony with its bird eye view . . starting from the very moment the first plane slammed into the first tower to actually catching the 2nd plane slowly arc off the East River and head straight for the 2nd tower . . . while all the local TV stations were reporting “some kind of helicopter accident” (!!) – I was calling my kid’s school, to tell them the city was under attack. sure, they thought I was outta left field – but not for long !!
PHOTOS & ART WORK: NANCY SMITH