stars and bars

I made some progress on the hand stitching for this flag quilt over the weekend. I debate each addition of detail with these questions:

  • Is it worth the effort?
  • Am I adding detail for a reason?
  • When does decoration move the piece away from meaning?

I think I need to add one more star. It's hard to count them when they are so scattered. Saw in the paper today that on this day in 1870 William Seward signed a treaty with Russia to purchase the territory of Alaska for a little over 7 million dollars.

A friend of mine called the large basting stitches between the rows Frankenstein stitching.  Though it is hard to see here, the stitching is in alternating colors of red, white and blue. A visual metaphor for the patriotism that stitches this nation together, however loosely.

While channeling my inner Jasper Johns, Betsy Ross and Faith Ringgold, I am also watching the news about personal freedoms, states rights and race relations. The raggedness of this piece feels right for the era in which we are living. Does it seem to you that we are hanging be a thread? Unraveling?

How much should I tidy up?