Last summer, on a hermit week away, Ailie Snow spent time walking along the beach and gazing at the sea and sky. Over time this has become a very intense experience, both meditative and metaphysical. For Snow, the coastline continues to create a feeling of openness and space rarely experienced elsewhere.
Snow reads a great deal of poetry and in searching for a way to further delve into this experience, discovered the work of Mary Oliver who described it, in another context, in her poem ‘White Flowers’.
Never in my life
had I felt myself so near
that porous line
where my own body was done with
and the roots and the stems
and the flowers began.
Although Snow is well known to the quilting fraternity, she does not identify her work as quilting, saying she can’t handle a sewing machine, and has never made a quilt. Her work somehow does apply in that it usually uses three layers of fabric and a simple running stitch - elements which technically allow her into the quilt realm.
Certainly she has used textiles, but most often these artistic materials are degraded: put into the ground to rot as in Illustrations from the Diary (2000), or in Apparent Horizons, the discarded remains of quilters’ work.
In many respects Snow’s work is an embodiment of the apparent horizon - the breathing space, in the liminal margin of the coastline, the intangible place which references both land and sea, without being either, where the sensory experience of seeing and feeling disappear into something else.
In 2003 Jeannette DeNicolis Myer wrote ‘Ailie Snow is a textile poet, paying attention to the story told as her flawed and fragmentary memories are stitched together with her imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete materials to describe the mutable horizon where inner and outer landscapes merge.’
- Rhoda Fowler
→ Ailie Snow: Apparent Horizons, 2005, publication