The Compass Rose restaurant and lounge existed for years as a gastronomic institution in the grande lobby of San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel. Like many other institutions of its kind, it has been replaced by a slick, ultra-modern establishment that features lots of metal furnishings and blue lights.
The post-modern quilt variation, Compass Rose Square,was completed shortly after the closing of the restaurant from which itborrows her name. Constructed from 81 bow ties, the 33”x33” quilt is composed of acentral north star at the centre of a silk embroidered crossroad. A second crossroad of rose printed silk taffeta echoes the first. Silver silk shooflies, beaded with fresh water pearls, anchor and surround the central square on a background of dusty rose silk Dupioni compass - squares. Finally, blended silk squares trimmed in silk roses bleed into the compositions border.
The Compass Rose Square filling intentional. Burlap was a textile most available to our enslaved ancestors. It was used to hold picked cotton and as clothing. It is not a stretch to imagine that it was used to fill winter quilts. Until this creation, I had no idea of the pain and discomfort of quilting with burlap fill. The relief of the central star is filled with handpicked cotton from the interior of the repair of an antique quilt over 100 years old.
One of a kind, and never to be repeated, Compass Rose Square, created in 2011, is iconic in its conception, crafting and symbolism. It may be used as a literal compass or displayed as a bird (the BA). It may even be folded into the form of a spade.