Our son, Ryland, had been singing with the Cabrillo Youth Chorus for several years when we learned that the chorus would have the opportunity to perform an original composition called The Peace of Wild Things in its East Coast debut at Carnegie Hall! The work was commissioned by composer Imant Raminsh, bringing together the poetry of e. e. cummings, Morton Marcus and Wendell Berry in nine movements performed along with the adult Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus.
We could not pass up such an opportunity, though the trip would be quite expensive with all three of us spending eight days in NYC. We knew that it would be an unforgettable experience for all concerned, and probably our once in a lifetime opportunity to hear our son sing in the most celebrated performance venue in America.
The group began organizing fundraising events to help defray the cost, but I was inspired by the story of a past participant who had made a quilt and raffled it off, reportedly with bountiful results. I decided to create an embroidery piece, but I struggled to find an appropriate image to fit the theme. I searched for famous painting of New York City or musical images, but nothing was colorful enough or appropriate for a youth group.
It was on New Years Eve, as we were driving to a party, that it hit me. The Peace of Wild Things. One of my favorite stories from childhood is Maurice Sendak’s tale of Max who gets sent to bed without supper and escapes into the imaginary forest Where the Wild Things Are to cavort and carouse with the monsters he finds there. The illustrations were still vivid in my mind, and would be a pleasure to recreate in thread.
My favorite character, next to Max, of course, is the rooster-like monster on the right, and I put special effort into creating the texture of each feather on his body. As the piece was coming to life, I spread the word that raffle tickets were available for $5.00 each, and ended up selling over 200 tickets to friends, family and supporters who watched it evolve until the raffle drawing after the final preview performance in Santa Cruz. The winning ticket went to our good friends Sarma and Vaidehi, who we learned would soon be bringing a new little one into the world to fall asleep to bedtime stories about naughty boys and wild things.
Begun 1-16-07 Finished 5-25-07
Level of complexity: low
Value per square inch: $50.00
Dimensions: 5.75”x 12.75” = 73.31 sq. in.
Commission value: $3,665.50