Survey Results: The Rorschach Blot

posted in: Day In The Life 10
An ink blot. OR IS IT?? Image: Wikipedia.
Here we go. Image: Wikipedia.


I’ve dragged my feet getting survey results out because I am overwhelmed.

On Monday, I had my first seminar class. It’s not like regular class where you have textbooks and assignments. In a couple weeks, for example, I’ll be giving a presentation on the grammar of quilt patterns, my personal quiltmaking practice, and — because this is how I roll —  a quick-but-comprehensive history of the American quilt. I can’t wait to share with my School of the Art Institute colleagues — except that I definitely, definitely can.

Because there’s a lot of other stuff going on. For example, this weekend I’m keynote-ing and doing several events at the big EE Schenck “TRENDS” conference in Portland. On Sunday, I’ll be zipping over to The Pine Needle Quilt Shop to lunch and teach, which is great, because the first event is not open to the public but the Pine Needle totally is. I’m not sure there are tickets left for the Pine Needle, but if there are and you can get there, come hang out with me! We can talk about all kinds of things and pet fabric together. I will answer any question. Any question. 

With seminars to write and quilt shops to love, I realized I had better start releasing my survey data in chunks or I’ll never get it out at all. So let’s talk about this inkblot.

All y’all’s answers to the “What do you see?” inkblot question inspired many reactions in me, including but not limited to: delight, mild concern, deep concern, melancholy, mirth, and introspection. Good job! Below are the categories of what you told me you saw in the inkblot and some of the answers I received.

Animals (Or Animal Parts)
Seahorses, a cow, dragons, a deer, a steer, a skull, a bull, dueling shrimp [three people said “dueling shrimp”], fighting deer/stags/reindeer/wildebeests, kissing pigs, a bat, two turkeys, “Seahorses dancing in coral,” “crayfish, moose, and flowers,” “Elephants riding giant hamsters,” “deer escaping fire in a forest,” a giraffe, deer standing on clouds, “two moose coming out of the water in the fall,” an elk running up a mountain, a puppy, a praying mantis, koalas, “I see a moose, bunnies, and peaches,” “a cow’s head wearing an Elizabethan collar, smelling tulips.”*

a uterus/innards, a pelvis or pelvic bones/body parts/abdominal x-ray, an animal skull/bones, ovaries, “kidneys, pelvis, dislocated femurs,” a vagina [they actually wrote “va-jay-jay”], the pelvic x-ray of an alien

two people kissing, kissing people, two lovers, people in love

Two people said they saw the colors for their next quilt!

A couple people said, “I see nothing, feel nothing” and another wrote, “I see an inkblot.” Very cute.

Let’s go with “Other”
a witch
a lady dancing on apples with fire for her hair
“two potbellied gargoyles…medical Mary Jane…”
“maidens dancing on chickens wearing Chinese dragon headdresses”
a nude back in a wine glass
a captionless image
poppies in front of a lake with a sunset
a demon
four hearts, two lungs, and a fiery gate
a messy glass of wine
two trolls arguing
“I was surfin’ and a tuna tried to eat me!”

One other quick thing: Many people thought the “How old did Mariano turn out to be?” was a trick question or a pop quiz. I didn’t mean it to sound that way; I never told you how old he is, actually. I wanted to know what you might have speculated. Most of you got it wrong. You guessed too high.

*emphasis mine. 

10 Responses

  1. Pam
    | Reply

    I must say I did contemplate shrimp (dancing not dueling) on seaweed before I settled on pelvic bones. So many ways to go with this.

  2. Susan Skuda
    | Reply

    Wow!!! The answers are amazing. How many of us looked at the block repeatedly while reading this, considering the viewpoint (and imagination!) of others? For the record, I still maintain my “Fire-Breathing Dragon” stance, but have to admit whoever said “two moose coming out of the water in the fall” is brilliant! Loved reading all the creative results. Thanks Mary. Oh, and good luck with your presentation! I wonder how many future quilters will emerge…. You GO girl!

  3. Elaine Theriault
    | Reply

    Mary – I would love to hear/read your presentation on the grammar of quilt patterns. I work in the industry, I spend my days writing patterns, correcting patterns, and verifying patterns – it’s all in a days work. What is the correct grammar for patterns??? Let’s not even get started on formatting. Oh boy – if you want examples – I can give you the good, the bad and the darn right ugly!!!!!

    If you’re willing to share/chat, my e-mail is attached to this comment (I hope) and we can have a chat.

  4. Colleen
    | Reply

    Being a Navy brat you must succumb to many things, one of which was a child psychiatrist showing me those ink blots. I must have really deliberated because the person kept reiterating to just tell him what I saw. The symmetry was all I could see, so only butterflies came to mind, but I distinctly remember seeing one card and having absolutely no idea (it must have been this card IX), so I said “Zasu Pitts!” She was a silent movie actress that my mother knew, but not for her acting abilities … she loved how her name sounded. Her name became our family mantra when we were stumped. Wonder what the psychiatrist thought of that one.

    Signed, the kissing pigs

    • Colleen
      | Reply

      BTW that was 1960 and I am sure I am a data point in someone’s survey, because that is when they started really collecting them. Funny thought, but my Dad probably got paid when he volunteered me.

  5. Debbie Holley
    | Reply

    Wow! “The cow in the collar smelling tulips” is right there. I didn’t see it but now it is all I can see. what fun!.

  6. Mary
    | Reply

    I can’t remember what I saw originally, but today I saw two pregnant fire eaters surrounded by smoke.

  7. Britiney
    | Reply

    Mary! You’re such a tease!!! LOL!

  8. Judy Forkner
    | Reply

    I wish I would have written down my answers, because now I can’t remember!

  9. Judy Forkner
    | Reply

    I think I said Shrimp fighting or dueling when I did the survey, but now that I’ve seen the cow in a collar smelling tulips answer, that’s what it looks like to me–guess I’m very suggestible!

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