For the first time since starting these journal quilts, Sunday morning arrived without my having so much as having picked a background fabric. I knew I wanted to depict a polar bear, but that was it. Two weeks ago, sitting with two other artists in a fledgling crit group (yeah!!), a painter asked another quilter in the group, “Do you ever do studies before making a quilt?” While I make variation upon variation, I’m not sure I’ve ever made a study. I liked the idea. So, given that the “hot” part of the large global warming piece that is all over my kitchen table is resisting attachment to the “cold” part — study was definitely in order!
On Saturday, I did a google image search, gathering a handful of pictures of bears swimming, and fell in love with the above photo by ucumari (check out her great animal pictures on flickr!)
Sunday, I started the day flipping through a book of Rick Bartow‘s artwork — incredible pastels, ink drawings, and sculptures of animals — mythic and full of gesture. Absolutely gorgeous work. I was also remembering the stunning, muscular animals of the artist Nancy Erickson, who works on fabric and paper. (I looked at her website today and found that one of her polar bear quilts is titled the very title I was considering for my kitchen-table-piece — and that is, “Where’s the Ice?”) Anyway, their combined artistry inspired me to render my polar bear with pastels, rather than fabric. Since I am out of sheets of fabric to feed through my inkjet printer and since the deadline was rapidly approaching, I stitched the paper right on the quilt.
Now, I have stitched a lot of paper — for cards, in particular — but never for the central image of a mid-sized quilt. It was exciting and freeing, and justified the whole discipline of doing these journal quilts, I think, but I wonder at the durability of it. Even though these pieces are meant to be finished by Sunday, I plan to bind this one, and also to trim some of the pointy edges of the paper.
I stitched a bear constellation in the sky, using the leftover Heat n’ Bond paper from my earlier bear journal quilt as a guide on the wrong side of the quilt top, right against the batting. It was a good idea, but I would like this quilt better without it.
I am encouraged by this piece. It suggests a direction that might satisfy my need to work faster.
Speaking of stitching on paper, here is a flashcard I made awhile back. It is too big to be an official ACEO (Art Cards, Editions and Originals – must be 3.5″ x 2.5″, the size of a trading card), but could be a collectible nevertheless. I think I’ll offer it for sale in my etsy shop.
The front is a photoshopped digital image of a small Buddha statue which might have become a holiday card if I was someone who got it together enough to send holiday cards. I like the fact that there are two sides. The very emphatic directive to “find that peace” seems like a pretty apt suggestion from the Buddha!