The Devil in the Basement

My husband’s paternal grandmother made a table cloth and an apron from these cement sacks.  On our last trip to see my father-in-law, I was allowed to take them both, as well as this scrap, which has already been incorporated into this poppy quilt (below).   It wasn’t until I was viewing the cement sack as a photograph that I noticed how nasty this particular devil is —  playing with his pitchfork, as it were.  “Devil’s Slide”, indeed!
You can see the bottom arc of the grey and white logo.  Since this photo was taken, I machine stitched in the rest of the words “Devil’s Slide” in white thread.  This quilt continues with the use of words from journals that I kept in the 80’s.  Some of the splotchy grey/green textures in the middle are second iron-offs of transferred words from two quilts made earlier this year.  The torn pages come from the previous piece I did on innocence (with the figure of the boy?  — it is now finished, by the way).  The lighter brown rectangles were dyed with onion skins, gessoed and written on — again with words from old journals.  Although the words are of some mild interest to me, and I’ve begun to think of this grouping’s title as, “What Was I Thinking?” — part of the point of choosing words from old journals was to de-emphasize the business of articulation and expression… I wanted the shapes and sounds and even the meaning of words to be central, without making any attempt whatsoever to describe any part of my inner or outer states as I see them now.
This quilt got quite puffy and uneven in its surface when I went to integrate it all.  Even layering tulle and machine stitching did not quite bring things to order.  One of the problems is the green upholstery-weight cotton that comprises the first of two ‘matts’.  It is very dense and almost rubbery and not at all receptive to a needle or iron.
My plan is to work on this one tomorrow.  I had made a smaller fabric version of the cement sack by photographing it and then printing it on cotton fed through my inkjet, but the watery-blue-grey is a bad match with the warmer neutrals of the quilt.  At the library this week (they have the machines that make copies that will transfer with eucalyptus oil), I made a copy of a vintage etching of a trombone.  I will transfer it to muslin, like the french horn already on the quilt — to continue the play with the word ‘slide’.

"What do you really need to know to live"

4 thoughts on “The Devil in the Basement

  1. albedoarlee

    could you sepia tone the photo before you print it?
    i REALLY really REALLY am quite taken with this one–and like you, love the play on words

  2. dee

    yes, that occurred to me after posting. Not sure I will for this one though b/c after I slide the trombone in and a trident (which happened to be on the same page of images!), there might not be ‘under tulle’ spaces left…. but who knows, b/c I just appliqued another poppy on TOP, so I could do same with devil… otherwise, the reference is completely ‘off quilt’.

    hope you have a good day!

  3. anne

    love the poppy quilt! to beautiful flowers made of different fabrics……and the soft colours and pieces of fabric
    really lovely

  4. deemallon

    Thanks, anne… just hopped over to your blog — it looks like we follow a lot of the same fiber artists… and yes! plants DO make you giggle and smile! adding you to my reader.


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