Noah’s Ark

For my next commission — a wall quilt featuring Noah’s Ark — I purchased some stormy, raining fabric.  It’s a beautiful silk chiffon, and I will double it to make the rain going in two directions, and to make the greys tend toward black.

I don’t often specifically buy fabric with a project in mind, but this time, I did.
I think it will take a needle nicely, even doubled, so I look forward to quilting this.  I will use the technique taught by Jude to secure the layers first — what she calls an ‘invisible baste’.  I have learned that securing the layers as an initial matter makes the difference between enjoying all subsequent hand stitching, and not.  I have an old plastic place mat from when the boys were little to put under the piece while I baste  — this prevents stitching the quilt to one’s skirt and helps steady the layers until they are secured with thread.
With hand-stitching in mind, I selected a high quality quilting cotton for the back.  Maybe it’s the heat.  Maybe it’s growing older (not wanting to stress already achy-thumbs).  Maybe it’s a growing appreciation for the ENERGY of a thing.  Whatever the reason, I find myself refusing to work with fabric that is icky in any way (I used to stockpile icky (free) fabric for the backs of quilts…).  Almost anything that I have purchased at JoAnn’s is going into my give-away bin.  The stuff they sell is crap.
What do you think of, visually, when you think of Noah’s Ark?  I think we tend to see the boat up on stilts, being built, or to imagine the procession of animals, marching two-by-two into the boat.  I decided to depict the middle of the storm – think:  Day 20 or 22 of the forty days and nights of rain.  No cute beasts marching up a plank.  No hopeful dove with a sprig of greenery in her beak.
Initially, I wanted to surround the ocean/boat scene with animal prints, but no matter how I laid them out, they looked dopey.  So I found a woven rectangle with watery colors, split it up and laid it out, and then wove another section to fill in the remaining areas.  I am stitching this newly woven section this afternoon, and will cut it up later.
I like how the woven sections add depth and complexity – very comparable to how certain spices or oils create depth of flavor in a stew.  These sections take a considerable amount of time, but they have a defined beginning, middle, and end, which keeps them from becoming oppressive.  And since I am planning this quilt out, no woven section will be laid on top of a section that is already three or four layers thick. Again, my goal is for the hand stitching to be easeful.
I will lay some of the sheer silk chiffon on the ocean fabrics, to create a feeling of light or foam.

My hope is to ‘whip this up’ in such a way that I feel good about what I can charge for it.  Price can never be the sole consideration, mind you, but it would be nice (for a change) if my aim to pursue an efficient design and construction actually panned out.

14 thoughts on “Noah’s Ark

  1. Julie

    I think the “Ark’s” ocean is lovely and I feel the “rain” looks like 100 days and nights….great work….Julierose

  2. Michelle in NYC

    This is so much like a mini tutorial–the whole process from fabric choice into baste and how to proceed–to elements of the design and finally the mention of selling and wanting it easy enough and worth paying a decent price for. It’s going to be a lovely lovely piece!

  3. bertcollections

    I love how you’ve interpreted this the ark on a dark and stormy night. Your design has great texture and evokes the story beautifully.

    Looking forward to the next installment!

  4. Lisa Eaton

    I love the progression of the quilt. It looks like it should feel wet. The rain fabric is so perfect. Good thoughts on free fabric. I fear I’ve been your source from time to time. This blog entry has been superb as well. Great work, Dee!

  5. ersimarina

    I love your interpretation of the story, your selection of fabrics and your work on them! There are many layers of thought and symbolism here, not just layers of cloth. I really enjoyed reading about the whole process.

  6. deedeemallon

    thank you everybody! such nice comments!! …. the silk chiffon really is great… and come to think of it, sometimes all I need to get going on a piece is ONE fabric that excites me.

    LISA – NONE of the fabrics you have gifted me over the years are in the crap pile, nor would they ever be, because they don’t have the petro-chemical smell, the stiff refusal to take direction from an iron, and the mean attitude toward a needle. It really is mostly stuff I bought at JoAnn’s — and a few other random freebies.

  7. saskia

    the rain fabric is brilliant! and I like those greenish clouds as a border in the sky part, and the woven sections do add interest and depth, as you point out, next to the strips/waves; and ah yes wouldn’t it be nice if the price was right!!

  8. grace Forrest~Maestas

    REALLY like this Post. and as Michelle says above, it touches so much
    that is involved in the process. the Stormy Sea…good good good choice

  9. deedeemallon

    thanks all for checking in — have been away for two days and it is so nice to arrive back to cyber-fiber connections!

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