Tag Archives: orange

Bird Woman: Power in Completion

In these quiet weeks, I am finding it hard to come back to the screen.  This screen, specifically.  Is it because the space where my knees sit is freezing cold?  (My hands are freezing right now, too) Or, because a pause midwinter makes sense from 1,000 perspectives? Or, maybe I have nothing to say (when has that stopped me before, you ask?!!).

An unexpected benefit to my neglect here, has been getting into a rhythm of finishing work.  Ironically, I had signed up to do a spring show and was DREADING the prospect of spending a season ONLY finishing things, but the moment I decided (for a host of reasons) NOT to participate, the finishing seemed to want to happen.   I have to ask myself:  WHY am I capitalizing words as if I am writing an article about the THRILL of orgasm for COSMO?!!  No.  Seriously, what is my deal about finishing?

Once Upon a Time, Bird Woman was born.  She emerged from scraps of embellished linen and pieces of a hideous 1970’s jacket, and some sequins that my cousin sent me at the time.  I put a small island of Victorian sequined black silk below her feet (that came from a friend for my birthday one year).  I made her wingtips look like flames, to make her a powerful bird.  I blanket stitched a full moon over one wing and she got even more powerful.  For her general environment, this creature was lucky enough to get one of the many woven cloths that I made during a Jude Hill class (it might be two combined, actually).  Then she went into hiding again.  I wondered where she was for awhile but I didn’t look for her.  She resurfaced, got some more stitching, then disappeared again.  I found her about two weeks ago, and now, apparently she is ready to be given a little more starry sky above her head, and some edges.

bird-woman-batting-cut

bird-woman-frayed-silk The blue silk  frayed like mad.  The NEXT time I used silk for a background, by the way, I ran a line of machine stitching along the side prone to giving off its threads.  The lost cloth here created a bit of a challenge – but not too bad.  Mostly, I was sorry to see so much of that Noxzema blue go.  After trimming the batting off, I auditioned backgrounds, with the idea that I would put the whole thing onto another cloth.
bird-four-backsI looked at these selections starting with upper left and going clockwise.  The purple velvet was nice, but I liked the burnt orange of my slippers (just visible on the frame’s edges) better.  The green and whites both fell completely flat.  But, orange?  Why, yes.  It makes the Bird Woman sing!  How can a single infusion of color do that?!!  But it does.  Orange makes Bird Woman sing!bird-woman-star-edgeHere you can see how I applied some tiny seed stitches and “X’s” to approximate stars.  bird-woman-stars-LThe upper edge slanted precipitously downward, and since I was loathe to lose anymore of that rich, blue silk, I tucked a kind of corny cotton printed with a night sky.  I will tuck something else on the left side to complete that edge.

This will be carefully stretched a bit before mounting onto its backing (which of course I had to piece because the orange swatch was not wide enough).   Stay tuned for the finished piece!!

What is your style of finishing a piece?  Do you run to it, with eager anticipation for the satisfaction of a job well-done? Or, do you resist? If you resist, how do you work with your resistance?

attending to the edges

I’ll admit that a big part of my goal with this quilt is to re-examine my construction methods and to keep asking – does this make sense?  Does that make sense?  And, does it make sense relative to the time that it’s taking?

Over the weekend, checking in with myself during a quiet post-bath rest (one of the most civilized practices that I can recommend), I got that if I attended to the edges of this quilt, it would facilitate the rest.

So, yesterday, in spite of three appointments, necessary emails, and then the usual Monday stuff, I managed to build the lower edge by patchworking a series of (nearly) matching 5×5 inch squares (roughly).

And, thank you St. Francis!!! – I found my two seam rippers, so I can fix an overly emphasized horizontal line in the body of the quilt (only two appointments today).

The bottom edge will also be ripped at one seam because I don’t want to switch two of the blocks.  Instead, I will line them up, all oriented the same way.

puzzle quilting

Scorpios are notoriously jealous, of others and others’ things and so the suggestion to ‘Open’ sits there like a playground mother intoning, “Share”.  I plucked what was handy (calendar page, old scraps of cut-up quilts, wool bits, a page from a book on trusts, retrieved from a huge bin of recycling while working at the law firm last year) – initially to experiment for this week’s class, and then to puzzle this little piece together.

Nautical map is a phototransfer on linen.

Back reveals some of the wool inclusions and some of the stitching.

This little scrap is now about the size of a large Tarot card. I hate to pillage quilts that have been bound and sleeved, but I just hated this one, so pillage I did. Some of it landed in the Scorpio sketch. I have a few more pieces to use elsewhere.  Given my recent sighting of a screech owl around the corner and my sister’s current near-obsession with the bird, I will keep this little piece intact… perhaps to hang with a satin ribbon somewhere.

When butting edges of quilt scraps together and zig-zagging, lo and behold, the pieces do not have to form lines – in fact, little promontories can be stitched readily.  Because piecing otherwise requires making lines (or curves) as one goes, this felt more like putting a puzzle together than like quilting.

Back to Scorpio, and jealousy – I’ll admit to feeling a little envious of all the articulate, thoughtful, resolved, clear, energized statements and dedications many others are making about stepping into 2012.  Maybe it’s because I had a cold all last week, and the new year came in on a headache, but I think I’ll wait til my birthday in February to reflect back on last year and pause to consider the coming year.

 

Turning of the year

The leaves are down, and raked, pretty much.  The hydrangea near the side steps catches the morning sun.  Each lacecap has retained a ring of dessicated petals.  They bob slightly in a breeze, like a spindly offering of gold coins to the coming winter.  Cold has finally descended.

Yesterday I hung a selection of work at the New Art Center.  Even if not a single piece sells, I am grateful for the DEADLINE — it forced me to finish two new quilts.  I am calling one of them “L.A. Circles” because a key fabric was purchased during a visit to Los Angeles this past February.

There are the L.A. circles in the middle, above — a fantastic pink and black burnt velvet.

There are some of the larger pink circles in the lower middle, flipped to their ‘wrong’ side.  The hut on the right incorporates half of a woven-strip-square and uses another sheer fabric for a roof  — a blouse from a thrift store.

Another couple of woven-strip-squares were incorporated on this side.  Many fabrics were overlaid in what seems to be a new way to work (overwork?!!) for me, obscuring the obvious outlines of the squares.  This might be the first quilt that I heavily hand AND machine-quilted.The title “L.A. Circles” emerged quite some time ago – not just because of the burnt velvet, but also because of the solar disks — the sunflower, the stitched linen.  I had fun emphasizing the circle shape with machine stitching.

All tied up

I  happily work on six, seven pieces at a time and then ALL OF A SUDDEN, the need to finish something becomes urgent.

I am the same way with housework… looking with neutral disregard at piles of clutter everywhere until one day, I CAN’T STAND THEM ANYMORE.

This piece was a dream-sketch quilt and it is taking waaaaaaaaaay too long to complete — as are my three Easter Cross quilts, a poppy piece, and a pillow commission.  So forget about the torture depicted in the piece.  The thing torturing me right now is the unfinished state of things.

(but I have been all tied up — kids on break, garden attention-grabbing — just in the last few days I removed the dead inkberry, attended two track meets,

potted up a bunch of sedum, raked the side beds, planted some basil seeds, used garbage-snagged pieces of glass (– someone’s old fridge components picked up yesterday –) to make a casual cold frame,  swept the side porch and readied it for summer morning reading, swept the bluestone, got the houseplants outdoors, grocery shopped twice, cleared up the south bed, made the garage passable again by moving shit around, started a new compost heap)…

During the construction of this quilt, which I am calling “Witness”, the artist Barron Storey — whose work I really love — started a “women and ropes” series.  My “ropes” look more like threads, and lack the paralyzing tension that I had hoped to depict, but this quilt is, nevertheless of a “woman and ropes”. The cloaked witness is partially shown here:

On a lighter note, I am finding this business of having middle-aged eyes is adding a new dimension to design — the looking with glasses on, the looking with glasses off — something I never knew about because I had never worn glasses until middle age.  Last night I noticed that the batik of the Witness’s face, if you blur your eyes, really looks like a face.  I like it when things like that happen.

edges

In spite of earlier declarations, I spent some time machine-stitching the Script Quilt today.  Went gingerly, so as not to break any more needles.  The gessoed section was bowing.  I wanted it more flush with edges, even if raised, due to variety of layers.  The edges are begging for attention.  The edges are where we come undone.  The edges are where we meet the world.  I am tired today.  Very very tired.  Feels like a soul-tired, not a body-tired.