This fragment surfaced during the flood clean up. I had set it aside to reincorporate into a larger piece, but when I saw it again, it looked complete. Added the background grid, some of the up and down stitching over the black and zig-zagged the edges. The wonderful house in black outline and tree came from a pair of Capris.
Just added another poppy to the Cement Sack quilt. This one is ON TOP of the tulle.
Transferred two black and white xeroxes onto coffee-stained muslin. The trombone did not come out so well, but a trident on the same page did. Both are in the upper left.
Here is that figure that has shown up in the Witness quilt and the wet-paper-basement-calamity collage. She is the one who dreams, who has seen, and who seeks to go beyond all that lodges in the past. She is part of all of us. This recent posture is one of burdened grief, but she has other moods as well.
Perhaps “moods” is the wrong word — “patterns of consciousness” more like.
And speaking of drugs (the opiate reference in the title), here is the holder of my current drug of choice — a coffee mug! Suitably chipped, stained, and very much in use.
A busy day of gardening and travel ahead. A good thing. A change of perspective and some fresh air will definitely do me good.
Busy day. Photographing quilts. A new nail makes this wall of brick a possible site for pictures. I have to wait till the morning sun has gone.
This quilt was made in 2006 after the sudden death of Steve Irwin, better known as the Crocodile Hunter. With young boys in the house, we of course had enjoyed his enthusiastic interactions with animals.
I have made several quilts in the Sanctuary series, most with a central house or door. In this one, the door represents the opening into the mystery of death. The color, to my eye anyway, suggests comfort, coolness, reprieve — sanctuary.
Fabric notes — the aqua palm on black, upper right, was cut from an incredibly well-made gathered 50’s style skirt. It was made in Indonesia. The purple shell spiral is batik and was the second purchase I ever made on ebay. The aqua-dotted print with orange sea creatures seemed especially appropriate for such a nature lover.
This week’s pillow commission required extreme care. It required symmetry and therefore measuring. It required keeping fabric that wanted to crinkle, flat. It required being able to FIND the doily. My iron had to be pristine at all times.
There was one minor flaw in the doily — the round hole shown above. It wasn’t that noticeable until one placed the doily on the coral-colored silk, and then it was VERY noticeable. I didn’t want to use a glue-product like WonderUnder to adhere a teeny piece of muslin under the hole, so I stitched it carefully — without turning under the edges because that would have required enlarging the hole.
Long ago, I learned that white-glove production is not for me. Professional curtain-making was a casualty of this recognition. I tried it briefly. Loved the design challenges, fabric selections, and money, but couldn’t stand the sweat and worry. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you haven’t seen what schmutz on an iron can do to a fully-assembled white linen Roman shade — in about four seconds.
I am hoping that my small quilting stitches don’t detract too much from the beautiful embroidery of the poppy.
The process of working on this pillow has heightened my appreciation for working congruently… working in a style, palette, and scale that is in accord with one’s basic wiring and temperament.
For instance, do you plan or jump in and clean up your messes afterwards? Are you a designer who makes sketches or who doesn’t? And if you do, are those sketches made prior to taking a stitch and/or during construction? Do crooked lines bother you? Do straight lines?
What do you do if you are an improv quilter and suddenly must meet specific demands imposed by a commission? (this week’s rub, for me). And, given your basic disposition, how do you tolerate being on a learning curve?
There are fiber artists out there, by the way, doing unbelievably beautiful things with antique linens. For an exquisite use of heirloom cloth, please visit Kaye Turner’s blog.
Yesterday, when I finally got back to ‘doing what I love’, I found myself stymied again, because this huge Global Warming quilt will not let itself be resolved.
Pitbullish about its size, I am resisting the temptation to break it into smaller pieces. I could easily create four smaller quilts. It keeps morphing this way and that and I truly can’t tell if it’s getting closer to resolution or not. Last night I lay in bed counting on my fingers how many BED SIZED simple geometric quilts I could have made with the time I’ve spent on this.
What I have decided therefore, is, to piece it up in its unresolved state and then to ‘paint’ with applique to bring the thing into harmony.
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.
I keep going back and forth on this project. Should I complete it as intended (roughly 7′ x 4′), or break it into sections and move the thing along?
This little section (photo above) floated upstairs today and looks complete to me.
But I’m not quite willing to give up the big design yet.
Because I am not a planner, at this stage of production I often find ‘log jams’, or areas where the rectangular pieced sections are not lining up and where I am not willing to chop or add to accommodate completing a rectangle.
There have been quilts that undergo enormous changes at this phase… quilts where I find myself swapping out some of the larger chunks. This has been partially in service of making the rectangles fit (think “Tetris”) and partially because it can be fun to see how things look when the design is a little less conscious.
This particular piece, however, has been in formation for well over a year and I am eager to get to the final stretch. And, I am feeling a strange loyalty to the design as I have constructed it.
The edges will pose problems. My plan is to use some of the cool-toned patterns (the Anna Maria Horner large blue floral and a shimmery green near-solid) to fill in and frame the edges where I need another inch or two. I will TRY to avoid the temptation to keep piecing/adding complexity.
What will be fun is to create a slide show of the quilt in its many phases and see how it has changed over four seasons.
For the finish — instead of using a whole cloth back and pinning the entire thing up and shoving it through my Bernina with a great deal of cussing, I think I’ll quilt it in sections. I plan to use some overlays on the back, perhaps even with raw edges, to connect up.
Given that one of the problems with this piece is its scale — I really don’t love working this large — then it is obvious that if I want to continue producing pieces of this size, I have to figure out how to do it in a way that works with my style, studio space, equipment, and temperament.
Which reminds me that my word for 2010 is ‘congruence’.
I am so, so eager to find both the style of working and the subjects & images that really line up with who it is that stands with the needle in her hand, with the scissors at her side, and with her particular demons at her back.
Here is the word added to the small Journal Quilt. I think of ‘freedom’ as something robust and tawny (who knows why), and yet here it is in a whispery pink. . . freedom as something subtle and fragile.
This is the finished piece.
The moon gave me a few problems. The chenille vine upholstery fabric was thick, and seamed, even thicker. Next time, lay flat and don’t seam? In any case, to cover the bump, I added lace. And, to balance things out a little, I tore some of the blue netting.
The lower lunar section reveals an inkjet fabric print of an antique map of the constellations.
“Free” has been on my mind in the wake of handling all of my free fabrics. “Free” is on my mind thinking about what holds me back. Something about spring sets a little piece of me free. So grateful.