I spent several mornings last week creating decorative pieces for students playing Native Americans in a local Peter Pan production… Afterwards, I decided to continue using black fabric with Heat Bond to create this week’s Journal Quilt. In keeping with Native traditions, I allowed a dream to dictate my choice… last week’s dreamscape produced a black bear. I cannot tell you how many Novembers and Decembers found me wishing that I was a bear, so that I could purposefully, rightfully load up on carbs and fat in anticipation of a long, long nap!
Journal Quilt Week 3
Bears are associated with the North, with winter, and with wisdom and introspection. Native Americans call them the “Keepers of Dreamtime”. Their energy is considered feminine, both because of the womb-like cave of hibernation and the duration of mothering time for cubs (as long as 7 years). We have so much snow this winter, it’s no surprise that Bear Energy is strong!
(To satisfy my Journal Quilt Rule of carrying over a fabric from the previous week, I used strips of yellow-ish linen — found on the right side of the bear).
And speaking of bears, for a long time I’ve known that the fourth quilt in a series on global warming would have polar bears in it. The thought of polar bears drowning as they swim in search of ice is heartbreaking. The first three quilts in this series featured hot, saturated colors, with wavy lines signaling heat and circles representing suns and unrelenting radiation. I am not accustomed to working with the pale palette that I’ve collected for the polar imagery and find it challenging — which probably means this is a good exercise.
I am also trying to sort out a more streamlined way to go from the initial collage-phase to the finished quilt. If I piece almost everything, I get bogged down by the slow tempo and lose much of the initial feel of the design. Someday I may just slide a big piece of canvas underneath and gesso the thing together! My recent idea is to create four smaller quilts that I will join.
To satisfy the revised rule of including one fabric from the previous week’s quilt, I used the navy blue with white dots. As it happens, given that I found the little house all stitched up and ready to go on the floor — I also satisfied the supplanted rule of using fabric from there. The piece is machine and hand-quilted and about 10″ x 13″. It is not bound. The backing of the quilt was laid down right side up, and left exposed for about 1/4″ all around. I am still trying to find a way to not bind everything that I make.
One of the Faith Quilts is now pieced. It turns out the canvas that I fed through my inkjet and printed the collage onto does not take heat well — it warped when I tried to iron the seams. I don’t like the quilt, partly because I don’t like the feel of this plastic-y canvas, partly for design reasons, but I won’t let that stop me from finishing it. Picture to come. I can’t help but see the creative process as parallel to where I am at with faith/optimism/thoughts of the future. I am also working on rearranging THOSE pieces.
This week, I will be helping my neighbor sew costumes for the elementary school’s production of Peter Pan. It is good to be in the company of other sewers! She brought out a huge box of threads that a neighbor had given her (when the neighbor’s tailoring dad died) and we both just oohed and aahed over it for a good long while. How many people can you do that with? And, it gets better. Not only did we share this moment which few could have understood, she offered to share her booty!! I will sparingly pick a few spools — the family of greens was particularly tempting. A truly generous and completely unexpected gesture…
Also, it suits my poor garment-making skills to create clothing that need not stand up to wear and only has to look good at a distance. Ruth is so skilled that she is (to some degree) casting pearls before swine. Not that these young thespians are swine, mind you, but Wendy’s nightgown certainly doesn’t need french-tailored seams. Nor does Mrs. Darling need a reconstructed Victorian embroidered gown made with silk organza. It does my heart good to know that even someone with Ruth’s skills will resort to a glue gun when schedule dictates.