Sunday, July 22, 2012

Finding My Voice

Its been a while since I posted anything - and indeed its take a while to get my head around the larger world of quilting and fiber arts.  I have certainly bee overwhelmed by the complexity of it all and how much there is to see and experience.  I think the major challenge was asking myself where my own voice was int he midst of it all.  And while I certainly haven't found all of that, I have found some small corner of it that I enjoy and can relate to. I have made a beginning at finding some few skills and a comfort zone.  I find that I am heavily influenced by all the embroidery I have done.  Karen talks about a quilt being something you can wrap yourself in - or wrap a child in for comfort.  And I get that; I really do.  I see the ladies int eh quilt guild turning out blanket sized quilts so casually and I really admire that.  But when I sit down to think about what I really want to do myself my brain automatically defaults to what I can hold in my hand and manage with a needle.

  It was only a matter of time before I found applique and wonderfully intricate small things.  My first discovery was Shelley Swanland and her technique called Cathedral Windows.  Its base on an old technique form the 30's but way more updated and versatile - a way of layering and folding fabric that gives color layers and tactile possibilities that are really exciting.  So after a test piece or two I found her little flower "twilt" (that I donated to the AAQI) and a framework she did for a large centerpiece that was just too intriguing not to try.  So it started out as something to do for that frame.  A piece for my daughter to celebrate her new apartment.  A hamsa hand for good luck and prosperity.  Well... simple is how it always starts, isn't it.  I found colors that felt like her and the it just had to have more - like shisha mirrors and embroidery - and then tassels - and after that bells on the bottom.  And finally I got around to that frame.  Fro something only 14 inches wide it certainly has a lot to say for itself.

Well - are we there yet? No, not quite.  After a grand and glorious project like this the only logical question is "What next?"  And with such an open question of course the Universe by way of the Interwebz will, of course, be quick to oblige.  I saw an odd posting of a detail from a quilt that someone had taken at a quilt show.  So sad she didn't have the name of the artist but it gave me a good idea.  And with a few adjustments (of course) it became a dragonfly that I used as a front panel for a carryall for my cousin.  She's going to be traveling here and there - doing readings, giving lectures, being out on weekends - she needed something special to carry her things in - something really uniquely her - and she loves dragonflies.  Then not to leave anything out I gave it flowers from that first flower pattern.  And of course the mirrors in the flower centers - and of course all kinds of embroidery.  This caused Phillip to describe it as"yet another Cistine Chapel project" and yes - he's right.  I mounted it it as the front flap on a bag with lots of pockets inside and out.  made out of sturdy faux suede upholstery fabric so it will go the extra mile and not fray or break. 

But once its done - and shipped - and she has it - and she was so pleased with it that she got all teary eyed - I am once again faced with the question "What next?"  Since I've given my first 3 away, maybe its time to make one for me.  and lately I've been looking at lots of pictures of peacocks...   well....

Each time I do one of these smaller projects I learn things and get more certain of what I'm doing.  I feel less at sea and more in control.  Those larger projects are getting designed and drawn up.  I have them tucked in my sketch book and I'm saving back fabric for them as I find it.  They will come in time.  But for right now I'm being all happy with my little tempests in teapots.  And we shall see what kind of tempest that peacok will provide

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