I am thrilled to share that my wholecloth quilt, “Morning Breeze” received a Second Place ribbon at Pacific International Quilt Festival last week! I can’t wait to get the judges’ comments back-I am much more interested in learning how I can improve than I am the kudos though.
This is one of my largest quilts at 49″ x 69″. It is my belief that if you make a large quilt you’d better have something to say! I have posted some of these photos before but I will include them here again. I know my readers are visual and they need photos to keep the interest up-am I right??
This quilt actually gave me a lot of angst. It took me 6 months to complete Morning Breeze but not because I was actually quilting that whole time. I was working outside of my normal box and I had to think and sketch and quilt and fester, then rip a little, then think, sketch, quilt again. I received valuable input from artistic friends but you know, at the end of the day, it’s just you and your quilt. You have to decide which way to take it.
I really wanted to get outside of the box, literally. I decided to move away from the “center medallion+wide borders+quilt-it-to-death=Quilt” process. I love that look too, but I felt drawn in another direction.
I’ve been kind of itching to do this for awhile, but when I went to the Studio Art Quilt Associates Conference in Santa Fe last April, I volunteered to be “voice” coached by Leni Wiener in one of the breakout sessions. There was quite a bit of prep involved: submitting an extensive visual portfolio, answering thought provoking questions and writing about how I felt about my work and where I wanted to go. The idea was to help me find my artistic “voice”.
Leni skillfully walked me through the process and helped me realize that I wanted to head in a more personal and artistic direction. She suggested that I consider moving away from the geometry of the center medallion. That resonated with me…and scared me. I knew what the subject of my next piece was going to be, but I no idea how to approach it without boxes!
My yard with its native plantings provides daily entertainment and inspiration. I wanted to capture the magic of my morning stroll. It’s about movement and texture, birds, butterflies and dragonflies. I also was weary of making whole cloth quilts (which I love) that looked like a blank slate if you got 6′ away and the light was not just right.
So the thought was born to use white sateen and black thread on the front and black sateen with light gray silk thread on the back. I tried a sample and yes, you could actually see the motifs from 20′ away! But what a challenge-my tension had to be per-fect all the way through or it would show. I used wool batting to further emphasize the quilting.
After countless sketches and significant angst, I was ready to start, confident that I had a plan. Hah! I changed that plan many times! I always feel insecure about not having formal art training. Surely Real Artists can tell!
Work was slow because I had so many changes. Of course I ended up with impossible amounts of work to do right before the deadline. I sincerely did not think it was humanly possible to finish that quilt in time for the deadline. I still marvel that I finished in time.
I was only able to spend one day at the Pacific International Quilt Show. I rarely hang around my quilt to hear what people say-I just don’t. But as luck would have it, there was a single chair set up directly catty corner across the aisle from my quilt. It was odd too because there are never chairs among the quilts. And besides, I was tired-walking a major show is very aerobic!
So I sat down and listened and watched. That was such a treat and I’m glad I did. I loved that people enjoyed the quilt-they experienced it, they talked about it, moved farther away, then closer in, they discussed it among themselves.
Isn’t that what we all want-viewers to “hear” what our work is saying? They heard me-what a delight! The ribbon is very nice, but to have viewers enjoy it and “listen” to my quilt-that is a Gift.