Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Finding Time When There Is None

In the midst of all my busyness during April I made the mistake of looking at the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge. The focus was on the work of Andy Goldsworthy, who may be at the top of my all time favorite artists.  The challenge was to use, as he does, natural elements to create rhythm and pattern against a background that is "exciting and different." I had to do something in honor of Goldsworthy.

For a long time I had had in my mind to try creating a quilt using sticks or twigs of some kind to see, first of all, how I could do it, and then how it held up. As I walked through our fields in the late fall last year, I poked about in the stands of dead goldenrod (and no, it doesn't cause allergies; it's the ragweed that blooms about the same time as the goldenrod that is the culprit. Ragweed flowers are green and low to the ground and hardly visible, but goldenrod is a showoff so it gets blamed even though its pollen is so sticky it doesn't travel much at all)  and was surprised at how sturdy the stems seemed. So I harvested an armload and put it on the back porch. As the weeks passed and I didn't find time to follow my inspiration, the pile was moved to the basement and shifted from spot to spot and forgotten.

The challenge reminded me of that goldenrod, certainly nicely dried now, unlike other twigs that would be oozing spring sap. Much to my surprise I found it, neatly stored on top of a cabinet, and so I began to think about a background.

I decided to try to capture the feeling of frosted leaf litter on the woods floor in late fall so I began to piece a background. I could have fused the pieces and would have been done much more quickly. I could have machine appliqued the pieces, but I decided to machine piece these pointed shapes, which meant set-in seams. The first couple went fast and looked good, so I was encouraged and once I started with this method I was stuck. As time got tighter, the seams seemed to take longer.  Stress changes perspective. But finally it was finished.
I cut the goldenrod and began working out a pattern. Wanting to add a color variation, I rescued some last year's hosta flower stems from my attempts to straighten up the garden and those became the short light pieces. I attached them to the already quilted background with several loops of thin thread near each end, and there it was. Even though it was not yet faced, I posted it on the challenge site before the deadline!  I liked it but somehow felt it wasn't integrated enough.

I left it on my working wall and decided one evening to couch some gold pearl cotton in meandering pattern between the patterns of twigs.

And I like it quite a bit more.  

And if you are still reading, thanks for the company.


quilthexle said...

WOW - you did the background with inset seams? Amazing! How interesting to use dried plant parts, and I totally agree about the gold pearl cotton. It really enhances your design!

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

I like the pearl cotton gives it a little something...a zing as MJ would say.

I admire your willingness to jump into a challenge like that....honestly I would have no clue as to where to start. I'm intimidated just looking at his art.

I agreed to do a challenge due in Aug....the challenge is what does Power Suit mean to me....still I have no idea....guess it means nothing to me...LOL