Sunday, September 23, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

Coming Alive

Yes, it's been a while.  Life became quite a lively adventure in August but more about that in a later post.  I am catching up with a project that actually was completed at the very beginning of August for our local challenge group.  For this project we had to use a photo or drawing as inspiration and make sure we used some yellow as well.  Since yellow is one of my favorite colors, that was not going to be a challenge for me. When I finally got around to thinking about this challenge, I began by paging through my photo file of images that might someday be useful in quilt and came across a picture I had taken of a grackle that I found dead near our bird feeder--perhaps having been blown into the house during a storm the evening before.  From a distance these birds look basically black with iridescent overtones.  But up close they are magnificent.

There seemed to be a bit of yellow between the shoulders so I decided to use these colors in a quilt. At first I planned it to be an abstract, but I had wanted to do more with exploded shapes and so I played around with an exploded bird shape. Here it is in progress on my working wall:
I began with a black bird and as I sliced the black, I sliced a color along with it. Deciding on background colors was a bit tricky and then transferring it to the background was even trickier, but, as you can see, I managed it.

All of this was done with a raw-edged, non-fused technique--only fabric and thread, no glue--and so the edges will fray a bit but I am liking this look.  Turning the edges under would have defined the edge too strongly for this piece and the fuzzed edges seem to work. 
However, there are limits to the fuzziness. Originally for the clouds I had used a white Kona cotton with a slightly more open weave than my usual Pima cotton and this is what happened:

All the Kona is gone in the final piece, replaced by Pima, and will not be used again in my raw-edged applique.

I quilted the piece with a mixture of hand and machine stitching and then the final decision had to be made about the edges. By this time I had decided to kill two birds with one stone (sorry--couldn't resist!) and enter this little quilt, which is about 24 by 20 inches, in our local guild's challenge that will hang in our biennial exhibit that opens today. This challenge was to make a wall hanging that depicted a favorite saying. and so the quilt was named "Come Alive" from a quotation by the civil rights activist Howard Thurman that I have hanging on my wall:  "Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go and do that because what the world needs is people who have come alive."  If they were giving out prizes for the longest saying, I would certainly win that prize. 

In light of the title I decided to add a bit more energy by trying a wavy edge and then seeing if I could face that edge. 

And, if you haven't already flown away to another site, thanks for the company!