I’m thrilled to share with you (again, but in more detail) Conversations I, which has been juried in to a World of Beauty, the competition exhibit at International Quilt Festival 2012 in Houston, Texas. As usual, the jurors utterly mystified me with their selection: I entered both my portrait of Joshua (which I personally think is the best piece I’ve ever made, seen here) and this quilt, and this is the one that got in! I am thrilled to have a quilt in Houston which is–let’s be honest here–just about the biggest, most important show there is in the quilt world!
Conversations I, juried in to International Quilt Festival-Houston 2012
A couple Aprils ago, I had the great good fortune to be invited to teach by the Arizona Quilt Guild–it was a fabulous visit. I discovered that it would cost the same to fly via Los Angeles (I’m in Maine, on the other side of the US for those reading from other countries) as to fly direct. If I stopped en route in L.A., I could visit my beloved Sister-in-Law (sister of my heart!), so that’s what I did! When she asked what I wanted to do, I promptly replied: go to the Getty! I had seen photos of the Getty Museum before, including my friend Deborah Boschert’s trip there. The lines, angles and shadows from the tables absolutely enchanted me, so I took a TON of photos. You can see the FOUR (!!!) blogposts from that trip here-1, here-2, here-3 and here-4 if you really want an armchair visit!
I combined two of my photos of the tables and chairs to come up with this composite image…. I also really wanted that stark contrast between stone and sky, but since the chairs were in a courtyard surrounded by buildings, I took artistic license to put my table and chairs somewhere they weren’t in real life!
The shadows were one of my favorite things, but it took a few attempts to get them right. For the quilt, I began with white fabric which I dyed to match the colors in my photos (Thank you, Carol Soderlund…. using my color swatches and formulas and learning from your class did EXACTLY what I wanted with the cloth!). I had intended to use a sheer for the shadows, fused to the beige “stone” paving. But it looked like I stuck something on….and one of the things I liked in the shadows was the seamless transition from beige to dark. So I decided I would use ONLY thread, stitched very closely, to create the shadows, as seen in this photo:
I had thought I was done with this quilt when I took this photo, but decided there just wasn’t the stark contrast that I wanted in the shadows from the table and chairs–if you look at the photo at the top of this post and this photo, you can see the difference in the shadows.
So, on to Plan “C”! Yes, I did test, but it was pretty nerve-wracking to take out the Derwent Inktense pencils and darken the shadows:
You can see what a difference there is in this photo. I darkened the shadows under the foreground chair first. Notice that there are two pencils to the right of the chair, and just off the edge of the quilt a paintbrush.
VERY carefully, so that the pencil-ink didn’t bleed into the stripes of sunlight, I pencilled in with the Inktense pencils (see the pencils and sharpener) in the shadow stripes. Then VERY carefully I held a paintbrush wet with water in my right hand and my hair dryer (turned on) in my left. I would brush a small section of the penciled area, then zap it with the hair dryer to allow the paint to intensify by wetting, the dry before it spread into the sunlight stripes. I only had one small bleed! This photo shows that about the top half of the shadows have been wet-then-dried, while the lower part of the table’s shadows are still just pencilled on–not yet wet-and-dried. I sure was glad when that was done, because I could have wrecked the whole thing!
I also needed to think about how to create the shaded side of the wood slats on the chairs and table. There is only so think one can cut strips of cloth to fuse. And I didn’t really want to totally mash the quilt by darkening the sides of the slats with thread stitching (as I did in the shadows under the table and chairs). So I used a brown (or was it red?) Pigma pen and wrote words relating to the visit:
Detail, Conversations I
So that’s the story….the conversation between me and the cloth and thread and pencils and quilt, but it is just one of the conversations from that wonderful day.