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A new art quilt: Joshua

At long last!  There has been precious little time for making art quilts over the past few years.  What with family chaos, the hurly burly of every-day-life, writing a book and making all the samples, marketing the book, travel-teaching and whatnot, I’ve can scarcely recall the last large art quilt I made just for the sake of making it. Here’s a detail (you’ll have to keep reading to see the rest!  yes, I’m evil <GRIN>):

Last autumn, Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison of Dinner at Eight Artists invited me to submit a quilt for consideration in a juried invitational show called “Beneath the Surface.”  (Note:  a list of accepted artists is on their blogpost dated March 22…what fine company!) That means you make a quilt to theme and size (36 wide by 48 tall), and it still might not get in.  My first thought was…I have too much on my plate.  Then I realized the due-date (which always gets me in gear) was early enough in the year that I might actually have time to do it!

My first thoughts were underground waterways, roots, rocks, critters that burrow.  Then, thanks to the influence of my friend Kathy who loves the sea, I thought about under the sea.   But then I thought, no, everyone will do that…. I want to do a portrait!  Then I realized, it could fit the theme:  What is under the surface of a teenage American male?

I took about 65 photos one evening of my older son playing guitar, which is such an elemental part of who he is.  I selected two:  one for the overall body position, another for the face (angle of head, mouth closed, eyes looking down).  I ended up using a third picture because the proportions of the first two didn’t give me enough of the room for the measurements of the quilt.   Luckily, I finished on time and got in!!!

I’ll share the construction process (I’m always fascinated by how a quilt comes to life, but decided I’d show the results here, THEN show the process because, well, I’m impatient and want to share!) in future blogposts. So, here it is!

I think this may be one of the best quilts I’ve ever done; best of all, Joshua likes it too.  I was worried about the funky batik I used for the guitar neck, but when he saw it he said “If I could find a guitar like that in real life I’d BUY IT!” How cool is that?

My original statement for the quilt was (big surprise) a bit too long, so I’ll repeat all of it here:

What is beneath the surface of a 16 year-old male?  Some things are obvious:  music, food, girls, friends, food, school, guitar, food, video games, movies, girls, friends, food. Others are not so obvious.  There is the man he is becoming:  kind, compassionate, interesting, funny, breathing music in his soul, argumentative, loyal, passionate, tolerant, stubborn, smart, gregarious, curious, honest, loving and loved.   “Mom?  Can you fix me something to eat?”

Thanks to Moore’s Sewing Center (in southern California and online) and Brother International, who are sponsoring the exhibit at the IQA show in Long Beach, California; we are hoping the exhibit will continue on to the big IQA show in Houston in Fall 2010.  Thanks also from me to Iris Karp of MistyFuse for her generous support.  This entire quilt top was made with fused applique…MistyFuse ROCKS!

So far I know these artists have blogged about their quilts in the exhibit:

Those of you who can, I hope you can take pics at Long Beach!  Enjoy, and again thanks to Jamie, Leslie and our sponsors!

28 Responses to “A new art quilt: Joshua”

  1. Elaine P Says:

    My brother actually makes custom electric guitars out of hardwoods, and is a brilliant artist…. Not cheap, but they’re stunningly beautiful. He could probably do something like that for Joshua. Just a thought. 🙂

  2. Deb Kopeschny Says:

    This is beautiful in so many ways. I relate to this so much – I have a son the same age. He plays guitar too. There is a lot going on underneath the surface that they want to share but are wanting to be more independant so don’t. How I treasure the moments when he opens up and gives us a glimpse of the Adult he is becoming. deb

  3. Frauke Says:

    This is such a peaceful quilt – amazing! Congrats to that quilt, and congrats to a son who lets you take 65 pictures of him ;-)) Wish I could see the quilt in reality! Have fun at the exhibition, Frauke

  4. Diane D. Says:

    Very nice, Sarah! Glad you finally got a chance to play.

  5. Norma Schlager Says:

    It’s a wonderful quilt on all levels! I love the way you did his hair.

  6. Vicki W Says:

    It’s a beautiful quilt that perfectly fits into the theme.

  7. Ann E. Ruthsdottir Says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! I agee. I do think it is the best you have done so far. His hair is amazing.
    Wishing you JOY on your JOURNEY,

  8. LoieJ Says:

    Terrific. I like the slight slump of the shoulders and the foot sticking out.

  9. Rachel Parris Says:

    This is wonderful! You nailed the 16-year-old spirit. It could be my grand nephew. I am truly honored to be in your company in this exhibit.

  10. Donna Keller Says:

    I love the entire quilt but the hair is my favorite part!
    Awesome Sarah.

  11. Debby H. Says:

    Wonderful quilt and yes, it’s been worth the wait! It’s as if you can see him growing right there within the quilt! Awesome job of course and wonderful exposure for you I’m sure! You’re just going to get more and more busy so hang on!

  12. Jan Says:

    Just beautiful. I think I should send this post to my nephew, same age, same guitar. You done good! I love the hair too, I had to click on it twice so I could see all the close up detail.

  13. Carole Says:

    This is so-ooo good Sarah Ann… and while it is a spectacular piece of art… to me what makes it over the top is the fact your son actually sat for the pictures and that he LIKES it!

  14. Robin Koehler Says:

    What lies beneath is the love and admiration you have for each other in that you each gave what was necessary to create a lovely work of art.

  15. Amby Says:

    Love the quilt Sarah

  16. Leigh-Anne Crooke Says:

    Awesome – it really captures the essence of your son playing the electric guitar

  17. Barbara Says:

    Just lovely. You may be right about it being your best. Love the hair and the feeling it projects.

  18. Gisela Says:

    It’s amazing! I’ll bet you’re son is soooo proud!

  19. Suzi Says:

    Beautiful quilt – Beautiful Boy! Takes my breath away!

  20. Lisa Says:

    Sarah – this is terrific – I love the overall effect and your stitiching looks perfect (as usual)

  21. Blue Says:

    Sarah, your quilt is wonderful. What a treasure for your son.

  22. liz Kettle Says:

    Beautiful Sarah!

  23. Katy S Says:

    Beautiful! I love the “pose.”

  24. Heidi Says:

    Awesome quilt .

  25. Barb Forrister Says:

    It’s so interesting to learn everyone’s interpretation of “Beneath The Surface.” They are all so different. I look forward to seeing all our pieces in the show!
    Barb Forrister

  26. Judith Says:

    It really is a very successful quilt. I look forward to the post on how you did it.

  27. Art and Quilting in Camden » Blog Archive » Joshua, the quilt in progress, #1 Says:

    […] short while ago, I was able to share the finished results of my most recent “big” (36 x 48 inches) quilt, a portrait of my son Joshua.  I love […]

  28. Art and Quilting in Camden » Blog Archive » D Minor Harmonized Says:

    […] of Joshua a little over a year ago (most of the posts are in April and May 2010….beginning  here.   Well, now you get to hear him play his latest […]