Laughing Dog Arts

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Within the Stream

The Seasons--The Rain  2002
Look at me!  Blogging twice in one month!  I thought I'd show you something I have been working on over the past year.  A friend had requested a wall quilt from me.  Years ago she had commissioned the one above (sorry for the lousy photo, it is the only one I have, taken before I went digital)  She wanted another one, the same size, but depicting more of a wintery feel.
 She indicated the colors she wanted with little colorful folded papers and knitted swatches shown above, and described the feeling she hoped I could portray.  She wrote: "The idea of light /darkness continues to be important to me.  With this theme, 'Within the Stream of Providence'.  A feeling of a spiral, with a simplicity of form and color with a sense of movement.  Deeper tonalities for winter."


Armed with her thoughts on theme, and her colored papers for reference, I began pulling fabrics.  I used only my own hand dyed stash, they seemed perfect for my needs.


Charlie supervised the process and generously held down my cut fabric wedges.  I freely cut similarly shaped, varying sized fabric pieces and laid them down, over lapping their raw edges, on top of a layer of batting topped with a layer of fusible interfacing.  It almost fit on top of my tall library table, but I needed my ironing board space also.  This was supposed to end up as a 36"X68" size wall quilt, so of course it had to be made larger, leaving room to cut off and even up the edges.

I spent many hours choosing fabrics and arranging them in a flowing colorway.  The top was the darker area and I tried to meld the colors towards lighter, sun splashed area as I reached the lower zones.

I was imagining an ocean flow, caught during the change from stormy to the return of sun splashed calm, with one rolling wave that was my interpretation of her theme of spiraling.

With the fusible interfacing underneath, I was able to fuse my raw edged fabrics down when I was happy with the flow, and move the piece to my design wall so I could get a different view.   There are bits of other works that can be seen around the edges, try to ignore those.  You can see the ribbon I pinned down to show me the area where I wanted to enhance the spiraling wave flow.

Within the Stream  2012

I worked on this off and on for a year, although there was a lot of off time.  This past week I finally made time to make a label for it, and mailed it off to my friend.

close up showing the dense free motion stitching using variegated thread I used to hold all the raw edge fabrics down.

I used a pillowcase style  backing application using an old sheet that I dyed to match with the front colors.  My friend called me soon after she received it and said, "It is fine!"  She loved it.  I had not shared any photos of work in progress with her so she didn't know what to expect.  She pointed out how different my style was in this one compared to the earlier one.  She thought it had a more collaged look to it, almost like it was made of paper.  Which is funny, seeing as I now work mainly with mixed media, collage and paper.

I'm glad to have that piece out of the studio but now am wondering what I shall do next.  This is normally my most productive studio time, in the winter.  I shall ponder the next big thing.  In the meantime, I am working in my journals and making little books.    I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my work process.  Till next time, 

Be well.
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Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

You have been a very busy lady...I do enjoy the color choices and I did feel the colors of winter. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

yoborobo said...

Wow! I love the colors, and the feeling of movement. Like a wintry wind! :) xox

audrey said...

Wow, Jan, that was a BIG undertaking. And, no surprise, it is gorgeous. You did a great job. I can see why it took so long. That involves a lot of tedious work and would be very time consuming. I have always wanted to make a quilt but I don't know the first thing about it. With all the projects I want to accomplish, I think I better forget about quilt making.
You no doubt have a great feeling of accomplishment. You should. It is beautiful.
audrey xo

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Very Nice! Its always a worry when you make a piece for someone else. But it sound like you were spot on what she asked for.

Do you feel a sort of let down when a big project is completed?

Robin said...

Wow! I am in awe! It's so beautiful and I LOVED getting to see some of the process you went thru! It really does have a lot of movement and the feel of flickering or dappled sunlight in parts. And I always love spirals!! There is soooooo much stitching!! Must've taken many hours!! You are one talented lady.

Elena said...

OOOH the studio table! Warm smiles. Such a gorgeous piece Jan...loving the pieces I could peek at too. You really are talented and it's great to see you creating again.

Maggi said...

That is so lovely Jan. There is a wonderful sense of movement in it. No wonder your friend was so pleased with it. Perhaps some photos of the books you have been making next. Nice to see that Charlie is being a good assistant.

maddyrose said...

This is one fantastic piece! The colors are beautiful and all of that stitching....that had to take ages to do. How could anyone look at this and not find it absolutely wonderful??

Linda Wildenstein said...

I so love what you did with this piece. The movement, color choices, wow. That is a lot of work. Oma Linda

Corrine at said...

Fantastic Jan. Love the motion you created with the shapes and then the dense stitching. Your friend I am sure is thrilled. So cold here so staying inside and working inside is a good thing. xox

nacherluver said...

A beautiful labor of love.

Karen S said...

Truly beautiful!

Robbie said...

It is wonderful!!!!!! Good for you!!! Now you'll blog more again!!!

Emma said...

I love the colors & the movement in the quilt, you've captured it perfectly. What a huge piece tho! I'd like to see some books too, just to check i'm on the right track with mine ;)