Sunday, June 1, 2008


My piece took several unexpected turns. The process was a bit disconnected and I think there are several ideas here which come together in a somewhat cohesive quilt, but it would be interesting to explore them on their own.

I began by gathering fabrics and I made some sketches. I've been intrigued by book arts lately and I thought I'd incorporate that in some way.

 water clean

I created a simple accordion book with two layers of fused fabrics. I cut each page separately and stamped various words on the pages. I brainstormed things that you might do with water and I just kept stamping the words until I ran out of ideas. Then I zigzagged the pages together and pressed them into an accordion format.

water unbound 

I used sequin waste as a stencil and painted the circles onto the surface of the book (and the rest of the quilt).

Originally, I was thinking of creating an abstract landscape inspired by my parents home on Lake Ontario. I even asked my dad to collect some smooth stones from the shore and bring them when they visited last month. The book concept took me a little away from the landscape.

But as the piece was in progress on my design wall I began to see some of the landscape elements I had originally sketched. The lacy bit on the bottom is a bit like foamy waves on the shore.

water closeup

The striped fabric really makes me think of a sunset with just those few lines of orangy red mixed among all those watery cool colors.. The embroidered x's and the tiny seed beads at the top could be sky and stars. The arch could be a firmament.

That made me think of the familiar words from the creation story in the Book of Genesis.

God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Then I wished I would have done a piece all based on that bit of scripture. (Maybe I'll do that for the Quiltart Journal project. Participants are required to make a quilt based on one or more of the elements: earth, air, water, fire.)

I like the composition of the quilt. I've made several other quilts with that altar/shrine format. I also really like the variety of textures, fabrics and surface design. I think the book is cool, though I'm not completely sure it fits.


Kristin said...

I like that this could be the start of a more in-depth exploration. I'd love to see what you could do with the scripture and the water element.

Back to the landscape, I see a house there and can imagine that the book might be a diary left behind after a summer vacation at the lake -- and there's another direction you could take this in....

Joanne S said...

When I opened to this image, I hoped it was yours. I can see a new depth in the work as you are taking the simple shapes and stitches a step or two further, with layers.

Your work has always thoughtfully incorporated text and this continues here with the words and the "book".

Karen said...

Deborah, this is the kind of abstraction I would hope to do. It is really lovely, and conveys the feeling of water perfectly

Diane said...

This piece instantly said "Deborah!" to me. I admire how you can illustrate a theme and continue to include your personal motifs and still explore new territory. I so enjoy watching your creative journey.

I also like the concept of adding a book! You know I have a big history with making artist books, so this sort of thing really speaks to me. I like that you've used the book as an opportunity to expand on different water ideas. And I'd love to see where you would take this if it turns out to be the springboard for more work.

Pam said...

it's wonderful Deborah - can't wait to see it in person. PP

StegArt said...

This is such a fun piece. I love all the words you came up with that relate to water.

Gerrie said...

Oh, how Deborah is this piece. I recognized the shrine theme right away.Complexity of materials, simplicity of theme and design — very well done.

I would love to see you expand on this for the journal quilt!

Karen said...

Deborah, Instantly seeing this I knew it was yours! To be able to utilize such an array of design ideas and have them work cohesively is a true mark of talent! beautiful.

Terry said...

Everyone else has covered all the wonderful things about this piece. I so love that shrine/alter/totem form and was reminded of something the guest critic at our last critique group said about symmetry--that designs that are *almost* symmetrical are so much stronger and more interesting than perfect symmetry. I love that about this piece. You have known just where to unbalance the design, catch it up again and then give it just a little tippy tension again. Like that bit of lace at the bottom. Terrific piece!

Nikki said...

I am so enjoying learning everyone's style and being able to guess the creator of each piece before reading the name.

I love everything that has gone into this quilt. The scripture reference is especially meaningful. I'm excited to see where you go with all these ideas.

Françoise said...

I agree with everyone. It's very Deborah, and it's a wonderful piece!
And I like the little book, it fits perfectly.

Brenda said...

"Genesis" was also on my short list of possible themes but you were way ahead of me Deborah. I love how you have incorporated the accordion book to make this an interactive work.

Helen Conway said...

The book is indeed seriously cool! I have been having a little digression into journal/book making and was concerned I would move too far away from quilts in a fog of distrcation. Thanks for the reminder that things can be combined. Can you post pictures of your shrine quilts all together on your blog so we can see them as a series?