Sunday, June 1, 2008

New World

For two years now I have been taking photos of water and collecting them. I don't know why, other than that I love water and I am constantly surprised by the variation in colour that I see.
As soon as our challenge was revealed to be "Water" I knew that I would use my photos. At first I thought they would just be references and I planned to make a quilt that was just an image of water made up of layers of applique. Then Terry had her article published in Quilting Arts and I bought the magazine and opened it to see... the exact thing I planned to make, already made by someone else! Poo.

The last month has been a very busy and stressful one for me and my husband (we have a new business) and, as the month passed, I found myself delaying work on the quilt and only giving it minutes of thought here and there. But those minutes added up and eventually I had a plan - to make a quilt about water using only photos of real water. I printed seven of my photos on to inkjet printable poplin (because at $8 a sheet that was as much printable fabric as I was prepared to buy!!). It was not easy to choose which of the photos to use and I realised as soon as I saw the first print that the colours were very subdued and I wasn't going to get any intensity. At that point I went all Zen and decided that whatever the printer gave me was what I would use. I didn't have the time or resources to play around!

My favourite of the photos (the brilliant turquoise) was taken on a trip to The Barrier Reef last year when my daughter had her first scuba dive. This quilt would be about that experience. She was so excited that day. I have rarely seen my reserved and cool daughter so openly bubbling and fizzing!
New World

Although I have a passion for saturated and intense colour, the printed fabrics were so quiet that I figured I wouldn't be able to fight that and would have to work with it. So the intention became to have a quiet image of Ali emerging from the blue.

I made a line drawing of Ali and then used fusible web to make the image from my printed fabrics. I only used these fabrics (although I was very tempted to use others!) There is a small amount of stitching on the raw-edge applique to enhance some of the shapes, but mostly it is not stitched. The quilt is quilted in horizontal wavy lines using threads in soft blues, aquas and green. I also added some coloured pencil to adjust the colour of her face -it was too green- and shade her eyes a little. It's very hard for me to stop once I start drawing on things, so it took a lot of self-control not to completely rework the image.

I am probably the least satisfied with this quilt of any that I've made for 12x12 so far. I like the idea and the sewing went well. I am bothered by the darkest of the fabrics and wish I'd used something else. With such a limited choice of fabrics and no chance of making more (self-imposed) I guess I was up against it. Interestingly, this quilt looks best up close and really looks awful at a distance - most of mine are the other way around!!

I still like the idea of a water quilt made with water photos, but I think I could have done much better. I decided at the start of this group that I wouldn't beat myself up about these quilts; that I would use the format to experiment and have fun. It's working. I am!

There are a couple more detail shots on my blog.


Kristin L said...

Sometimes those self imposed rules can be a pain, but the exercise is always worthwhile. I'm amazed at the variety of colors you DID get with your water fabrics and wish that I could see this one in person as it would probably be even more evident that Ali was made of water. Very cool.

StegArt said...

Oh this is awesome. Love the subject, but I'm most impressed with how you created it just from your printed fabrics. Wonderful!

Diane said...

Kirsten, The result might not be what you had in mind when you started, but I think it's a wonderful and very successful piece. Your story is another good illustration of how something evolves in its own direction regardless of where we start out!

I love knowing that your own photos of water provide the water fabric in this. There's a sense of movement and color variation that is very watery, even if the colors aren't as strong as you initially intended.

And i really, really like that the iage of your daughter is so soft! It conveys that sense of emerging thru the water and the way visibility isn't clear under water.

I also love that you've used the piece as a way of memorializing a really special memory you have of that experience with your daughter. That seems like one of the best aspects of this art, to incorporate something really personal and special for you and make art with/about it.

I had to laugh at your self-imposed rules. I do the same thing, even when it makes the task harder. Why do we do that? I guess it pushes us to try different things and work around the boundaries we set.

I think you've really succeeded with this piece.

Gerrie said...

You did a fabulous job and I really like that you challenged yourself to use the fabric you printed from your water photos. I love the color palette that is monochromatic and yet has the punch of that limey green in the focal point of your daughter. I think your overall layout is well done. You have the focal point in the sweet spot and the image of your daughter coming out of the deep is very magical. Your curved corners are a nice finich!!

Karen said...

Kirsten, I think that in time you will see the beauty of your quilt. Could be the frustrations of time and self imposed rules have you only seeing what you were not able to do. Now, what you Have done is fantastic! Your colors are magical and the feeling of being underwater is really there. The vertical lines of turquoise are such a compliment to the piece. I also love those curved corners!

Terry said...

You know I think the very lack of contrast and sublety of the color makes this feel very, eerily, like being underwater. There is even that sense of silence when I look at this. Some work is meant to be obscure from a distance and then reveal itself slowly and quietly as you approach it. I think it's a great effect.

Nikki said...

You did a beautiful job caputuring being underwater. I love the fabrics that you created from you photos. Amazing how different water can look. I would love to see this in person up close and really examine the subtle texture.

The story behind the quilt is especially meaningful. No using this one as a mouse pad!

Françoise said...

I think it's a beautiful quilt. Your water fabrics are lovely, and I really like the image of your daughter.
As Karen said, I'm sure you will like this quilt better in a little while.

Karen said...

I really like the subdued, watery colors, I don't think this would have worked if you had used brights.

Minka's Studio said...

This is genius! Love the subdued effect. I know you are not pleased but I think it's great! Give it some time, you might change your mind...and wonder why you criticizing it.