Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lost City



Right off the bat I have to say that this is my favorite piece so far with Twelve by Twelve. It is the lost city of Machu Picchu which my husband Ted and I visited a few years ago. When I started thinking about this theme, I went from abstract to realistic and everywhere in between. I drew pictures of people pushing shopping carts and sleeping on park benches, I thought about collaging, and finally, when I was reviewing my photos for ideas, this one clicked. I started with a piece of hand dyed in some very muted cream, peach, and pale blues. I added some painted interfacing in the colors of the photo, building it up slowly, and when I liked this background, I made a (actually 2) thermofax screen of the picture and screened the photo on. I loved it but felt I needed to do a little stitching to highlight areas, so I just added some machine stitches where the mountains and fields needed it.


Machu Piccchu was built around 1460 by the Incas and abandoned 100 years later when the Spanish invaded Peru. It was rediscovered in 1911 by an archeologist named Hiram Bingham and is now preserved, although it has started crumbling under the number of visitors it receives.


The reason I decided to use this image is the idea I have that shelter is transient, and ultimately, all it is is shelter, a place to be. This may be important to us as we look back to study civilizations, but what is really important is the people who live in the various shelters of our lives, those that came before us, those that follow us, and those that we will never know, living their lives in places we will never visit,but living their lives just the same.

12 comments:

Gerrie said...

Wow, this is really lovely. I have to go down to my big computer so that I can see the enlargement on a full screen. You know I love the complexity of your work and this piece does not disappoint. Those lovely and delicate sky colors juxtaposed with the ruggedness of Machu Picchu is wonderful.

Kristin L said...

It's my favorite of your work so far too. The shelter theme is not as obvious as on some of the other challenge pieces, but the imagery here is beautiful. You have done a fabulous job of combining fabric and photo so that it is hard to tell where one element starts and the other ends. It shows the artist's hand rather than just looking like a picture printed on fabric. I like!

kirsty said...

This is my favourite of your quilts so far, too. What a triumph! It made me gasp. As Kristin said, the blurring of where photo ends and fabric starts is so clever.

Margarita Korioth said...

Karen your Machu Picchu quilt is phenomenal. Bring me memories from my own country; yes I'm peruvian ,although I was born and raise in Lima I visited Cuzco a few times. You capture "The Lost city of the Incas" exactly how it is. Well done!! Marga

Nikki said...

Beautiful and stunning! I agree with everything!

Diane said...

I gasped when this came up on my screen, Karen. This is definitely my favorite of your pieces so far. It has a mystical quality to it -- the image fading into fabric that others have remarked on. It really suits the subject matter and makes this piece reflect a sort of spiritual richness. It's really masterful. It's clear that you are using your surface design techniques to excellent advantage. Bravo!

Terry said...

This is truly mysterious and mystical as such places are. I have not been to Machu Picchu--would love to go. I have been to the Inca ruins in Ecuador and like the other remains of past civilizations I have seen, they are haunted and haunting. Your piece depicts this beautifully.

Françoise said...

Gorgeous! I would like to see in real.

StegArt said...

Wow, Karen, when I saw the first image in your post I thought it was a photograph and that the quilt was down farther. When I didn't find a quilt I went back up and was in awe. You did a wonderful job on this piece.

Twisted Sister said...

Amazing piece - very edgy. It is always so incredible to me how you put it all together - your imagination. This piece is a stunning reminder of how tremendous you are at surface design.
Jamie

Helen Conway said...

I bow at your feet in awe of your technical proficency! It has a mysticism to it in that it has a feeling of layer on layer just slightly shifted - like the layers of history you refer to.

Deborah said...

I agree. Gorgeous. I've to see it in person.I really like this color palette too.