Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Backpacking ... in Rhinestone Heels


Welcome to my blinged version of Boulder Shelter, a backpacking shelter in the Olympic National Park. I've never actually made it all the way to the shelter, but I have hiked part way on the trail in years past. My husband, on the other hand, did the hike with his dad in the winter. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy hiking and even an occasional backpacking trip, but I require more "shelter" during most of our northwest weather than that of a hut in the woods or tent. I'm one for a comfortable, dry bed at the end of the day. When I think of hiking in comfort, I always think of some hikers my husband and father-in-law encountered one trip. While they were hiking along the trail, a woman approached wearing all white with a tennis sweater around her shoulders. She looked like she had just stepped out of the country club. She was enjoying the outdoors the best she could. A ways down the trail she was followed by a man with a hundred pound pack, stacked up above his head. He could barely move with all the stuff he was carrying. We figure the only way he was going to get his wife out backpacking with him was if he carried everything and spared no luxury. So, at least I'm not that back. I can carry my own.



Inspired by that story, I decided to turn a backpacking shelter into something it isn't. Forget the soft weathered grays and browns of exposed wood, bring on the color and sparkle. I used three different fabrics in each of the colors. One was white muslin quilted and then painted with watered down acrylics. Another was painted fabric quilted with metallic thread. The final was fabric paper created by gluing decorative papers and tissue to muslin and painting it with acrylic paint. I sewed these together with gold thread to create panels for the different parts of the shelter. I then sewed on glass "jewels" and shiny wire to add to the fantasy element of this shelter. The binding was a challenge. Nothing I tried seemed to work, so I decided to simply color the edges with a gold leafing pen. I like the look, but I think it would be best mounted on mat board as apposed to hanging in a quilt show.



Overall, I had a lot of fun with this piece. At first I was trying so hard to create "Art," something meaningful and important. Nothing was working. Serious just isn't me. Creating, at this point in my life, is my way of getting away from all the pressure and worry of life. I don't want to turn it into another stress with unrealistic expectation. So, I decided to experiment with something different, but also with my own signature touches. Now I'm finally feeling like I am getting over the slump I've been in all summer and I look forward to playing with the next challenge (more to come about that soon).

13 comments:

Deborah said...

Fabulous. Nikki, you really have such a great personal style. Did you piece all those sections onto a foundation? Or are they cut just perfectly to fit together. Amazing. I really like the gold edge. Perfect solution. I love all the wire too. So fun.

Funny that you mentioned not wanting to work in gray and brown. That's exactly what I did!

Kristin L said...

What a fun, cheerful place! I'd love to hike to a shelter that looked like this!

Françoise said...

This is great!
I'm ready to hike with you and Kristin to this place. I wonder if it's as bright inside as it looks from outside.

Gerrie said...

Oh, I am reminded of the woman we saw hiking in Yosemite in gold lame wedgie sandals. She would have loved this shelter. When I saw your title on the dashboard, I was very curious about what you had done!! This is delicious and wouldn't it be fun to find a shelter like this after a long hike. I love the closeup of your embellishments and stitching.

kirsty said...

Great!! My kind of hiking shelter :)
I just hope it has a chandelier inside for my mother!
Fun quilts are my favourite kind.

Terry said...

I think we were channeling a wavelength! Red roofs, orange walls, blue sky. I love the cheeriness and all the great texture in this piece, and especially love the strong, angular composition.

Diane said...

I'll bet the inhabitants of this shelter are dining on "camp food" of champagne and chocolate truffles, too. What a great twist on this theme! I love the color and whimsy of it. It's a very happy shelter! (I love the stripes of the siding...great use of fabrics.)

StegArt said...

I totally love your blinged version. I've always been a fan of bright colors and this piece is wonderful. It's such a fun and lively quilt. Great job!

Twisted Sister said...

I love the colors in this piece, it just puts a smile on my face. Beautifully done.
Jamie

Linda said...

I think this is my favourite among the shelter pieces. It's gorgeous!

Helen Conway said...

Um, I hate hiking but I would be very happy in this cheery shelter with my backless sandals and hair straighteners. (And my man would have a sewing machine in his back pack for me.) It seems lik ethe making of this bright quilt acted as a kind of shelter from your daily stress, is that fair?

Nikki said...

Helen -- that is exactly what it did. Sewing has been about the only thing that has focused my thoughts away from the craziness of selling and buying a house in this market. Plus it has added some color now that summer is over and the rains have arrived.

Karen said...

Yes Nikki, your slump is over. The colors are wonderful and the piece just looks so yummy