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).
We are twelve quilt artists who embarked on an art challenge together. We're from different places throughout the world and our artistic styles vary, but we share a love of art quilting and a desire to play, experiment, learn, and grow.
For four years (2007-2011), we each made a 12x12 inch quilted art piece on a designated theme or palette. See our Theme Series and our Colorplay series.
For the 2012 Series, we changed things a bit and made rectangular pieces, 20x12 inches with roughly 10 weeks between each challenge. As before, we had a designated theme for each challenge.
We shared our process, progress, and results on this blog. It remains a key record of our rich collaboration.