Wednesday, October 1, 2008

First Shelter

Was the first shelter a tree? An outcropping of rock, to huddle against for protection from sun or rain? Or was it the discovery of an opening in a wall of rock, leading to a cool, dark cave? Imagine the relief of finding a covered, protected hole, away from the beating rays of the sun. Privacy. Safety. Shelter.
I had so many ideas as I explored the concept of shelter, and the one I'd *planned* on doing involved the concept of "animal shelter." We are heavily involved with our local animal shelter and all of our pets have been shelter-rescue animals, so the subject is dear to my heart. But even as I drew sketches and starting working on the dog that I'd planned to feature, I kept coming back to this cave idea. And so I just had to put the dog away, and work on this.
My stash of batiks allowed me to find an array of values, colors and textures I liked for the rock. I sewed this by folding strips and laying them on top of each other, sewing them down in a very unstructured log-cabin sort of style. In person, the flaps have a fair amount of texture and a bit of dimension that I really like for this concept.
Here is a detail shot, where you can see the overlapping strips better.
When I showed this to my art workshop group recently, half of them saw this as standing outside a lit cave at night, looking into the warmth of shelter inside, and the other half saw this as being inside the cave, out of the sun, with the rays streaming in. That last perspective (being in the cave looking out) was the one I was thinking of when I made this, but I like that it has that ambiguity. Which did you see when you looked at this?

18 comments:

Françoise said...

At first, I saw it from outside. But now, I'm inside the cave!
Great piece Diane. I would like to see it in real.

Christine Thresh said...

I saw it as standing outside. How interesting that it can be seen both ways.

Kristin L said...

OMG! I love this Diane! I'm in the cave looking out. It works so well -- the pleating, the stitches rays of sunlight, the fabulous batiks. Great!

Gerrie said...

What a great interpretation of this theme. I love how the cave feels so cool and dark as you look out to the warmth of sunshine.

jocelyn said...

Believe it or not, my first reaction was that i was in a womb looking out. Mother's womb, the ultimate shelter.

kirsty said...

I LOVE this quilt, Diane! It is so successful - you must be very happy! I was inside the cave and didn't consider being outside until I read your words.

Nikki said...

I'm inside the cave and just can't seem to get out. Beautiful quilt. I love the stitching sunlight shining in.

Terry said...

I love all of our quilts and I don't have a favorite—but if I did, this one would be it! I can;t even tell you what I love so much, but it just works perfectly. Bravo!

Terry said...

OK, I looked again and I DO know what I love. It's the sense of light and dark—just lifts my heart right up.

Del said...

Lovely! Inside looking out.

StegArt said...

When I first looked at your quilt, I felt like I was inside, looking out. I love your use of fabrics here and like how it is asymmetrical. Very clever stitching showing the light or sun rays.

Kaite said...

quite definately inside looking to the mouth of the cave. I have often used the cave idea in my work and thankyou for reminding me of it again. KaiteM.

Deborah said...

I can hardly think of words to complement this amazing work. The technique is just perfect for this application and your placement of all the different fabrics gives such an amazing sense of depth. I also love the stitching in the light and the foreground. Great job, Diane. I think this is my favorite of your pieces thus far. (But I do love your dandelions and your lanterns. And your water... and ...)

Helen Conway said...

In looking out. I wonder if this is a kind of Rorschach quilt and our answer tells all about our personalities? Tomorrow I am coming back to this to look more closely at the construction and play with how you varied the log cabin format. I also am interetsed in how the commercial fabrics look so cohesively rock like together yet you can see them clearly when close up. I am thinking that the dog is actually in the cave, he is just hiding.

The Idaho Beauty said...

I saw it as looking in to a cave and shelter. I am particularly impressed with the technique you used to build up the shading moving outward from the yellow glow. There's a true sense of depth here and no jarring of the value shift. Powerful.

Karen said...

I'm looking out into the sunshine on this one. You captured the light brilliantly, and the layering of the batiks just draws my eye to the center.

Nichole said...

I saw this as the entrance to the womb also. Like Jocelyn said, the ultimate shelter.

momma helen said...

Yup, me too. I thought womb. But opposite of Nichole, I saw it as emerging from the first ultimate shelter. It seemed like it was a baby's first glance of what the light of the world was like, not yet born but almost.