Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Defenestration



Websters:
de-fen-es-tra-tion (de fen/i stra/shen), n. the act of throwing a person or thing out of a window: the defenestration of the commissioners at Prague. [DE- + L fenestr(a) a window + -ATION].

Defenestration is one of those words that just sounds interesting to me. Really, that's the reason I chose this interpretation of "Window." I like the word. Well, I like Prague too, and the word pretty much always refers to events in Prague in the 17th Century. 

Google defenestration and you will most likely find this engraving:

(via Wikipedia)

With this engraving as my inspiration, I opted not to try to reproduce it or anything period. But, I did want to reference it. So, I concentrated on the bull's eye glass windows. This was a great opportunity to try painting OVER my quilting. The technique was easy enough, but getting the right combination of colors proved more difficult. My first try was a dark brown over brick-ish fabric. Nice, but not very window like. My second try was bottle green over a milifiore-like brown fabric. It looked more like glass, but the bull's eye pattern was completely lost. So, I completed the quilt with the first fabric. However, once done, the brick-like fabric, warm yellow window and the arch shaped quilt looked less window and more furnace. I ended up with a scribbly looking brown and yellow fabric that gave both the dark needed for the window lead and a nice glow, painted a glowing yellow over it and ditched the furnace shape for the quilt itself. As a yellow window wouldn't work with a yellow quilt, I went for blue. It looks a little like the figure is falling into the building but not enough to make me change it, as i've pretty much run out of appropriate fabrics!

13 comments:

Deborah Boschert said...

I sure would like to see all the samples you did. Painting over fabric after it's been quilted is a technique full of possibility, but as you discovered, you really need just the right combination of elements. You made excellent choices here!

Love the composition and color palette of your quilt. And I learned a new word!

Karen said...

Kristin, this is a great interpretation of the theme, and I think your painting over stitching is great, it gives it a very medival look.

Dolores said...

I got it right away. I love the person/object piece. I had to click on the pic to enlarge it and take a good look. So simple and so effective.

norma said...

I've always loved that word for some reason and when I went to Prague last year I was surprised to see how much it figured in their history. I love your piece. I think you have captured it perfectly.

Terry said...

The falling figure is so powerful. Beautiful and heart breaking in its expressiveness. I wonder if anyone else had the heart-pounding reaction to this that I did. My immediate reaction was my memory of the 9-11 victims who jumped or fell from windows and especially the very famous photograph of the "falling man." Somehow that image was, for me, the most terrifying and haunting of all the 9-11 images. There was a story about it in Esquire, now considered one of their best stories of all time. http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0903-SEP_FALLINGMAN

Diane said...

Kristin,

This piece is appealing to me in so many ways! The visual effect is great, especially all of the space and how well you've created the looseness of the falling shape. I LOVE the circles of stitching and the way you've colored the fabric to get those shadows and texture.

What's especially funny to me is that the word "defenestrate" has been a sort of silly buzzword between me and some friends for years. Years ago when we were taking college entrance exams, "defenestrate" was one word in the vocabulary section that many of us hadn't encountered. I remember coming out of the exam and standing with my friends, all saying "do YOU know what defenestrate" means? Most of us had guessed correctly, but it was a pure guess.

And since then, it's become one of those words we use rather frequently, most often just out of silliness. "Are you going to finish your sandwich?" "No, I'll probably just defenestrate the rest." That sort of thing. So I'm delighted that it's honored here by such a beautiful piece.

StegArt said...

Oh wow, a cool new word to add to my vocabulary. Love your quilt. The texture along with the grid of circular shapes is wonderful.

PAMELA said...

Such an interesting concept throwing someone out of the window! With your use of circles this one just jumps out at you!
Great design.

twolimeleaves said...

How interesting to read that several of us are enamoured of this word! We use it often in our family, too. It all started when we bought a copy of 'The Superior Person's Book of Words'. Defenestrate and exungulate became two of our favourites.
Having always regarded it as a source of amusement, it was quite a shock to see it in such a serious light, Kristin! I had never considered the dark side. In fact, this is rather a shocking quilt! There is such a sense of urgency about that falling figure - we want to leap up and catch him!

Gerrie said...

There you go, enlightening us about history and making your quilt a teachabe moment. It took you a while to get there, but I think the window fabric is perfect and your stitching adds so much o the effect. That poor fellow doesn't know what hit him. I was so amused at our members who knew the word and used it!!

twolimeleaves said...

Terry, thanks for publishing that link! What an article!

Françoise said...

Great quilt. I would not have thought of that interpretation. I must say "defenestration" doesn't sound very nice in French. But I like your quilt very much.

Kristin L said...

Defenestrating sandwich remains cracks me up! And Kirsty, I need to go see what exungulate means because that sounds like another good 50 cent word :-) Playing with language can be wonderfully amusing!

As for the darker side, thank you Terry for the fascinating article. I have some unique issues with 9-11 having been quite removed from it, yet intimately affected, at the same time. I must admit the parallel between defenestration and people jumping from the Twin Towers never occurred to me.