Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Crossing Good Hope

Look, it's my neighborhood!

I struggled so much with this quilt. I thought I wanted to do something entirely different and I tried. But I just couldn't make it work. I have been feeling like I'd like to make art that is a bit more spare. Quieter. More zen. Clearer. Less frippery.

But, as the deadline approached, eventually I had to give in to the comfort of lots of fabrics, layers, paint, stitching and various symbols. I'm glad I did. I enjoyed making it and I am pleased with the result.

To get out of my funk, I also had to resort to a very familiar design... my own neighborhood and the path that Benjamin and I walk to and from his school several times a week. I placed the blue squares representing houses along our route to school. I could have placed them along all the streets and cul-de-sacs. But once I painted in the streets using a freezer paper stencil, I wanted to focus more on the design and balance of the additional elements -- and I didn't want a bunch of tiny blue squares to overwhelm the piece.

Our house is the yellow square toward the bottom.  Here is Benjamin's school.

One of the streets we cross is called "Good Hope," thus the title of the piece, Crossing Good Hope. This is also a bit symbolic of some of the complicated and frustrating discussions we have about school as we walk. I keep hoping that we'll find ways to help Benjamin reach his potential within the school system, but sometimes I feel like options keep getting crossed off.
Every day isn't frustrating. Sometimes we tell funny stories and discuss other surprising and interesting subjects. I printed blocks of text on organza, cut them into strips and stitched them down in ripples and turns to represent these conversations.
As I designed the piece, I kept adding elements that pulled the color scheme together, added contrast and texture and sparked my interest. I even tried a new hand embroidery stitch with those wheely circles loosely representing trees.

17 comments:

Diane Doran said...

I like it! It's fascinating to have seen it on Friday, then today with additional layers. I love the wheely trees, and the text on organza is fascinating.

kathy said...

Love it! I love your ideas and concepts and how you interpreted them into the work.

Sally said...

This is great! I love it. Very uncreative!

Sue Bleiweiss said...

very cool piece Deborah!

Diane Perin Hock said...

Deborah, as always I love how you've used your personal palette methods -- but they've come together in a different way here. They way you've represented the elements of your trip is clear but also abstract and very beautiful! I especially love the organza ripply bit to represent your conversations -- how lovely! I suspect you'll treasure this quilt for a long time!

Jane said...

I love the "organza conversations"! How amazing is that?

Kristin L said...

My favorite part is Benjamin's school. I also like how your conversations kind of ruffle and twist along. I could see a whole series of "Conversations While Walking!" I think you've done a nice job of melding elements you are comfortable with while also branching out a bit.

Karen said...

This is so calm and meandering Deborah, I think it's very zen.

Gerrie said...

Ha! I love that it was your theme and you got stymied and finished about the same time I did. LOL It is a lovely piece with lots of thought and Deborah details. I too love the ruffled organza conversation. I had two daughters who sailed through school with little help from me and then there was Mark - I so relate to that part of your story.

Terri Stegmiller said...

Fabulous!! I love the organza conversations. Great job Deborah.

Brenda Gael Smith said...

This piece has a gentle, subdued quality about it. I can just picture myself kicking around a stone on the footpath in your neighbourhood and looking up when some small thing catches my eye. And such a poetic quilt title too.

Terry said...

Oh, Deborah, I never think of your work as having a lot of "frippery"--they have what they need, which is the essence of simplicity. This one is quite wonderful and it is nice to see a departure from your usual forms (not that I don't love seeing those). My favorite thing, which is simply brilliant, is the meandering light and delicate "conversation" thread. This tells such a nice story.

Renate said...

This piece just begs to be viewed closely, again and again. I really like all the little details in this piece and the "ruffled conversations" is a wonderfully whimsical element.

kirsty said...

No, never any frippery! Deborah,I admire that you can include many disparate techniques and elements and yet there is ALWAYS a cohesion and delicacy about the resulting work.No exception here - everything is purposeful and needed and each little piece makes me go "Oh look!"

Nikki said...

What a special quilt about a special time for you and Benjamin. I love the organza conversations, both in the quilt and the fact that you are able to have them. All the little details and hand work speak to your love and watchful eye over him.

Helen Conway said...

I am sorry Deborah. i fully intended to leave a comment but I cannot as I am too busy banging my head against a wall with frustration and envy that i did not think of the organza conversations technique. LOVE IT.

Françoise said...

Lovely quilt Deborah. Like the others, I love the idea of the organza conversations. (I also wonder if the Y shape they have was intentional.)