Thursday, July 12, 2012

Persephone and Pomegranates


I knew early on that I wanted to do a myth involving plants or seeds and earth. I did some research and settled on pomegranates. Pomegranates are part of many myths and are used in a lot of religious stories and imagery.  

I was most taken, however, by the Greek myth of Persephone, the beautiful daughter of Demeter and Zeus. With Zeus's permission, she was abducted by Hades, the god of the underworld. She was not able to leave the underworld. Her mother, searched far and wide for her and withheld her blessings on the earth until she would be returned. There were droughts and the earth became barren. Zeus sent Hermes to bring her back. Hades gave her a pomegranate, and she ate some of the seeds which meant that she could not leave the underworld permanently. She would return 3 months out of the year, which is now our winter. The other months she would be with her mother and life would once again flourish. I have probably taken a few liberties with the story.

Even though I liked this story, I am not very adept at doing human forms in my work. As a rule, I don't like the human body in quilt art!! So I decided just to do a generic pomegranate tree, which I finished a while ago. I used batik fabrics and did all the quilting with black thread. A few days ago, I got an idea of how I might add Persephone. I drew a simple figure and printed it on silk organza. I then fused it to the quilt and stitched it down. I am very happy with the effect. Here are a couple of details:



14 comments:

Deborah Boschert said...

I love each of the elements in this quilt, Gerrie. I am so glad you added Persephone. I think the translucent effect is great -- and that one additional bit of red in the pomegranate adds nice balance to the whole design. I also love the whimsical design and colors of the tree. The black stitching is great .... that's a gutsy color choice and it really works!

Diane Perin Hock said...

Gerrie! This is beautiful! I love how the shapes and fabric patterns all work together, there is such a wonderful energy in the way you have used the colors and batik prints. Masterful! And the human form is brilliant -- totally clear, but also a suggestion that works perfectly. I think this is one of my favorites among your pieces, ever!

Helen Conway said...

Yes it was the right thing to add Persephone. Without her it was another tree quilt.with her,because she has a ghoslty quality, the whole quilt has a haunted feel which matches the bitter - sweetnedd of the story. Which ever world you look at her from she is not quite all there. It is a good example of less being more in terms of the construction.

Joanne S said...

I agree. This is my favorite Gerrie piece.

Kristin L said...

Exactly what Helen said! I also really like the kind of folk arty way the fruits in the tree make a pretty arc.

Terry Grant said...

When I saw this several weeks ago I loved the pomegranates and the tree and would have been quite satisfied, but the addition of the figure of Persephone takes it to a new level. Her ghostliness is so effective.

Terri Stegmiller said...

I didn't know that about you, that you don't like the human body in quilt art. But I'm so glad you decided to add her to your quilt as I think she is perfect on there. I love how you quilted the background in black.

Gerrie said...

I should clarify my comment about the human figure in quilt art. It is generally very poorly done and yet appears so often. I don't mind an artistic rendering. I don't think I have the skill to do it. I am happy I found a way to challenge myself and add the visual of Persephone.

Diane Perin Hock said...

I think I know what you mean, Gerrie... I am very intimidated about tackling human forms and especially faces, as when they are not done well, they can be horrible. I am always impressed at how well some folks do them (Terri and Terry and Kirsty for example). I think your ghostly sketchy figure was a perfect solution.

Gerrie said...

You said that well and yes, Terri, Terry and Kirsty do it very well.

Karen Rips said...

I love ths Gerrie, and I agree the Persephone figure really adds a kind of spooky quality to this piece.

Brenda Gael Smith said...

This piece makes me so happy. Your choice of fabric prints add movement and interest but do not overwhelm the design and your organza Persephone has a wonderful ethereal quality.

*Anita* said...

Hi Gerrie, i agree with most of what is already said above. Really nice work! And Persephone definitly adds value.
I have a question to you about the quilting, since I cannot see it clearly in the photo. Have you quilted alll the swirls on the blue sky or is the swirls part of the fabric?
Anita in Gothenburg

Gerrie said...

Anita - thank you for your nice comments. All of the quilting on this piece was done with black thread. The sky fabric was a batik with a blue swirl pattern. I tried to follow the pattern of the fabric with the quilting.