Thursday, July 12, 2012

Flying to Close to the Sun

At first my plan was to illustrate one of the many wonderful Maori legends that I grew up hearing. Brenda mentioned Maui in a post a while back and I remembered a painting that I did as an 11 year old of Maui harnessing the Sun. In the time of Maui, the Sun moved so quickly through the sky that the people didn't even have time to finish their work before night was upon then. Maui, the Quintessential Peoples' Hero, harnessed the Sun with ropes and dragged on them to slow the day. I always liked my painting and remember well how I wanted it to look, although my skills at the time didn't allow me to attain my goal. But when I thought longer, I realised that it needed to stay as it was and the time was not yet right for revisiting it. So I kept thinking.

 After considering many obscure myths and enigmatic characters, I stayed with the sun and constantly was drawn to Icarus. Poor Icarus, who dared to dream of flight and flew so close to the sun that his (rather foolish) wax wings melted and plunged him to his death. I always felt it unfair that his ambition and hope met with such doom (maybe the lesson is that preparation is an essential aspect of ambition?! hmmm....I've clearly not learned that lesson!). I rather hopefully believe in points for effort...

The background for this quilt is paper-pieced on isometric graph paper. Fabric for the wings is painted with acrylic paint. The applique is fused, raw-edge stitched and then buttons sewn on top. I didn't have fun making it and it rather shows. Maybe my quilt experience parallels the subject!

11 comments:

Diane Perin Hock said...

Oh, Kirsty -- This has so many elements that suit the Icarus story so well. The fiery sun, the delicate wings, the sense of pieces falling and facturing in the background... The whole is wonderful, but the detail -- oh, how eager I am to see this in person. The stitching! The buttons! I think you've done a beautiful interpretation!

Helen Conway said...

Or maybe the moral is that Icarus tried for too much. Had he taken a more moderate flight path he would have been fine! So maybe if our achivements are a little less than we would like that is fine!

Gerrie said...

I am not going to pander to your sob story - this is a wonderful piece. Your problem is working at the last minute and being too close to it. You need to step back and take it in!! I might have used the lovely yellow orange color in the lower right to give some balance and eye movement. I do love the wings so much. I want a pair for myself. Now, buck up and love this.

Karen Rips said...

I love the wings too, and when I look at the sun closeup, it's perfect for this piece

Kristin L said...

I see the sun as a kind of melty explosion and, like Diane, see broken bits in the background and the placement of the wings. Altogether it speaks to me of Icarus' fall. I think that despite your disappointment, you've actually make quite a wonderful piece.

Terry Grant said...

I had a book as a child that had an illustration of Icarus falling out of the sky. He was tumbling head over heals in a most frantic and awkward way and when I looked at it I could feel, in my body what that might be like. Your piece has that same feeling and the energy of the sun is what sets it all in motion! Love this!

Brenda Gael Smith said...

The sun is central to so many myths. How amusing if we had both chosen Maui and the sun!

I love the story of Icarus and you have captured that tumbling fall to earth perfectly.

Terri Stegmiller said...

I truly enjoyed your choice of myth and the story behind it. And also the fact that you created something along these same lines when you were young. Do you still have the piece? It would be so fun to share it along with your quilt.

JB said...

The subtle background with its many variations is a perfect counterpoint to the sun. I hope the piece grows on you. I think it is lovely.

Deborah Boschert said...

I like it too! But I can understand your discomfort with the completed work... maybe just like you felt as an 11-year-old. But then you came to love the piece you did as a kid. I think you'll come to love this one tool. Or at least appreciate it as part of your body of work. My favorite part of the beautiful glass buttons on the wings. They are a stunning subtle counterpart to the shiny bright buttons on the sun.

Françoise said...

The piece is lovely and I think the sun is perfect. Don't be disappointed.
I always liked the story of Daedalus and Icarus, although in high school I had to study it by heart in latin!