Now that all of the Maverick quilts have been revealed, I thought I'd share with you the utter disaster that was my first response to the theme. Maybe this is a good example of an interesting idea gone sadly awry. Or of how doing more can make something bad even worse. Or ... well, you can tell me what this is an example of. I'm not sure. In any event, since I'm sure none of you reading this has ever had this sort of thing happen in your work, I will use my disaster for its instructive purposes before I wad it up and throw it away.
My original idea was that homeschooling is a maverick approach to education. As a home-schooling mom (and one who never intended to homeschool and ended up doing it as a necessary evolution due to circumstances), I realize this all of the time. We are way, way off of the beaten path in terms of schooling. So how to illustrate it?
I started with the shape of a school desk, and I drew one and then carved a stamp of it. My thought was to have lightly stamped images on the background fabric for texture and the suggestion of an empty classroom -- the students have left! Clever, eh? Well, see this stamp? It was the best part, as it turned out. I warn you now: it's all down hill from here.
I stamped it all over fabric. (No picture, sorry.) Then I thought I'd do a collage of the things that Miss C and I have been doing in our homeschooling lately. I figured that even if they were only meaningful to me, I could at least make them look interesting and cohesive through composition and color. (Turns out I was wrong.)
So a big red A, because we just finished studying The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne. (By the way, notice how the stamp looked on fabric ... too dark, but heck, it was identifiable as a desk.)
Then, because our study of the French Revolution and Marie Antoinette was made most memorable when we watched the Sofia Coppola movie "Marie Antoinette," I included a Marie Antoinette style shoe. (There's a great scene in the movie, which beautifully portrays the ridiculous luxury with which the teenaged Marie Antoinette lived, where she and her friends are trying on beribboned, pastel shoes.)
And then, because Caroline has been working on anatomy, I sewed a tulle overlay skeleton, which I then highlighted with colored pencil. Ahem. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
At that point, I had a very odd jumble of items (the A, the shoe, the skeleton). How to make them look school-ish or show learning? I figured science-projecty labels might help. So I printed them out on organza and fused those on. Because, you know, adding writing and sheers and more little bits can't hurt, right? And I needed to balance the red items on the left side, so I added a red apple to the skeleton's hand on the right. Apple. Teacher. You get it.
It still read as a confused mess to me. (I'll digress here to add that I had the vague sense that there were big problems with color, and scale, and contrast. But I pushed forward. When all else fails, keep going.) I know, I thought, I'll overlay a sheer house shape to show that this is learning AT HOME. And then I'll tie all of the elements together by having ivy (get it? Ivy? Ivy league? Education?) flow out of the house chimney and twine around the various elements. Maybe that will pull it all together, she thought hopefully (or in full-out denial.)
I cut a big house shape out of a green piece of organza and fused it down. And stuck it up on my wall, and here is what I had:
And if you thought I'd wise up and throw in the towel at that point, you'd be wrong! No! Because when all else fails, do MORE! Ever confident in the power of my beloved Neocolor crayons, I figured that the problem (yes, still in denial) was that you couldn't see the house shape. So I figured I'd define it by making it darker.
There. That's better. NOT. The only thing that became clearer is what a disaster this was. And that, my friends, was the point at which I abandoned it. Thank goodness, you say? Yep, that's just how I felt too.
Maybe that makes you understand why, when I started Maverick #2, that I went in the opposite direction to pale and simple. Phew, it's a relief, isn't it?