Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sugar Pie

As usual, inspiration lead me a circuitous route to this quilt. For the longest time my plan was to make a fairly literal interpretation of the theme, maybe even something pictorial. Then a week or so ago, as I struggled to find any germ of an idea that would lead me to The Quilt, I had an interesting (probably only to me!!)epiphany about how I design. Often I'm asked to explain how my inspiration evolves and I struggle to put it in words. It always starts with colour and a mood. I feel a certain way, a certain visual atmosphere starts to form. The epiphany part is that this creates a kind of design board/mood board in my head. It has snippets of lines, shapes, but mostly waves and sparkles of colour, and they all merge and float and blend into a feeling. So then I collect together fabrics that match that feeling and think about how I want them to interact. The type of interaction (is it fluid, sharp, linear, etc) informs that technique that will be needed to join them together. The whole design is never made before I start. I just choose a beginning and go for it. The process is then an organic one; things just happen and every decision is made as the need arises. Another epiphany - that's why I have so many failures and why I should probably work in series! Often a mis-step along that way will create another problem that needs correction which causes another problem, etc, etc. (I know lots of you relate to THIS!)It's a haphazard way to work that, for me, results in many more bad quilts than good ones. I usually know immediately if it's been a success or failure. One of the more difficult lessons for some artists/artisans to learn is to cull their own work; to weed out the rubbish and get rid of it. When we began this Twelve by Twelve adventure, I made a commitment to myself that I would try new things, that I would be accepting of whatever I produced and not beat myself up about stuff that sucked. There would be no culling because, for me, this was a learning, fun project. I never imagined a book! or even exhibitions! And now my good quilts and my terrible quilts share a stage with each other and with the magnificent work of my colleagues. Looking over my quilts from the three series, I would still happily burn quite a number of them. But there are also a few that I am quite proud of and they would not have happened had the bad ones not been there to learn from.
This one? This one I love! This is my Sugar Pie. The mood board for this one was sugared almonds, fondant, gelato, Marie Antoinette, frothy, lacy, twinkly. The first background that I planned was very small rectangles, stacked sort of like Chinese Coins. It wasn't gelling in my head and I realise now that that's because it would have been far to staccato. Then I took this photo of some english paper pieced hexagons that I'm making and a friend commented on how much he liked the edges (surround yourselves with artists, people!).
Now I had a background that worked - very narrow strips of highly patterned fabrics. I actually didn't know that it was a background until I had sewn it and it needed something on it! It needed frothy, blendy flowers that melted into it and emerged from it.
And now, after making 7235687265 colonial knots, I have run out of time. It still needs more embroidery and more sequins and some beads. They will have to wait until next year now. It is the sister of my first quilt for this series,Jubilee. And I think they may have more sisters waiting to be born.

10 comments:

Diane Perin Hock said...

Kirsty!

First, let me say that there is something so delicious and frothy about this that I just want to crawl into the FEELING and live there. I hope I get to see it in person some day because I'm sure the embroidery and embellishment is even more amazing than these pictures show.

But I am most delighted by the way you have described the way you got to this. What you say makes perfect sense to me, developing a mood board in your head, and the FEELING you want to get to -- it sounds like an incredibly important set of realizations! It is funny how the 12x12 challenges have become challenges in so many unexpected ways -- not the least of which is trying to articulate how you got to where you ended up.

Your piece, and your words about it, make me very happy.

Kristin L said...

Oh yes, I can see that sparkly, frothy, Marie Antoinette mood board in your head. :-) This is a wonderful kind of sweet.

Karen said...

I love the way you figured out your background and the way color and mood comes to you. I don't seem to work that way, although most of my designing does go on in my head. I think this piece turned out the way you describe it and that's the best when that happens.

Helen Conway said...

Its is very girly, like a seven year old wore all her party dresses at once then blew some sugary pink bubblegum. And she was happy doing so! It is all the more interesting for the lines being allowed to bend.

Gerrie said...

Fabulous! It works beautifully. The tiny strips making of the background are wondrous. I should have gotten the message. I had trouble with my background, too - tried squares and they didn't work - something like this in bold colors might have been the answer.

Françoise said...

So yummy, and happy, and pink, and girly. And I love all these embroidery knots.
It's also very interesting to read about your working process.

Terri Stegmiller said...

The quilt gives me a sense of a beautifully lush and somewhat overgrown flower garden and the height of bloom. Sweet scents surrounding me and the lovely colors of the flowers everywhere. Sweet indeed.

I enjoyed your description of your working method and your thoughts on your quilts. I can relate as I wouldn't mind if some of mine just disappeared into thin air.

Terry Grant said...

These are colors I never use and think of as overly sweet, yet when I see what you do with pastels and "sweet" colors it is never that too sweet, cloying feeling I so dread. It feels light and clean and very innocent. I think the tiny bits of yellow and the yellow green are what give it just a touch of tartness and keep it from being too sweet for me! Delicious!

Deborah Boschert said...

The stunning epitome of sweet! It's just wonderful. My favorite bit are the flowers on the bottom left adding just a bit asymmetry -- and that wavy bloom at the bottom of your bouquet. You are so right about appreciating both the successful quilts and the less-than-successful quilts. Thanks for sharing thoughts about your process too. Fascinating.

Brenda Gael Smith said...

At first I thought the background was selvedges and it would be great with lots of little lolly circles of colour (I have a one track mind for this theme!) but this is better! I also seen layers of yellow sponge, strawberry jam and whipped cream. I licking my fingers just thinking about it!