Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tangled Textiles Challenge: Beginnings

Multiple Beginnings, 2012
16 X 16
Hand dyed and commercial cottons, machine pieced and quilted

This is my latest challenge piece with the Tangled Textiles online group.  The theme was Beginnings.  This one has two meanings for me: my love of beginning the day with a walk outside among the trees and farmlands in my area, and walking through the woods in Michigan on a camping trip with my son Ian and his fiance.  My inspiration came from these photos that I took on that camping trip.

I wanted to capture the myriad of greens, the sense of light and shadow coming through the trees, and the vertical lines of the tree trunks. The trees were just starting to show signs of fall color, and I wanted to capture that also. I think I did.

I fell victim, however, to what Jane Sassaman calls the 'tragedy of the literal', mainly in my quilting choices.  I'm just not happy with the quilting in the upper and very lower sections of the quilt- too literal.  And, I've about decided that the more modern quilts that use strip piecing and odd geometrics don't always lend themselves to the hyper-quilting that is so prevalent today.  I think I'd be happier with simple vertical and horizontal lines.  That would also have lent itself to some hand embroidery, which I'd wanted to do but decided against once the quilting was done.  In the detail shots, you can see how closely the top portion is quilted.

 I used a variegated thread in this, and I was surprised at how light it looks compared to when I puddled it on the quilt.  It's all shades of green, but a lot of it reads almost like white.  It tends to minimize the piecing lines much more than I was anticipating.

I'm determined to make this freeform piecing my own, which I figure is going to take some doing since so many artists have utilized this way of working.  Right now I'm thinking the biggest struggle I'll have is finding a quilting style that complements the simplicity of the piecing.  The literal-ness of this quilting just isn't working for me, so my next iteration of this will try something different.  I am certainly open to suggestions and input!
I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday group.  There are plenty of other artists with interesting posts over there!


Libby Fife said...

I saw this yesterday on the group blog and really liked it. I thought that those forest shots were really inspirational and that there was a lot to work with. Plus, the story about you reconnecting with your son was really wonderful.

As for the quilting, I don't know what to tell you. I suspect that the free form piecing in and of itself is the main show and not necessarily the quilting. It's the graphic look to those quilts that I find so appealing and not necessarily the quilting. I am sure you will decide what is right though for your pieces.

Nina Marie said...

what a nice use of an accent color - it really adds a spark!

Jenny Williams said...

Love you how you captured the woods - very bright and uplifting! But - that's not a bird's nest up in the tree - it's a squirrel's nest. We have hundreds around here. Very cool wasp's nest, too!