Archive for the ‘Finished Quilts’ Category

Protest stitches

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Hi there,

Now that I’ve explained my sudden prolonged absence, I can get down to the fun of showing what was made for the Protest theme. I really like your quilt, Jennifer, and next to it, mine feels serious. Though not entirely.

 

I made this quilt out of protest at the people who choose to pull the world apart. Through wars, greed or environmental destruction. Our globe is such a beautiful place, but it is so easily crumbled and torn to pieces by those few whose actions ruin it for everyone. Not all damage is reversible. I protest against the short-sighted, the greedy, the apathetic, and above all, against those who go to war needlessly. 

The font of the quilt is a globe, made up of bands of fabric. Flowers for beauty, camouflage print for militarism, and rich colours for the complicated mass of humanity. The globe is crumbling at the edge. The resulting shape is a little reminscent of a skull. Dangling pieces for the broken bits of lives and beauty smashed by war. 

On the back of the quilt, love can bloom in the midst of violence and warmongering. Love can be a spiky thing. It’s not all hearts and roses. The heart an image of blood, passion and unreason — strong emotions, sometimes god, sometimes destructive. There is a violent part inside humanity but we learn to live with it. To civilise ourselves. Be god to our neighbours. Walk lightly on the earth. 

I stitched this quilt in a 24-hour heat of inspiration provoked by thoughts of the injustice of war and the waste of environmental destruction. 

Serious? Yes, but that’s a part of life, too! 

Maybe the next one will have some sense of fun and humour in it again. We’ll see what shows up!

Bev

 

PS: I am still unable to load any new images, in whatever browser or machine I try. Bear with me. I think this is a Mac thing. 

Oh! My goodness

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

What a lovely quilt.

Jennifer, that quilt is so worth waiting for. I’m really, truly impressed. I know that life has thrown you some bumpy bits and way too much work recently, but this is lovely, and inspiring, and direct and honest and true. Your art is really growing somewhere, you know?Even the colours — although I chose them for you — they became yours somehow and I forgot that they weren’t exactly the fabrics you would choose for yourself.

A big standing ovation for you for this one! I love them all, but each new quilt is a delight to meet.

Bev

Okay, now I’m done with my quilt. Really.

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Hi Bev,

Yesterday I thought this quilt was “finished” and I posted the “final” photo. But the quilt was missing something and it bugged me all day. It needed some free-motion quilting, so I bought some invisible thread today at the fabric store and headed home to finish the job.

When I got done, the girls and I chased the setting sun to a patch of sidewalk across the street for a quick photo in fading natural light.

So, now, I think I’m finally finished. Really.

Cheers,

Jen

My ‘Posted Stitches’ Protest Quilt Is Finally Done

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Hi Bev.

It’s been too long since my last art quilt and it feels really good to finally finish this one. At first I struggled to decide what to protest. There are so many injustices and and conflicts in the world that it was difficult to choose one. In the end, I went with one of my biggest concerns: war.

Obviously, I decided to protest with a sense of humor, substituting “aprons” for “love” in the old “Make love, not war” protest.

Intellectually, I understand the reasons why wars are waged and support the Americans fighting overseas right now even thought I don’t agree with the circumstances under which the war started. I just don’t believe war is the best, most logical way to settle disputes. So, I decided to suggest one protest alternative that I haven’t heard before.

I know wars won’t end with peaceful craft sessions anytime soon, but wouldn’t it be great?

To make this quilt, I sketched out the design, then made my applique using a paper piecing method. To give the quilt some dimension, I decided to stuff the bust of the the woman’s T-shirt and make her apron hang off the quilt like a real apron.

I scrapped the first shirt I started embroidering because I changed my mind on the text. Before I settled on the war protest theme, I started stitching “Save the aprons” on the shirt. When I changed my mind, I had to cut a new shirt and start over. I’m glad I did.

So there you have it. Now it’s time to move on to our next project.

Cheers,

Jennifer

Pearls of wisdom, beads of hope, threads of tradition…

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

They say they’re coming out of Gaza. The protest quilt is done, a white-hot quick flash — like the news of this war as a flash amidst all the other themes in the news these days: gloom and hope, change and crumbling systems, and this flash of conflict against the always-looming dark clouds of the Middle East. Like I said, I don’t pretend to understand it.

I finished an amazing novel today. In the Skin of a Lion. The kind of novel that had me sitting at a cafe table longer than I intended in the 35-degree heat, clenching and unclenching one hand on the empty table (my plate long-gone), reading out the last few pages. Impervious to office boys in suits, yakking close at the next table. Close the book with a deep sigh.

It’s probably the sixth time I’ve read Michael Ondaatje’s book, but I keep hazy memories of it every time — only an image here and there (the men off to work in the dark morning; the red dog, August; sleeping amongst mushrooms in Italian darkness; the blue man on the roof). Beauty, sorrow, violence and pain — the feelings I had while I was stitching that Protest quilt — they’re all there in the book.

Somehow the heart glows amidst militarism; sometimes it’s spiky. We walk large in the skin of the brave lion; we become something else; we are small and we slip through – to dance, defiant.

What do I protest about?

Monday, January 19th, 2009

There are so many things to protest about.

- clearing forests, burning rainforest, laying waste to land

- landmines, injustice and totalitarianism

- apathy. About the real environmental cost of what we buy. Apathy about labour conditions for factory workers. About water use and food crises. Apathy is the worst of all.

I was going to make a quilt about apathy. The design was partly worked out, and the core meaning was absolutely clear to me: “Live your life with your brain on. Look and see. Now don’t just lie there, eating and buying stuff — do something!”

However small a contribution, actions and caring blast apathy out of the water.

But something else started to happen, and my quilt became a different thing. As I laid out your package of fabrics on the desk, Jennifer, I was listening to the radio. And there were missiles falling in the middle east again: Israel and Gaza: Gaza and Israel.

Some of my childhood memories are of the half-understood news of these kinds of conflicts. Images on the news at night, Israeli women soldiers, young, bombs in streets, families — and there’s me, living a sheltered and happy life in a quiet part of the world. Not guilt, but horrid fascination. Awareness of how things could have so easily been different: I could have been born in Afghanistan, the middle east, Angola, Cambodia — one of any number of countries ripped by wars I don’t, and won’t understand, in the years since I was born.

So this quilt became a record of anger, dismay and concern. Not understanding. A complete failure to understand why war is what happens. I stitched while the news reports came in, and finished as the land invasion began. My quilt is finished, but it’s not over – not for anyone on the ground in these cities, families and friends of local people, and anyone who is concerned, not apathetic about war in our world.

Bev

Green man for a southern summer

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

Whew! The whirl of Christmas is over, and the new year is here (in Australia it is… I can’t remember if you’ve crossed the dateline yet in North America… hazy memory tells me that you must be just about on midnight as I type this, late in the afternoon of New Year’s Day).

wisteria

They say you should start the year as you mean to go on. If that’s the case, this will be a good year! I started with a burst of energy, and a brisk one-hour walk all the way to the top of the Big Hill (say that bit in a deep voice), with a big bag of library books to be returned.

The main street is quiet after the New Year revels. Some bottles here and there, yuck. Unusually quiet: all the shops are shut.

We live in an area that was populated mainly by Italian and Greek immigrants in the mid-20th century, and although it has changed a lot, become a mix of the older Europeans and the younger students and couples, it’s still a street of one-family-owned small businesses. Italian wedding boutiques. Mediterranean gardens. Tiny houses. Cafes, cafes and cafes. A Greek market: big cans of olive oil stacked high in the front window. Dress shops, alterations and sewing classes, mmm, sewing classes…. More cafes. Only the Internet Cafe and the IGA were open this morning: one with a solo backpacker inside, and the other attracting the usual half-dozen wrinkled old Greek men to the benches outside. Kalimera. Good morning!

The other good things about today, as I mean to go on in 2009 are:

  • Reading a good book – I finished my fifth book in five days – bring on the holidays, I say.
  • Cooking up a storm: I’ve made Tuscan flatbread (schiacciata Toscana) with sea salt and rosemary, and olive oil drizzled into the knobbles; a fragrant stew, and some slow-cooked bolognaise sauce
  • Sewing my latest Posted Stitches quilt!

I was cheerfully zipping away on the next quilt, when I realised that the Green Man quilt had not been fully explained and shown in photos. He’s been sitting quietly on the side while the wild rumpus of Christmas flowed through the house. And here he is.

Green Man quilt

I have been wanting to do a Green Man quilt for quite a long time. This one was first drawn on paper, then I went over the pencil lines of my drawing in thick black pen. I could see these pen lines through the white cotton, so I traced the lines onto my cotton, and painted swirls of green, brown and yellow textile paint into the fabric until it was saturated wet with colour.

A night on the line, and it was dry: I ironed my fabric to set painted fabricthe colours, and started some stencils for the next step. These were simple leaf shapes cut out of freezer paper, which I ironed to the fabric (use a low setting). Once they were stuck to the fabric, out came those brushes, a sponge and the textile paints, and I painted or blotched in the leaves.

I also painted some extra fabric, which I cut, free-hand, into leaf shapes and swirls. Then, weeks and weeks of slow embroidery and random stitches. That was the part I found hard to leave behind!

He’s all done, and ready to join the rest of my PS quilts in their special plastic case. What are we going to do with them all when we have achieved our year’s worth of quilts?

cheers

Bev

So the secret is out!

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Jennifer,

You crack me up! And so does your husband. Only you would beautifully stitch quilting lines that suggest the – er – richness of odour. Only you would relate the conversation about the quilt!

It’s such a cute car, and a fun story… my old man (no, I am not referring to my husband!) looks somewhat of a different creature in contrast. My myths quilt is much more on the traditional legendary line! So I had to leave him for a day or two to let the air clear – so to say (can I use all of my bad puns in this post — please?)

I seem unable to insert images today, so I’ll post this, and be back later with pictures and the full story of the Green Man of Melbourne.

Bev

The Myth of the Man Who Didn’t Fart

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

I’m sorry if this quilt challenges your sensibilities, but I created it with the support and encouragement of my husband, the man farting in the quilt above.

I was driving him nuts obsessing about what kind of quilt I would make for the “Myths & Legends” theme. I was wavering between depicting “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and stitching Athena, the goddess of craft. But neither of these ideas really excited me.

Then we had this ridiculous conversation that went something like this:

Jeff: What don’t you do a quilt about my gas?

Me: (laughing) What?! That’s ridiculous.

Jeff: You believed I didn’t have a gas issue. That’s a myth.

Me: Yeah, that’s for sure. Are you okay with me making a quilt about that?

Jeff: Sure.

Me: Then consider it done.

Immediately, I knew what I had to do.

More than 12 years ago I fell in love with Jeff and proceeded to date him for two years before making the toxic discovery that he farts.

I know, I know, we all do. But not like this.

Soon after our summer 1998 wedding, my wonderful husband let his guard down and I started getting  gased out by noxious fumes. One day, after the air cleared I asked, “What the heck, dude? What’s going on? Did you just develop a post-nuptial condition? Where is all this gas coming from? You never did this before. Seriously, this is unbelievable.”

Jeff confessed to hiding his gas problem from me and explained that he took advantage of every opportunity to fart without me noticing while we were dating. The most common scenario is the one depicted above. While we were dating Jeff would open the car door for me and, once my door was closed, fart all the way around to the driver’s side of the car. This method worked great. He got to relieve pressure and I was left with the stench-free impression that he was a gentleman. Nothing like a marriage to shake out the truth.

I never imagined I would ever stitch a fart quilt, but I guess that’s part of life’s grand adventure – you never know what’s going to happen next.

And just because I’m feeling a bit vulnerable unveiling a quilt about farts, I want to share a short interview I recorded yesterday with Ryan Greaves, a young artist who is making fart art, too. Apparently this is a trend, people. Check it out…

Balance: Tree Pose

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Hi Bev.

It’s been days since our live reveal on Skype and I finally made time to photograph my quilt today. September’s challenge ended with a quilted butterfly doing a yoga pose. I’m not really sure how to explain this exactly. I had other plans, but this is what came out when I started working this piece. Do you love it when the unexpected happens?
I Iove butterflies and regard them as a symbol of life. They’re beautiful and delicate and graceful. I like yoga, too, but have difficultly fitting it into my schedule. And since my yoga class attendance is rather sporadic, I haven’t progressed much farther than the tree pose that the butterfly is doing above.

This is my rendition of balance. And I’m happy to report that I used pieces from all the fabric you sent. In fact, I’m sure that my commitment to try to use only your fabric lad me to the butterfly design. I knew I could use all those prints on the wings. Thanks for the inspiration.

Your balance quilt turned out fabulous! Way to use those paints and beads! You go, sister! Now we’re off to create October’s “Myths & Legends” quilt. The adventure continues…

Cheers!

Jennifer

P.S. I still need to post about the new method I tried out on this quilt. I didn’t forget. I’m just pressed for time.