Friday, January 21, 2022

Quilt Finishes for 2021 (and Beyond)Part 2: The Palimpsest Series

Palimpsest: something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.

During the second half of 2021 I dove into the Palimpsest Series. I take an old, tattered "base quilt" and create a new quilt on top of it, hopefully letting the character of the original quilt come through.

Those old quilts have such beautiful hand quilting in them, and their drape is so soft from use. I've adored working with them. Each one is different, of course, requiring different techniques and strategies to bring it to new life. Sometimes the entire original base quilt is covered, sometimes not. But the handquilting always shows on the back.

To gather them in one place, I post below the finished image of the first 11 of them, with brief captions. I am continuing the series here in 2022.

A vintage cloth childrens' book provided the imagery for this baby quilt.

Palimpsest #1.  Three different base quilt sections were joined to make the background.
Palimpsest #2. Vintage blocks, trim, and rick rack transform the base quilt.
Palmpsest #3. A favorite, tattered old quilt was restored with new patches and a new center.

Palmpsest #4. Many vintage textlile elements create the new compositional layer over the original base quilt.

Palimpsest #5. Over the top, this one is!

Palimpsest #6. This was laid out over a single piece of Pendleton wool, with a velour backing.
Palimpsest #7. The base quilt was overdyed and is the red that you see.
Palimpsest #8. Floral blockprints from India are featured.
Palimpsest #9. This draws on my years in crazy quilting.
Palimpsest #10. The base quilt was overdyed and you can still see its patterns. This quilt was an interpretation of an antique quilt owned by Julie Silber. See it here.
Palimpsesst #11, 80" X 80". The original quilt was such a wreck that only the border from it shows. But the drape is wonderful. I included old quilt blocks and part of a top, piecing of my own, fabric from India, France, and embroidery from Slovakia.
Palimpsest #12, 76" X 80". The base quilt is a 1980's mass-produced Double Wedding Ring imported from China. Hand dyed sky fabric, vintage curtains, and a few quilters' cottons completed the mix.
  What a joy this series has been for me.







Saturday, January 15, 2022

Quilt Finishes from 2021, Part 1: Illustrations

I started 2021 working on my illustration project, and got pretty far before I abruptly ended it. I'm proud of what I learned though, and will share a little about why I had to stop at the end of the post here.

This was the final sample using the technique I settled on for depicting figures in cloth. The models are my firefighter nephew Andy's wife Caylie and their daughter Lily.


This experiment was putting Lily in a collage context.


My sister and I had written a little story and all the poses by Caylie and Lily were to illustrate it. I decided to make the figures first and then put them into their backgrounds. These took a long time and really REALLY made me stretch.



One of my favorite work in progress photos of the whole year is of all of them together on my design wall.

I started making backgrounds for a few of them.

But the backstory to this project eventually overwhelmed me. My nephew Andy was diagnosed with brain cancer soon after I began these, and I used the making of them as a way to reach out to Andy especially (sending him lots of photos as he lay in bed in the hospital or at his home.)

It was also my way of coping with this terrible, inevitable loss.

Andy died April 25, 2021.  Two weeks later, I gave a long-scheduled interview with Michele Muska for the Quilt Alliance's Save Our Stories project. 

Michele did such a gentle job with me that it was a fun experience.  Here is the YouTube link to the 40 minute interview about my life in quilting:

I  talk about Andy and this project at the very end of the interview.

A few weeks after the interview, I realized that I could not continue with this project. It is just too painful. And I'm ok with that. I learned a lot, and Andy and I had a sweet connection via these little illustrations over his last months.

As in all the QSOS interviews, I do talk about the bottom line of what quilting means to me. If you tune in at the end, you will know what this image means.

Always and forever, Andy.....



Part 2 of my Quilt Finishes for 2021 will cover my Palimpsest series, which I turned to with intense focus after putting Andy's project away. Stay tuned...