Rose Window • Four-in-Art Quilt

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It’s Four-in-Art Challenge Reveal day today, the penultimate challenge in 2017.  We began this art mini-quilt group in November of 2012, and we are in our fifth year.  Bette, Rachel and I have been with the group since the beginning, with additions and changes here and there.  It’s been wonderful to have this to look forward to four times a year, a chance to stretch and try some new things, all contained in a mini-quilt (we are more flexible with the size now, but originally, it had to be contained in a 12″ square).

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Rose Window
13 1/2″ wide by 18″ long
Quilt Number 185

Since I chose the challenge of Stained Glass Shadows, obviously I’m in love with the highly saturated blocks of color left on the floors of cathedrals and churches when the sun shines through stained glass windows.  I originally thought I’d try some figurative work, but the colors are what always catch my eye.

So I began with the warm tones, adding the layers of earth-colors as they moved toward the bottom, and celestial-colors as it moved upward.

I also knew that somewhere on this quilt there had to be a Rose Window, that enormous circular window high above entryway doors.

Then it was quilt the background, and I went with the idea of the rose window as the center, with thread-streams of color coming out from there: navy and deep colors from the top and the warmer yellow-orange-red tones as the sun filters downward through the stained glass. My solid fabrics are Paintbrush Studio Solids, and the thread is Magnifico by Superior Threads (with Bottom Line in the bobbin) with some So Fine here and there, as the color dictated.

Details of Rose Window quilting.

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Back of quilt, with standard label, and added corners for easy hanging.

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Please visit the others in our Four-in-Art group, and see how they interpreted the Challenge of Stained Glass Shadows:

Betty        Blogpost on Four-in-Art

Camilla         http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

All of our blocks are on our blog, Four-in-Art.

Our next challenge is Illumination, and will post on November 1st.

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National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

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Stained glass window from Prague Cathedral, by Edward Mucha

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Rose Window, Italy

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Four-in-Art Quarterly Challenge: Stained Glass Shadows

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Shadow owes its life to light.
~an old saying

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I am to provide the theme for our next quarterly challenge, and I choose Stained Glass Shadows.  I love the saturated lights left on floors, walls, and benches in cathedrals by brilliantly lit stained glass windows and I wanted to make that my challenge.stainedglassshadow_3

Sometimes the colors play with what’s already there: think of the duality of jewel tones spilling ephemerally onto hard marble surfaces.
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I like how sometimes they look like they’ve been through the Holi Festival of Colors, as if the surfaces had been doused in brightly colored chalks and powdery hues.stainedglassshadow_5 stainedglassshadow_6 Think of transparency and playing with color blending.  Many edges on stained glass shadows are soft, blurring into the other colors.stainedglassshadow_7

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All photos were taken by my husband or I, in the National Cathedral, in Washington, D.C.

While the opposite of light is dark, in shadows, the darkness is doubled down, softened, the shapes revealing as well as obscuring.  A whole new conversation can happen with shadows.

Reveal date is August 1, 2017.

 

Halfway There

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Halfway There
Quilt # 180
13-1/2″ wide by 20″ tall

That night, I was alone in bed in the guest room, five pillows behind me and one to each side, propping me up in a sitting position.  I couldn’t lay down to sleep as it was too painful, so I semi-sat there, my head leaning back on the pillows, staring up at the ceiling.

My husband Dave had tucked me in that night, as he had done every night since the rotator cuff surgery three weeks earlier, helping me find the right position for the pillows, touching my cheek, making sure I knew he loved me, then turned out the light and walked down the hallway to our bedroom that now seemed oh, so far far away.  I felt adrift on a sea of pillows.

Halfway There_4detailI tried to shift slightly, trying to move to a more comfortable position: there wasn’t one. The pain pills they gave me from surgery had been effective, but unfortunately their side effect was ever-present weeping, so I’d ditched them a couple of weeks earlier, relying instead on acetaminophen, which barely tamped down the pain and discomfort.  I was pretty much a mess.Halfway There_3I gazed at the ceiling, waiting for that sleep that wouldn’t come — hadn’t come, since I’d moved from the uncomfortable recliner chair two days post-surgery and had come off the prescribed drugs.  The light from the white Christmas lights we’d left in the laurel bush outside the window shone up through the slatted blinds, casting a linear design on the ceiling.

I studied that pattern of line-upon-line, trying to let it dissimulate the discouragement: there was three more weeks of the sling, the sleeplessness, the being away from my husband, the not-sewing, the one-handedness, the inability to be present in my own life, the trying to be cheerful for whole minutes at a time.  Three more weeks of pain.  Three more weeks of the uncomfortable sling and the loneliness.  Three down, three to go.

The shadows were linear like the slats in the blinds: they started light, the bright lines gradually decreasing until the dark bands became more prominent, obliterating the light.  Half shadow, half light.  Half of each.  The realization that I was halfway there settled into the cracks in my fractured thinking.  The timer on the Christmas lights clicked off, all was shadow and I finally fell asleep, exhausted by the pain, the mental struggle — and, as anyone who has been through this knows — the isolation.Halfway There_7Halfway There_8Halfway There_10backOur theme this year is Light, and Camilla chose this quarter’s theme of Light in the Darkness.  I certainly had time to think about it.  I loved the nuance and the subtlety of it, and was glad to figure out how to interpret it.Halfway There_11label

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There is no deconstruction post for this art quilt.  I had to cut off lots of outside edges when I trimmed up my Piggies! quilt blocks, and used those pieces to make a “whole cloth” of low-volume prints to be my “ceiling” fabric, as we have those old-time popcorn ceilings with texture. Using flat white cloth didn’t seem right for what I had seen night-after-night. I also liked that all those blocks sent from my friends helped pull me along and out of the sadness and loved their significance in this quilt, and appreciated anew all the encouraging comments from those who cheered me on (thank you).  The darkness seemed to have a texture of its own as well.  I did indeed have time to study it, and thought this seed print from Australia would stand in well for the shadows seen by a quilter, staring at the ceiling, late into the night.

It’s my turn to announce the next theme so look for it in my next post.  And my recovery?  It’s going well.  I’m now past the three-month mark and while occasionally achy, don’t have much pain.  I go to physical therapy regularly.  When I hit the 12-week mark, my therapist said, “You’re about halfway there.”  I guess that finish line moves, depending on the perspective; I do expect at six months I will hear it again.

You’ll notice that the quilt is sometimes light-on-top and sometimes dark-on-top.  I think it works either way.

Last thought: when I stood in the aisles at Road to California this past year, not buying anything,  I hoped that by next year’s quilt conference I would be able to say it was all done and all behind me.

I still have that hope.

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Please take the time to visit the other Four-in-Art Quilters in our Fifth year, as they interpret their visions of Light in the Darkness:

Betty        Backyard Camping

Camilla         http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

All of our blocks are on our blog, Four-in-Art.

Deconstruction of Shimmery Tunnel of Memories • Four-in-Art Feb. 2107

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This is the deconstruction post for my recent Four-in-Art Challenge of Shimmer.

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First off: what a lame title.  I had another name picked for this (“Multiverse Snapshot”) which is a much cooler name, but I’d forgotten that I had chosen it, and instead on the label put this blathery clichéed title.  Now that you know how I really feel about it, I’ll tell you how I put this together. (And no, I’m not making another label.)

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I wanted to recreate the little specks of light from Multiverse (see previous post), so cut strips of silvery metallic fabric.  This is leftover fabric from my friend Lisa’s American Flag project (a flag the size of a basketball court); she rescued me when I couldn’t find my own lamé in my sewing room. Just for the record, that stuff is a challenge to work with: the strands kept going off on their own, as you can see above.shimmerytunnel_2

I wanted the vantage point to be off the piece, so I drew a dot on a post-it note off the paper, but when that didn’t prove to be a far enough vantage point, I went further to the left, making the radiating lines in red pencil.shimmerytunnel_3

I had some strips of solids leftover from this quilt, and put them into use.shimmerytunnel_4

After sandwiching the silver/black fabric, I cut it into narrow strips.shimmerytunnel_5

I seamed a couple of those strips end-to-end, laid the resulting longer strip in the center, and chose a bright solid to lead off the piece, and stitched down one side.  I went back and forth between doing this piece in a series of gray and black fabrics vs. rainbow, but knew that I didn’t have a wide enough range to get the effect of Multiverse, so changed it up to a muted rainbow.shimmerytunnel_6

I pinned it on, flipped it over and sewed on the drawn lines, for the most part.  Sometimes I went narrower, but used these lined to keep the correct angle going.shimmerytunnel_7

A good beginning.  You can see by the red cast of this photograph that I’m sewing at night.

A lot of times I’m tired at the end of the day and don’t want to sew, but then I say: “What do I want to have done before I go to bed tonight?” and head back into the sewing room.  Often just working for ten or so minutes will engage me enough to keep going at it for at least an hour.

I was feeling a lot of pressure to get this sewn up ahead of time, because I knew that I would have had a surgery when this posted (it happened about a week ago: a repair to a severed tendon on my rotator cuff) and I knew I’d be unable to complete this, or any sewing at all, for some time.shimmerytunnel_8

But hopefully it will be good to get the pain gone (cause is referenced here) and my shoulder back in working condition.shimmerytunnel_9

I almost like the back better than the front.  If I had any creative guts at all, I would have gone with this.  My professor in my digital art class once told me: “You have a problem with tidiness in your art.”  Yep, I’m all about the tidiness, as long as you don’t look at my garage.  Or sewing room.shimmerytunnel_10

I stitched around the outside edge to stabilize it, and went to bed.shimmerytunnel_11

After thinking it over and drawing all sorts of fantastical loopy lines on scratch paper, I went linear, quilting on the cottons, not that silvery shredding lamé.shimmerytunnel_12

Done.

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I backed it with this new piece of fabric, “Dropping Seeds” by Roseanne Morton.  Okay, I want this fabric in ALL colors; it’s terrific.  I chose a simple black very narrow binding, and did my usual two squares-folded-on-the-diagonal-and-sewn-into-the-top-corners for how I’ll hang it.  (I put a dowel cut to size in those “pockets” and suspend the piece on a pushpin or nail.) Happy Shimmering!

Next quarter’s challenge, due May 1st,  is Light in the Darkness.

Four-in-Art February 2017: Shimmery Tunnel of Memories

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Every time I head to Washington, DC and go to the National Gallery of Art, I head downstairs to go through this light insulation by Leo Villarreal, titled Multiverse.  The lights are static, then blinking, then shimmering, then moving and I never tire of it.

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Shimmery Tunnel of Memories, Quilt #177
Four-in-Art, Series Four: Light
10 1/2″ wide 16″ high

Our Four-in-Art art quilt group’s yearly theme for 2017 is Light, and our first quarterly challenge was shimmer.

multiverse_1Shimmer is best captured in movement, in seeing the light flicker and move and wink and flash, so it was a hard one to interpret in cloth.  But I had taken a snapshot of Multiverse on a trip to DC, and used that as inspiration for this challenge.

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I’ll do the Deconstruction on the this quilt in the next post.

Please visit the others in our Four-in-Art group, and see how they interpreted the Challenge of Shimmer:

Betty        Sun Shimmer, Filtered

Camilla         http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

All of our blocks are on our blog, Four-in-Art.

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