Eclipse: Final *Four-in-Art* Art Quilt

 

Eclipse_fourinart_frontEclipse • Quilt #189
Four-in-Art, Series Four: Light
12″ square

Click to enlarge any photo.

This is the final post of our Four-in-Art Art Quilt group.

Our group had its genesis when I saw the Twelve-by-Twelve group at a quilt show. Rachel and I emailed back and forth about maybe trying to make some art quilts.  I think we had done tons of regular quilts, and were looking for something new.  The idea was to put out a theme, create a quilt around the theme and maybe try a new technique while we were at it.  It started with just four quilters who wanted to try something, so we called ourselves Four-in-Art, and I made up a logo, incorporating the idea of four:

Sometime later, we added four more quilters, then switched the scheduling to four times a year, so we were still Four-in-Art.  We created a blog to post our quilts, for once you archive, you are real.

 Here is an overview of my quilts: (By the way, I am following the newspaper convention of captioning underneath my photos, so look there for details.
Year 1: Nature

We took turns coming up with the overarching theme for the year, then again, turns for the quarterly challenges.  The challenges are, from the upper left: Queen Anne’s Lace, Tree(s), Fire, Owl.  It was liberating to craft this way, without getting out too many rulers or drafting things on the computer (see below for a glimpse of my journal).

Year2_FourinArtYear 2: Urban  Quarterly Challenges (from upper left): Maps, Structure, Landmarks, Contrast, Light (we seem to like this topic).Year 3: Literature  —  We could choose what segment of literature to focus on.  Some did a series of novels, Nancy did a series of children’s books’ titles, which she then donated to her local library, and I did a series of poems.  I love the poems, pretty much hate these quilts, for a variety of reasons.  Year 4: Color, and the challenges (again, from upper left): Microscopic, Music, Purple Passion, and I’ve Got the Blues.

And this year’s, with the yearly theme of Light.  The quarterly challenges were: Shimmer,  Light in the Darkness, Stained Glass Shadows, and Illumination.

It’s very satisfying to notice the growth, the steps backward, the consequence of leaving things to the last minute, and how having enough time impacts what you can create.  I also learned new techniques, new ways of doing things, new ways to incorporate design beyond the grid and have it mean something.

A few pages from my notebook/sketchbook.  It really helped to keep one of these, and not just for the journaling.  I was often able to arrive at an idea for my quilt through drawing out (that old mysterious hand-brain connection) and writing out my feelings about the theme and the challenge.

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(I came back in later and pasted in the four quilts we did under that theme.)

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It was also a place to keep patterns, those bits and pieces of paper that led me to the final quilt, as well as notes and thoughts while on the run:

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Pages about this quilt (the second page is digitally pasted on top of the first).  You can see the rejected ideas.

This little quilt, Ted and Maurice at Lorinc Pap Ter, is my favorite, not only for the idea of Contrast which it expresses (and was our challenge for this 12″ square quilt), but also because I learned how to print photos onto fabric [making my own photo-ready fabric, not buying it] and had a great time doing this.

I have more than one that qualifies for the Least-Favorite-Maybe-Even-Hate, so I won’t tell you which ones.  But I can share the why: when I was trying to be too “artsy” and didn’t let the idea drive the design, or when I forced the design, or when I was new at this and just had no clue how to execute the idea.

Four-in-Art Index

I used to have a dedicated page for all the Four-in-Art quilts, but recently I was cleaning out around here and filed them away in the Master Index to my quilts.  Now they are all on the 200 Quilts page, making them easy to find.  Slowly I’m going through the posts, adding the tag “Technique” to those pages that show how I tried a new way of doing things, or a new method.  I hope they will be helpful for you (use my search engines to the right–Wordpress has outstanding search capability).

It’s been a wonderful journey, these past five years, and my hat is off to those who started — and stuck — with me: Rachel and Betty.  They were some of the best companions to have alongside me as I traveled this road.  Other travelers were Leanne (SheCanQuilt), Anne (SpringLeaf Studios), Amanda, Carla, Jennifer, Nancy (Patchwork Breeze), Simone (Quiltalicious), Susan (PatchworknPlay), and Camilla.  Finally, Catherine (Knotted Cotton) and Janine (Rainbow Hare), who were also members, will be carrying this art quilt group forward, through their Endeavorers.  Click on their links to be taken to their blogs. And thank you for reading this WHOLE thing.

Now, please enjoy the final round of quilts for the Four-in-Art group!

Betty        Blogpost on Four-in-Art

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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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.

Rose Window_front

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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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.

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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_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

Halfway There_9

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.

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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Six Ways to Blue, a Four-in-Art quilt for November 2016

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Six Ways to Blue
Quilt #169, November 2016
19 1/2″ high by 21″ wide
#4 in the Color Series: I’ve Got the Blues

Blues can mean too many things, all at once.  Peacefulness, depression, sadness, the thrill of a line of music (a wailing saxophone), my favorite crayon in the box and the color of my husband’s eyes.  I could think of references to blues six ways to Sunday and never run out of things to link that color to: ocean, sky, geysers, crystals, ice, flowers.

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Blue also has a powerful connotation to mood.  The other day when I was feeling a bit blue, my blue-eyed son surprised me with a FaceTime call from London, just before he was calling it a day (having traveled through the blue skies and over the big blue ocean to get there). We chatted about his recent travels to Madrid, our travels to Lisbon last year, where we together with my blue-eyed husband saw the azulejos (blue and white tiles) of that country.  It lifted my spirits, and I was thankful for his true-blue devotion and caring.

The only ancient people who had the word blue in their vocabulary were the Egyptians, largely because they had developed a blue dye.  In 1858 a scholar named William Gladstone, who later became the prime minister of Great Britain studied Icelandic sagas, the Koran, ancient Chinese stories, and an ancient Hebrew version of the Bible. Of Hindu Vedic hymns, he wrote: “These hymns, of more than ten thousand lines, are brimming with descriptions of the heavens. Scarcely any subject is evoked more frequently. The sun and reddening dawn’s play of color, day and night, cloud and lightning, the air and ether, all these are unfolded before us, again and again … but there is one thing no one would ever learn from these ancient songs … and that is that the sky is blue.” (from here)

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Wikipedia notes that the clear sky and the deep sea appear blue because of an optical effect known as Rayleigh scattering. When sunlight passes through the atmosphere, the blue wavelengths are scattered more widely by the oxygen and nitrogen molecules, and more blue comes to our eyes. Rayleigh scattering also explains blue eyes; there is no blue pigment in blue eyes.

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We’re not the only artists inspired by the blues.

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Untitled Blue Monochrome (1960)

Yves Klein (1928-1962) was a French artist who worked with a chemist to create a startling Ultramarine Blue when he mixed powder with synthetic resin.  He patented this as IKB: International Klein Blue, and became known for his use of this color.

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When Klein came to California to work as a visiting artist, Edward Kienholz “gave him this kit as a welcome gift, providing Klein with tools to create…while away from his home studio.”  The valise, which has a tag that reads “resident of the universe,” includes “such things as a spray can of IKB paint, a page of instructions, [and] a jar labeled GRIT” (text taken from National Gallery of Art label next to painting).

“Klein’s attraction to blue was rooted in his belief that it was the least material color: ‘All colors bring forth associations of concrete ideas, while blue evokes all the more the sea and the sky, which are what is most abstract in tangible and visible nature.”

I love blue in all its variants, and enjoyed bringing the abstract to the tangible in cloth and thread.

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We will begin again next year with a new challenge, going on our fifth year.  We have people who join us, leave us, but a few of us keep going on.  Please visit the other members of our group and see how they interpreted this challenge:

Betty         on Flickr

Camilla         faffling.blogspot.co.nz

Catherine       www.knottedcotton.com

Janine      www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone         quiltalicious.blogspot.com

Susan         patchworknplay.blogspot.com

We also have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, where you can find us all.

FYI: The next post talks about the construction, the pattern I used, and the next challenges,
and why I want to make this all over again (because some parts really bug me).

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