Thursday, April 4, 2013

Medusa: Minis & Fourth Major Quilt

I may have not written for a while but I have been busy as a bee in the studio. I have begun work on my fourth major quilt which is to be a part of my recent body of work. I am trying to build a body of work so that I can begin to show in major juried venues. The larger quilts do take tons of work and time and in order to get 10 of them all done within say a year of each other, I have decided to look at them like a horse race. All of them have to get started at the same time and end up done at about the same time. But in between, I will be pulling one ahead a bit, moving to another to move it up a bit and continuing in this way until all of them are close to the finish line. That way my dates will be similar and current for showing. Unconventional, I know, but it's necessary for me at this time as they take so much time and I am in essence at the beginning of my "professional" life as an artist.

Above you see three tissue drawings for three minis which are adapted from the original drawing of Medusa. I like to use tissues for the minis as I can line up the fabric pieces below the tissue before ironing, making piecing faster and more accurate.

The first drawing is of the face and hair (serpents) of Medusa. I have only cut the pieces and ironed some of them down; none of the stitching is started yet. In the story of Medusa, she is a beautiful woman who was turned into a monster. This drawing depicts the moments before she realizes what has become of her, the transition from beauty to beast. Her eyes here are not in place as they are slits - they're shut - she is not in a conscious state. They will be created from stitching. I had so much fun picking 'snakish' fabric.

The next mini is a shot of her torso. She is arching as if she is falling backward in complete trust, as someone swimming might arch backward to do a somersault in the water. Her beautiful long hair is beginning to change to the snakes that we all know her by. This moment of trust and tranquility is about to be broken forever. I have played a bit with the skin coloration. I am liking the green but leaning towards the grayer more blue green of the first mini. It really looks deathly.

Super Mario, my little muse is still hanging out with me in the studio. I know that when she chooses a pile of fabric to sit on that it is indeed the right colorway that SHE has chosen for me. She has discovered that when I absentmindedly leave the door open to my armoire holding all of my fabrics, that it is a wonderful place to hide; warm and dark. Just the ticket until I close the doors with her in it. I have a real hard time locating her sometimes, she is a master of disappearance.

And here is the full size cartoon of Medusa, on my work wall. She is 3' x 5 1/2' before edging. You may now notice the arm which is reaching to grab her/hold her, shake her from a dream perhaps. The next image in time of her would be so much different, so much more the beast that we all know of. The lilies represent the purity of her dreams about to be forever broken. The army of snakes pours into her reality. I haven't yet decided but the army may continue into other areas of the piece even if it is only a subtle army only of stitching. And so begins my story of Medusa.

Above is a shot of my studio as it is today. As spring settles in I am getting spring fever to change, alter, fix things which includes the studio. Straight ahead you can see vertical blinds closed over a walkout slider which goes to a small deck. I hate vertical blinds but I have put up with them because they block out the eastern exposure sun. This needs to be changed, soon. I need some more track lights as my night time lighting is OK at best. I also need to move my work wall to my direct left in the picture and double it. 

I've been thinking lately about the possibility of teaching workshops in my studio as it is certainly large enough. I have really settled into the techniques that I use and for so many years all I have been doing really is practicing. This would certainly help me to stay out of the retail world that I really don't want to go back into. Working for retail businesses is way to stressful for this old girl. But I need to find a way to cover what I lost, the price of health insurance for two. I encourage comments from my readers who already may be teaching. During the Conference for SAQA in New Mexico, I hope to pick a few brains as to how one gets started and what I may need. In the meantime I will be sprucing up the studio, oiling my machines, and doing some homework. 

OK, enough chatter. I need to get into the studio and either piece out the third mini, or start sewing the other two. Off to work...


  1. The way you're portraying Medusa -- her evolution from beauty to beast -- is a different approach, and the process so far is wonderful.

    Your studio looks great to me -- very large and bright! However, mine has a SW exposure and I know what you mean about controlling the light.

    Looking forward to more in your series!

  2. Thank you so much Margaret, it's really nice to get feedback.