Friday, September 2, 2016

Lady Feather Has Arrived

My feet are swollen with the heat and sitting for hours on end in one place stitching for nearly a week straight and I am bone tired but the lady is done and has been entered into a show - two days before deadline even. She certainly was a high maintenance kind of girl!

In this shot I had laid different components on top of what was stitched down so I could get an idea of how she was coming out and how the colors were "playing" together. It was at this point that I discovered that I had no pink dogwood fabric. Carol Eaton came to my rescue with a perfect piece of fabric which she mailed out to me. The sky fabric is hers as well, so a good chunk of this piece has a bit of Carol in it.

Continuing from my first two posts about the "Lady", I found that creating this piece was way more full of layering than any other quilt I have done to date.

Simple components like the birds were easier. I fused them onto muslin together and popped them onto the quilt. Soon they were ready to be quilted. 

The flowers went on pretty easily as well. Each flower was fused to muslin first and then over the quilt to mask the stitching underneath for the sky. However the tiny bits of white at the tip of each dogwood flower were sewn separately and each thread had to be tied off and buried in the back. If I had a nickel for every time I buried cut thread, I'd be rich!

What really took time and brainpower was layering the feather quiltlets, her right arm, the Mourning Dove, her blond locks, and the handle for the mask. They all converged into one area. I ended up adding padding between areas like the feathers so that the fingers, which were on top, were stitched on an even surface. It became like a game of puzzles that I had to solve.

But it did get finished in time to have it photographed. And to enter it two days early for a call. Which call? Quilt National '17.

My detail shot (yes those are real feathers sewn on her mask)...
and here is the reveal...

43" x 42"
Completed August, 2016
Commercial and Hand-dyed cotton, silk and organza; fused, discharged and machine stitched with leather cord and feathers as embellishment

OK, so let's talk about the elephant in the room. This is my first time entering Quilt National. It has been my number 1 goal to get accepted into QN since I first saw a QN catalog back in the 1990's, twenty years ago. I feel that only now, after years of practice and building a reasonable body of work, am I ready to try. But the reality is that countless artists submit many times before getting accepted (if at all), which in a biennial show means double the years of waiting. I am staring straight down the barrel of a loaded shotgun that's aimed directly at my heart. I am expecting that it will go off and I will have to deal with rejection. 

My good friend Sue Bleiweiss just wrote an article for her blog on rejection and how necessary it is towards fueling the hard work we need to create growth and expertise. Her thoughts are right on the money! My first five entries into exhibits ever were met with acceptance, which is down-right unusual. Then I got a bucket full of rejections and I feel that I am somewhat numbed to the sting at this point. I have been twice rejected from Visions. But honestly, you can't let it get you down and you have to just keep trying harder.

So, come the first week of October we all will know who did get into Quilt National. No matter what the outcome, I will be submitting a piece every time the QN call comes up from now on. I'm already thinking about 2019!


I have another deadline approaching. I have mentioned Apollo in previous posts. I have just begun to really get into it. I am working the background areas like a landscape and adding foreground wildflowers layered on top. Lastly will come the Alpine Apollo butterflies which are sipping from the nectar of thistles. If Lady Feather nearly killed me, Apollo surely will finish me off! I will be posting as it gets going into full blast. 

To get into the mood, I visited a butterfly garden in Westford, MA with a friend this past Monday. It was just amazing, they were everywhere! Here are some photos I took.

And not that long ago in the beginning of August...

SAQA MA/RI had a call for entry this spring and I juried into the exhibit called "Currents". It opened August 7 at the Brush Art Gallery & Studios in Lowell, MA. It was wonderful seeing so many people there to take in the opening!

Here I am with my entry called Reunion, which was taken from a photograph of Multnoma Falls outside of Portland, OR.

And one came home...

Mariposa has been touring with "Butterfly Whirl" and the tour has finally ended. She is back home. I decided that life is too short not to enjoy every minute, so I hung the girls in my bedroom. I say "good night" to them each night with a chuckle under my breath. 

Next post you will be seeing some of Apollo...