Monday, March 30, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

A Few of My Favorite Things
36" x 48"
My first invitational. I was excited and scared at the same time. No ideas, and then too many ideas. Would I rise to the challenge?? (Sorry, I couldn't resist that one!). Eventually, I got this idea and knew it was the right one!
This is actually me! Climbing a strenuous roof crack at Enchanted Rock State Park. Strenuous may be an understatement. I mean this one was REALLY HARD. I fell too many times to count. And I never would have made these moves without the help of my two spotters and the belayer on the other end of the rope. Each time I fell, the rope would catch me. I rested (and rested and rested), got back on at my high point, and then tried another move. Got it!! And then slipped out again, only to be caught again by the rope. That's what makes this such a beautiful metaphor for life. We all need support, it helps us get to where we are now. I am thankful for all the support that I have gotten through the years. And there is nothing like having children to make you appreciate all the things your parents did for you, so thanks mom and dad!
The theme of this show is EDGES. And though this lovely climb looks like such a beautiful edge, the irony is that climbers don't consider this climb an "edge climb". Ha, ha! It works for me though. And, maybe it explains why I like edges in my art. They make me feel secure. A nice edge, you can climb into and rest, or stand on securely. I did this piece in all batik (eh, sort of). It took about 7 or 8 layers of batik and dye to get to this point. Some of the top section I used bleach discharge in patches. Then I waxed the whole section, and etched in some more texture and dyed again. There were a number of mistakes, yet I persevered. For a total risk, I opted not to measure any of my, THAT is scary!!!! I couldn't decide what to do with the sky, and that's when I decided to make this into a bit of a travel poster about my favorite crack climbs at Enchanted Rock. It is a wonderfully huge granite batholith in central Texas and only an hour and a half from Austin. Exfoliating flakes make these huge and wonderfully exposed boulders. There are hundreds, and hundreds of climbs, and I only had room for the names of a few here. I quilted the letters with white thread, and then went over them with white Tsukineko Inks. Look for it first at IQA: Long Beach.
And last, though this piece looks totally different from Vertigo, maybe now you can see why I associated climbing with overcoming fear.


Allie said...

It's official. You're my favorite quilt artist. That is SPECTACULAR. My feed dogs drop before the master.

Martha Tsihlas said...

Wonderful piece!!. I couldn't figure out if the names were stenciled or appliqued. Do you mind sharing?
Thanks and keep on blogging.

Barb Forrister said...

Hey Kathy,

This is a fantastic piece! Great composition. It's so you!

Cindy said...

Oh Kathy, I LOVE this piece! And I can see my son in it! He loves to climb. I'm back in Chicago now but sitting in our flat in Hong Kong, when I look out my window towards the mountain, I can see the climbers every weekend & holiday climbing the mountain. From where I sit in the comfort of my loungeroom, I feel so scared for them, especially when I see them fall!

I don't mind climbing inside but would never have the guts to do it outside. It is so challenging & exhilarating - all at the same time!

I love your colours & your work. I hope that I get to see them up close at some point. You are very inspiring. Something I desperately need as I try to get back into the cold of Chicago after beautiful weather in HK.

Vickie Hallmark said...


I'll look forward to seeing it in person.

JJ said...

This is a very cool quilt!!! But here I am thinking, you are a rock climber, too???? How many other talents do you possess? If you tell me you play violin I am going to get very depressed!


Kathy York said...

Well, I was a rockclimber, before children, and I can still climb hard, but I rarely choose to go because I am usually hip deep in a quilting project.
However, it so funny that you should mention the violin! My son is a musical savant. He started orchestra this year and the cello. But he got tired of practicing, so I decided to try the violin so that I could practice with him. AH, for lofty goals!! So technically I do play the violin, at least 2 strings on it, so far....however, most people who hear me, do NOT believe that I play it because it sounds so bad.

Elaine Millar said...


I love your quilt. The colors are fabulous and the design is so good.