Thursday, July 25, 2019

Plenty to Go Around

Plenty to Go Around
project: approximately 80" x 80"

If you have been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have already seen a number of posts with images of my new project. You can see the posts so far with the hashtag, #plentytogoaroundquilt. 

To begin, I wanted a lot of things from this project.  I wanted to play with design on a big scale. I wanted to play with batik.  I wanted to hand applique all the pieces, because I like the softness of the under-turned edge.  I wanted to make it all blue.  Because I LOVE blue.   I got the idea early this spring, but knew that I would wait until summer to start the dyeing. It turns out that turquoise dyes so much bolder when it is hot aside. I also wanted a big slow project that I didn't have to rush.  I found this project to be so big (in my mind), that it intimidates me.  Some days are harder than others to simply start working.  And worrying about the outcome takes away the joy.  On the days that I manage to work, I feel happy and closer to where I want to be, which is to be engaged in a deeply satisfying process. 

I started with the idea of some fawns and flowers and the image of a kaleidoscope.  I began drawing everything with a pencil on tracing paper.  Once I found a satisfying shape, I would outline it with a black sharpie to increase visibility. Then I duplicated the shapes, many times, all by hand, and cut out the pieces.  I taped together a giant piece of white paper for the backdrop.  Then I was able to move all the pieces around to play with the composition.  Since all the pieces are tracing paper, they tended to move with the slightest breeze.  So I would tape them into place, which also means removing or cutting the tape when I changed my mind and decided to move them to a different location.  I started with a six sided symmetry, but did not eventually choose to keep it.  This was disappointing for many reasons, but mostly because I just didn't want to give up the hexagon.  When I opted for the 4 sided symmetry, all my design problems just fell away, and I felt the joy I was seeking.
Next, I took a photograph of it, and then printed it.  I played with copic markers to get an idea of the colors.  I thought of just using photoshop to fill the areas, but it was too tedious, and the markers were more fun! I also made a few mistakes, so I just printed a new page to color....several times. 
Then it was time to start making all the pieces.  It took me about 12 weeks.  There were a total of 28 fat quarters that I drew, then batiked, and then dyed.  Some took multiple batik and dye steps.  Some also used bleach discharge.  The first eight fat quarters I made, which included 4 fawns, and 4 big flowers, were great for practicing, but ultimately did not work for the project, so I had to start over. All had to be boiled to get the wax out, and washed and ironed.  It's a lot of work, but so incredibly satisfying! 

I look forward to sharing the progress I have made so far. Stay tuned!