The Year That’s Been

I thought I hadn’t been much affected mentally by the pandemic. I had my health and my art, and my family was safe. I used the extra time in isolation to explore mixed media – collage, gelli printing, painting. Thank you internet. Much of my sewn work was either long overdue finishes or scrappy pieces. Then I came to grips with two serious pieces I created over the past year. It seems my unconscious was having quite a response to the year, whatever I thought.

“Shattered,” the first piece, was based on a photo of a broken mirror. I distorted and recolored it in Photoshop and had Spoonflower print the result.

I chopped up the fabric and inserted strips of dyed damask and novelty yarn, but I found the result lacked something.

“Shattered” first draft

Finally, after this attempt was banished to the closet for months, I realized it needed color contrast. Back on the design wall it went, and I added orange.

As it now stands, with thanks to Jane Dunnewold for the grid reminder.

Of course, I still have to figure out how to quilt it, but I think it captures our lives during the past year with the orange representing slivers of hope. Funny how that solution emerged after the Covid vaccines were developed.

The second piece, “Letting Go,” was based on a photo taken by my friend Penny. It also used an edited photo printed on fabric, along with hand dyed fabric and a smidge of commercial fabric.

The original photo of steps on a hiking trail.

I drew an outline based on the photo, and made freezer paper templates. I had planned to piece the steps but decided I could get the effect I wanted with paint and quilting.

Before quilting and applique

After I added a lot of shading with water soluble crayons (Neocolor II) and netting, I realized I wanted the piece to represent a lightening of my burdens as I climbed to a less dark place. I created rocks as stand-ins for burdens, and appliqued them to the lower steps.

“Letting Go” quilted, 24 by 34 inches

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I don’t make “message” quilts. Chalk up another change to the past year.

13 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

13 responses to “The Year That’s Been

  1. Deb in Canada

    Great talent I see here. It has been rough but we will get thru it. Hang in there!

  2. It was a tough year. Hell, a tough 4 years. I’m starting to feel hopeful again, but there is a lot of work to do.

  3. Sue Mohr

    “Letting Go” is aptly named. There is definitely an “ahhhh”….release of breath and tension….quality about it.

  4. The transformation of your photos to art quilt and top is so good. I can really feel the weightiness presented in Letting Go, along with the dimension/perspective they cause me think about your title and words.
    I look forward to seeing how you quilt Shattered, the orange slivers seem the perfect decision.

    • Thanks. I find it tricky to work from a photo as my first instinct is often to try to copy it. For Letting Go I found it helpful to draw out the steps and change them a bit. I suspect Shattered will require FMQ, not my strongest skill.

  5. Barbara

    Love these. They have a real depth visually and emotionally.

  6. Donna

    I like message quilts.

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