Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Down in the River to Pray

Did you guess this one???  I'm not sure who did the palm trees, but I do know who did the elephant. And mine was neither of those :). The rules of this challenge were - pick a word, pick a color, pick a technique (all out of a bag).  Then, the word had to be in the title of a song, and the song had to be the theme of the quilt.
This is what I wrote to describe my quilt.
I'm not super comfortable with art quilts, and that's what made this a good challenge.  I'd had this piece of fabric for a while and I knew it had the look I wanted for the sky.  Trying to find fabric to represent mountains, water, ground, etc. is always a challenge and I didn't want to have to buy a lot, so I was hoping it was in my stash.  Several different batiks did the job for the mountains.
Next came the trees, shoreline, water.  I was really liking it at this point.
I checked with a friend of mine who's an art teacher to make sure I had the perspective right.
Here you see the bench and the rust colored foreground.  Once I realized I had the title of the song wrong and elminated the bench, I knew that something else was wrong, I just couldn't figure out what.
The next few pictures show the angst I was having with the foreground.  What I finally decided was that the rust was all wrong.  So I went for the grass/pebble look.
Here I was tring to create a shadow under the tree.
When I finally realzied the rust was wrong, I began to just pile on possible choices.  I liked all the other parts of this quilt and it frustrated me that I couldn't get this part right, especially when it was right in the front.
This is when you walk away and just do something else.  Fortunately, I had some time left before the challenge was due so I waited for this quilt to talk to me.  Unfortunately, it didn't talk very loud.
I just pushed on until I had to make a choice.  After days of fiddling with the fabric, I knew I was getting close - or close enough for me.  I still didn't think it looked great, but I was at the point where I needed to just fuse this thing down, quilt it and be done!
It was finally time to quilt - yay!! I didn't feel like it needed a lot of quilting.  I went with just impressionistic quilting - I'm still not sure if I like the quilting or not.  
My technique was embroidery - not my strong suit.  So I decided to just do some birds flying by.
So here it is.  I think my favorite part is the water and the cat.  I love that it seems the cat is patiently waiting for his owner to finish so they can go home.
As always, I learned a lot.  Acutally, what I realized is that I'm really more comfortable with applique or pieced quilts.  I'll keep trying things outside my box, but hopefully I'll feel more equipped next time.
Happy stitching,


Vivian said...

Following the process of a quilt--step by step, decision by decision--is one of my favorite things to read online. We can all learn something by reading what another quilter went through. Thanks for sharing this story with us, Karen. I love that Alison Krauss song as well, and as soon as I read the title (both the right and wrong versions), I pictured the scene where it's sung in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" It's a beautiful song, and this is a beautiful little picture.
PS: Glad you didn't forget to add your kitty. What a fun tradition.

QuiltSue said...

That is amazing, and I really enjoyed following your thought processes as you were making it. Thank you. Oh yes, I loved seeing the cat sitting in the shade under the tree too.

Karen said...

An enjoyable read about your thought process in creating your art piece. An interesting challenge theme too. You did good.

Cathy said...

I'm so glad you included us in your journey making this quilt. It is beautiful. Hugs

FlourishingPalms said...

It turned out pretty, Karen. I'm not an art quilter either, so I really appreciate the process you went through to reach this point. It's nice that you shared the journey of making it because I completely empathized at several points in your progress! Did you get a buyer? I hope so!

audrey said...

Very interesting Karen! I think this style of quilt would totally push the boundaries of anything I've ever done. You did a great job of getting your feelings and ideas expressed through the fabric!

Dianne Mitzel said...

So proud of your quilt and loved reading how it that song too..Such talent you have! Do you have the book Simple Graces? I think I saw it on your bookshelf in one of your blogs. I love that quilt on the cover, the stars in the middle of the squares, are they worked into the pattern, or are they appliqued on after the squares are made? Thanks for answering this, I love that quilt, and will get the book if it isn't appliqued. Hope your hubby is continuing to do well. Johnny is no better, we are going for a heart cath next week. His shortness of breath has worsened, pray that this will be something they can correct, he will be miserable if his life revolves around this oxygen all the time. hugs