Friday, February 12, 2010

My 12 Connected Challenge Group Piece "La Puerta"

Late in 2009 Sue Bleiweiss posted on QuiltArt about a challenge group she was organizing, so many members responded inquiring about joining in, that she wound up assisting in the organization of several groups. It was a 2 year commitment, requiring each challenge member to make a small quilt every 2 months, based on a word. At that time I was struggling to find time to be creative so I gave it some thought prior to making my inquiry, however I thought it would be a great way to "make" myself set aside time to work. How many times are we told to go into our workrooms to make the work, make the work, make the work. Our first word was "sanctuary". My piece is named "La Puerta". Sanctuary, this word brought many images to mind. The immediate images were of my personal places of refuge; such as the forests of northern Minnesota where I grew up or the warm beaches found along the Gulf Coast. They are also where I typically turn for inspiration and I wanted to use these challenges to stretch myself. So I went back to contemplating the word, its definitions and synonyms; hoping for a light bulb moment. One definition kept creeping back into my thoughts; "any gateway marking an entrance or exit from one place or state to another; at heavens door". For years I have taken photographs of doors, for me doors are the passage way by which we take refuge. Immediately a wonderful photo of a cathedral door in the El Socolo in Mexico City came to mind and the phrase from the definition "at heavens door" popped into my head. How could I create this piece and stretch myself? That nagging question played over and over in my mind, during daytime hours and even while I slept.

Finally I pulled an ugly fabric from my stash, using 1/4" tape I laid out a grid for the building wall on the wrong side of the fabric. Then I used watercolor pencils and textile medium to shade my blocks, after drying they looked like a wall. The door needed to look rugged, hand hewn, so I used brown packing paper, crumpled and flattened numerous times to break down the fibers, coloring it with shoe polish gave it a worn leather look.

Embroidery and embellishments were used to give the piece dimension and the look of age. I love it when someone looks at a piece of my work, see's the overall composition, moves in to take a closer look, discovers small details and becomes excited by them.
Please check out the group's blog and follow along with our 2 year adventure, our next word is "color". Hmmmmm!!!

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