I still feel strong emotions when September 11 rolls around. As I implied last year, what has changed?
I made two quilts to commemorate the lives lost during the destruction of the Twin Towers. The first one was Fireball, which is what I could see as I sat and watched TV.
It is chaotic, reminds me of smoke and flames. This is a small quilt, maybe 12×12, and I was able to channel the pure emotion into this piece as I made it very quickly. I was doing woven art pieces at the time and this is one of them.
The quilt I really wanted to make took longer. I wanted to plead for something different than what we got. I wish something different than a 20+ year war could have come out of that. people just want to fight when they are attacked; they don’t want to talk.
This is a hard post for me to write. I force myself to do it every year, to get the message of What Comes Next out there, so, perhaps, people will think and do something different next time.
The other day I started writing about my visit to BAMPFA to see the Rosie Lee Tompkins exhibit. Today I plan to continue talking about the pieces that I liked.
In the photo, left, you can see how the quilts were arranged. You can also see the older quilts on the left and the newer quilts on the right.
As I mentioned before I preferred the older quilts, which seem to be mostly made from velvet, etc. On the right, you can see the newer quilts. These are mostly made from cotton. They seem to have more meaning, according to the signs, but they lack subtlety and their design elements are less nuanced. The impression I got from looking at those quilts is that Rosie’s supply or source of fabric had changed. Alternatively, someone may have told her that quilts were made from cottons. I don’t know, but I may find out once I read the catalog.
One of the velvet quilts used pink with black, which is a color combination I have not yet explored, though it is on my list.
In this piece, I think it is interesting how Ms. Tompkins used a few different pinks, including a peachy-pink that I would not have used. I am not a peach fan, but the artist uses it to good effect in this piece.
I am interested in the shape of the various pieces and wonder how she worked? Perhaps there will be some photos of her workspace in the book, which I have not yet read. Did she have a dedicated space? Did she work on her lap? I am not disturbed by the shape, I just see it in several of her pieces and wonder if it is the result of her workspace.
The design of the exhibit was good. While the pieces were in chronological order, I could see that the curators selected pieces that showed a flow of her development. I know that pieces had to be selected from the vast number Rosie Lee Tompkins made.
This green and gold piece was between the emerald piece I showed in the previous post and the pink and black quilt above. There were others with more triangles, but something about this one caught my eye.
She showed a variety of blue and black quilts as well, which were also favorites. I looked at this one for a long time and like the subtle shading of the black and grey. I couldn’t decide if the fabrics were the same, but turned or brushed so the nap showed up differently and made the pattern or if the fabrics were different, but very close. She used bits of turquoise in various pieces and that was appealing. I like the purple and turquoise together.
I actually went to a museum the other day. I am fully vaccinated, wore a mask, stayed away from people and the place was almost empty. This trip contained a lot of firsts: first time in a museum in over a year, first trip across the Bay Bridge in over a year, first time in a car with a friend, first time wearing a mask for 5 hours or more (health care workers: I salute you!). Milestone day!
I went with my friend from CQFA, Nancy. Nancy is much more in tune with what is going on in local arts than I am and let me know that the Rosie Lee Tompkins exhibit was on for in person viewing. She got us tickets and I drove us over.
I used to live next door to BAMPFA, but hadn’t been there in years. The space is gorgeous. The entrance is made human by the mural you see when you walk in (above). The mural is part of an auditorium/amphitheater (??)/performance space. The walls of the museum are tall and white, so the mural grounds visitors as they come in – at least it did for me.
We went straight into the exhibit, which was on the ground floor near the entrance. There is not a lot of information about the quilts and most of them are untitled. I love to hear about inspiration, so this was disappointing, but not surprising. I don’t think people think about the making of their quilts as much as I do. In writing this, I realize that I think a lot more about placement of individual pieces and don’t write each of those comments down.
The brief description of the show says, in part, “…And while most of the Tompkins’s textiles are referred to as ‘quilts,’ this term technically only refers to works comprising pieced tops, insulating material, and backing that have been sewed together – a process she rarely undertook herself, instead leaving this finish work to other local quilters.” I love this, especially the last part, because it means that my quilts could someday end up in a museum!!
My two favorite quilts were from her older quilts. They were mostly made of velvet, crushed velvet and velveteen (I don’t really know if these are the same).
One of the things I like about this piece is the not so obvious improv piecing. Current improv piecing comes across as contrived to me sometimes, though you know I am not a huge fan. This piece looks like it was designed so that the pieces lean to the left. I am not sure I could make a piece with so much movement using improv techniques. This piece does not scream improv to me. It looks like Ms. Tompkins designed it that way. The color and sheen, which do not come through very well in the photo really add to the success of this quilt.
My second favorite is a piece that is jewel-like in its success. The various greens show up with some contrast in the photo. In real life the darker greens are much more subtle in their shading. This makes the chartreuse line of squares in the center-left stand out. Even though those four squares are the only green of that color, the design element seems to work. There are a couple of places where four squares show up and perhaps that is the reason. Again, the color and sheen really add to the success of this quilt.
Look for part 2 of my thoughts about this exhibit soon.
I made this quilt to represent the rights I thought were in danger in 2016. I think they are in even more danger. The worst part is that most of them reveal that lawmakers are thinking too much about sex when they consider women.
Go Vote and think about what YOU want your future to be like. Don’t consider what others are telling you. You are smart enough to decide for yourself.
September 11 comes around every year. This year feels different. Victim deaths of the pandemic have surpassed September 11 victims by leaps and bounds, though perhaps not in the numbers of the victims of the aftermath of 9/11. Still, that day is seared into my mind.
I was home alone that morning as DH was out of town and I was trying to get the YM to pre-school and get to my job. If anyone says ‘September 11’, I think about my mom calling me and sort of screeching at me to turn on the TV. My mom doesn’t really screech, so this is probably my imagination. I also remember how turning on the TV made the whole situation real. I was in my house getting ready to go to work, getting my almost 5YO YM ready for school, minding my own business and as soon as I turned on the TV, the world was different – meaner, more revenge oriented, less tolerant and more violent. Everything changed that morning even though I didn’t know it.
I couldn’t process those planes crashing into the World Trade Center. I couldn’t process the passengers taking over the flight that eventually crashed in the field in Pennsylvania or the flight that eventually affected the Pentagon. I can’t help but think of how quiet the skies were for days after. Now that I think about, it reminds me of how quiet everything was at the end of March 2020 when everyone was sheltering-in-place. I remember watching TV for hours with DH (once he returned) and seeing the same images over and over. I think of the years of violence that make up our lives today.
I ended up making two quilts as a reaction to OR to do something to mark-commemorate-remember (I don’t know the right word. Send a message?) the day and my feelings. The first was done very quickly and sent off to Houston to be displayed in a commemorative display at Quilt Festival and Market.
Fireball is a reaction to all the fire that was shown on TV. It is a woven quilt and messy looking. The strips are raw edge so the whole piece reflects the chaos of the day and the aftermath.
The second quilt is also an art quilt. It took me longer and was my wish/prayer for the future. It is called What Comes Next. Clearly my wishes were not acknowledged because the things I wanted to come out of that terrible day were the exact opposite of what actually came out of it.
This quilt has similarities to my Blood and Oil quilt and the more recent, Down the Drain quilt. Someday I’d like to use those paper doll motifs again.
If anyone says September 11, I think about my mom calling me and telling me to turn on the TV and how that changed everything even though I didn’t know it. I was home alone that morning as DH was out of town and I was trying to get the YM to pre-school and get to my job. I couldn’t process those planes crashing into the World Trade Center, the passengers taking over the flight that eventually crashed in the field in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon. I think of how quiet the skies were for days after. I remember watching TV for hours with DH and seeing the same images over and over. I think of the years of violence that make up our lives today.
I made two quilts to do something to mark-commemorate-remember (I don’t really know the right word. Send a message?). The first was done very quickly and sent off to Houston to be displayed in a commemorative display at Quilt Festival and Market.
Fireball is a reaction to all the fire that was shown on TV. It is a woven quilt. I have made a few woven quilts, though not in a while. I cut the strips and wove them together, then quilted over the top of the weaving. The strips were raw edge.
The second quilt is also an art quilt. It took me longer and was my wish/prayer for the future. It is called What Comes Next. Clearly my wishes were not acknowledged because the things I wanted to come out of that terrible day were not what came out of it.
This quilt has similarities to my Blood and Oil quiltand the more recent, Down the Drain quilt. Someday I’d like to use those paper doll motifs again.
As mentioned I went to a BBQ on Saturday and got to see a quilt extravaganza. The hostess is also a quiltmaker, but does art quilts and is preparing to sell a bunch of them.
Deena’s quilts are all wall hangings. She starts out making a bargello background. After she is happy with the background, she fussy cuts motifs out of fabric and fuses them to the front.
The large quilt shown is one of the plainest of her quilts that I have seen. Most of them are beautifully embellished with a variety of motifs. Her newest collection is a Noel collection. Lots of cardinals are featured.
Yep. It’s true. I have finished the Under the Sea piece after many years of working on it. I can hardly believe it.
I am so thrilled that I have one hand project that is finally done. Granted, I could have just said “this is done” and moved on, but projects speak to me and this one was very chatty. I finally feel like it is really and truly done – enough embroidery, enough embellishment, enough stitching.
The London Portfolio fabric seems to fit the front pretty well and I am pleased with the black binding.
This was not an easy project to finish and included a lot of ripping out, but like Beach Town and the Flower Garden, I am pleased with the style of working and the results. Pamela Allen is a design genius and if you want to learn to design quilts, she is a great teacher.
I wanted to finish Under the Sea by now, but I had to backtrack and do some repairs, so finishing will take longer.
I made the piece into a pillow. To do that I used up the polyfil I had leftover from the dolls I made for my little niece. I didn’t have enough, so I cleared out my batting scraps and used bits of batting for the rest of the stuffing. I would have preferred all polyfil, but as a lot of this project was from reclaimed materials, I thought the batting scraps were fitting.
I wanted to control where the stitching went, so I didn’t plan on sewing right sides together and turning the piece. I sewed wrong sides together, then left an opening I could use to fill the pillow.
The backing fabric is from the Michael Miller London Portfolio collection. This particular print is called Anjou Pour Vous. I don’t know why it would be called that if the collection is called London Portfolio, but I am sure the designer has a reason. I have a number of these prints and will have to use one for a backing.
I also wanted to put a black binding on. I did that to cover the raw edges, then machine sewed the back down. I ran into problems with the black thread catching some of the pillow top and also showing in the corners where it didn’t quite match up with the top binding. Again, I ripped and replaced the bobbin with Aurifil monofilament and restitched the binding so the mismatched binding front wouldn’t have a black line around the corners on the actual top.
Also the larger glass beads are coming off. For some reason, my French knots are not strong enough to hold them with the stress of handling. Again, I am using Aurifil monofilament to secure the beads and not disturb my overall design. The Aurifil monofilament is a hassle to use, so that is also a thankless task.
I will be so glad not to see this project on my to do list when I am finished. I know I will like it again, but right now I don’t.
After several false finishes, I am really done with the top of Under the Sea. This is a HUGE, because I started it in April of 2009 and getting it done has been on my list for awhile. One less handwork project to do can’t be bad either.
I want to make it into a small pillow. Some of the embroidery and beading are close to the edge, so I have to worry about that a little bit. There is still work to do on this piece.
Since this was heavily embellished, I will enter it in the fair in the embellishment category and hope for a prize.
I carved out about 6 hours yesterday where I just sewed. I finished a donation block and started another. I started and finished a Color My Quilt shard. The biggest deal was that I worked on the Rosalie Dace piece I started in Sisters. I haven’t really worked on it since the trip, but my mind has been working on it. I finally cleared off the big design wall enough to get it up there.
I thought I would keep adding letters, but the number of pins in the piece (a problem at Sew Day I can talk about later) and unfused bits flailing around demanded a different course. The quilt really wanted me to sew down and fuse down letters so I did.
The two sets of ribbon/trim letters are sewn down using a zig zag stitch in varying widths. It really took forever because I sewed very slowly, but I am pretty pleased with the way it came out.
For the ‘mary’s daughter’ piece, I used an Aurifil violet-ish color on the top and the bottom.
For ‘William’s Mom’, I used clear Auriful in the top and an an orange 50 wt in the bobbin. I started out with orange in the top, too, but it obscured the circles that are part of the design of the ribbon.
I feel good about the work. I am so pleased to be making progress.
I got the background done pretty sharpish when I got to class Tuesday.
Yes, this is the background. It is the essence of who I am. I guess. I am not exactly sure why this is the background.
The biggest problem with art quilts is construction. To achieve the design goal, the construction can be challenging. the background you see was pretty basic piecing except for the spot where the top of the M comes together at an angle.
For the moment, I am leaving the -v- for later. Rosalie said that she couldn’t see it, so I decided not to worry about it right at the moment.
The next step was to get the ‘ladder’/grid motif appliqued on. I tried strips of fabric, but eventually landed on some ribbon that I have been saving for …something. This is the something. I laid out the ribbon where I thought they should go and looked. I moved them around and looked some more.
Again construction was an issue. The first piece, a piece of thick ribbon that looked like mosaic tile, went on like a dream. The next piece, which was much thinner would not go on. It bunched up, slid around and was generally a pain. I finally put batting on the back and sewed through the ribbon, the background and the batting. This is not ideal, because I have to worry about when to put a backing on and how to quilt it all again. Still, I was in class and had to make do.
The grid, which is kind of like a second background, came out ok. The ribbons aren’t perfect, but they fit with my design.
I got back to my schedule and finished the ribbons by the end of day two. Next up: letters.
What’s Your Oldest UFO? was the question of the day at guild last week. I had to confess** to the Self Portrait.
I started this piece in a class with Pamela Allen in 2006. The class was great, I learned a lot and finished two other pieces, Flower Garden and Beach Town from that class. Those are great pieces, so why is this not a great piece. AND why is it not finished?
I have always thought the problem was the hair, that I couldn’t find the right hair. I don’t even know if I have tried to add hair. I have thought about adding hair, but I never seem to do it. I like the eyes, but wonder about a nose and lips.
I also like the flowers at the bottom. They need some enhancement, for which embroidery will be great.
Clearly this is more of an image of the way I think about myself or the way I was at one time in my past. I would like to finish it since it will involve beading and embroidery, which I really like. Somehow I can’t seem to do it.
** confess is a strong term and I am only using for the sake of emphasis. There was no judgment and lots of laughter as we listened to each other.
I finally finished Down the Drain on Friday night. Completely finished: quilting done, binding on, sleeve sewn down. Done.
First, as I mentioned, I finished the quilting. Of course I could have stopped any time, but was clearly on a mission. I kept quilting minutely almost every single open space.
I finished hand sewing the binding on earlier this week. Normally, the combination of tightly woven fabric (an AGF solid) and Aurifil make for slow going, but the combination worked great! My needle went through the fabric with no problem and I sewed the binding in only about 4 hours.
I stitched the sleeve down in only about 2 hours. The whole process of making this quilting was so relatively painless. The experience was not and continues not to be painless. The actual process of making the quilt went so smoothly. I guess it was meant to be.
I finished quilting the art quilt, Down the Drain, a few weeks ago. I don’t know why I didn’t post it. My only explanation is life got in the way.
I am pretty pleased with my quilting. I found that doing the work on the 6600 was relatively painless. The border quilting is not perfect. I couldn’t have done perfect quilting if I had wanted, but I also wanted to express that life isn’t perfect, people aren’t perfect and we have a chance to improve.
I have machine sewed the binding and made the sleeve.