I’ve written several postings about the beaded art quilt that I made for my mother as a Christmas present and how she used it the last days before she died as a source to focus on to ease her crossing over. She was so absorbed with it, that the day before she died and could still talk, she got rather annoyed with my brother and his wife whenever they would get in her line of view from seeing the picture on the wall opposite her bed. So, when “Quilting Arts” magazine came out with it’s new Reader Challenges contest entitled “Passages”, I knew that I needed to make another version of my mother’s quilt.
“Quilting Arts” magazine has a Reader’s Challenge in each issue in which they invite you to interpret a word or phrase. (The June/July 2013 issue has another one of my pieces featured in it, “A Sky Map Somewhere Over the Midwest” as part of their challenge – “Maps”) The new Challenge, “Passages”, seemed like a perfect topic to re-interpret the larger piece that I had done earlier. One of the things that I like best about all of the Interweave magazines challenges is that they’re small. This piece had to be 10″ X 10″ or 25.5 cm square. Such small pieces take me about a week to do instead of the months that some of the larger pieces require.
I used a number of the same materials in this small piece as I did on the larger one for my mother. There are the same double squares that I use for the portal in all of my “Meditation Gardens” series. I also had the same sheer green, ribbed ribbon to make the “paths” to the portal. There are 3 of my favorite glass buttons visible in this detail shot; two that have a bluish cast because of the angle of the light, and a “cathedral window” glass button to the upper left of the square, gold portal. There are also two of the green, lily motifs that were used in the original piece, one seen in the lower left and one in the upper right. Unlike the larger quilt, however, I used a number of two hole buttons stamped out of sea shells and dyed green. I fastened them on with black embroidery floss to give a subtle detail to play off other places on the surface where green and black are found together. However, these were the last of those green shell buttons that I had. They show up every few years in the popular chain craft stores, disappear for awhile, and then show up again a few months later. I always try and buy as many as I can find (and afford) at a time, as I use them a lot. I like shiny things!
Working on pieces this small causes me to really focus on the details and making every square inch of the composition count. I don’t have the luxury of throwing hundred of buttons and beads onto this size of a piece, so I have to carefully “audition” each new addition and try several out for a given location before sewing them down. There is the excitement of finishing the piece in its entirety more quickly. Besides, if you didn’t know that those circles were buttons, but thought they were blobs of paint or cutout circles of fabric, you might not even know the finished size of the piece.
What scale do you like to work in? Some people think that anything smaller than the wall of a building is too tiny, while others won’t deal with anything that’s too big to not fit in their laps. What happens when you think about changing the scale of what you usually do?
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