When working on the theme of wines for my art quilts, some color combinations were hard to duplicate. Cabernets and pinot noirs have a rich depth of color that is hard to duplicate in red commercial fabrics, especially after they’ve been washed before use. (Red fabrics tend to fade in the wash, as the less expensive direct dyes are used for that color.) Sauvignon blancs, however, are known for their grassy, herb-like flavor, and so the pale greens and yellows that I chose, topped with a pale blue to suggest the sky, were perfect colors to denote the true nature of this particular type of wine.
I’ve spent a lot of time on vineyard tours, walking between the vines, as the winemaker explained the various qualities of a particular type of grape. No real vineyard would ever have their vines arranged in the fashion that I have in my art quilt. It would be too labor intensive to tend them when they’re not in straight rows, but as an artist I can take whatever liberties I want in the arrangement of my plants. Roses are usually planted at the ends of the row, as they’ll show black-spot sooner than the grape leaves and thus indicate it’s time for spraying. Here, in my art quilt, yellow roses are mixed in with the vines, again because in my fabric vineyard scene, I can put them where I choose.
“Herbs, and Grass, and Sauvignon Blanc” ( 38″W x 37.5″T or 97.75 cm W x 95.5 cm T) , created back in 1994, incorporated some machine embroidery to attach the fabric motifs, lace cut-outs, and silk flowers and leaves to the surface of the quilt. A large part of the background fabric is actually an old tablecloth, as good wine should be paired with good food. Shimmery organza was used to suggest sky and a light green quilting thread was used to hand quilt the three layers of the quilt sandwich together. Pale green, rubbery, plastic grapes were used to simulate the “greenness” quality of this type of wine, instead of the red and purple grapes that I used in “Dinner for Three on the Banks of the Cabernet“, a few posts back. This piece was done back before I used as many buttons and beads as I do now, and I was experimenting with silk ribbon flowers that I stitched and folded. You can see some of them in the lower middle of this detail shot.
In this second photo, you can see some of the gold colored metal stampings of grape vines that I picked up in a button store in Paris. (bright gold color, middle of the shot). To the right of it, is a small, duller gold color pin of a grape cluster with artificial pearls to simulate the grapes. In the lower left hand is a bright gold cluster of wrapped wire beads that were from some inexpensive earrings that I found in a discount store. Add them into a wine theme art quilt, and they become “grapes”. I love finding treasures like that and seeing them with new eyes, so that I can utilize them in other ways than what was their original intention. My studio is filled with jars and boxes of similar discoveries, waiting to be given a permanent home on one of my contemporary quilts.
This piece hangs for right now in my dining room, awaiting a more permanent home in somebody’s collection. It has graced many a good dinner and has taken on the energy not only of itself and me when it was created, but also the collective energy of good meals shared with friends. May all of your own work be imbued with the resonance of good food, and if it suits your inclination, good wine.
How has your own art work soaked up energy because of its location? Do you deliberately interject yourself into your work, or does it happen on its own?
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