Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bubble Prayers - Release

Bubble Prayers - Release by Sheila Mahanke Barnes 2013 - 16h x 20w
Artist Statement
Some deaths are immediate, some peaceful, others, as in the case of my friend, drawn out agonizing affairs. Especially for that last one, death brings a welcome release from this world's woes. Those looking on in emotional agony also find release. Our helplessness is at an end (though not our sorrow) and the bubble prayers we've been sending up have their answer.
Slivers of iridescent fabric catch the light bringing life to an otherwise lifeless design

Another difficult quilt to photograph, I discovered (lost a lot of the purple in the hand-dye and the sparkle off the bubbles) plus I was under a time crunch. This plus Bubble Prayers - Letting Go and Life's End were delivered today for hanging in this year's ArtWalk. I hadn't planned on participating since I will be exhibiting in July at another venue here in town, but that other exhibit will get little traffic, ArtWalk much more, and these pieces are important to me. So with one month's notice, I decided to push myself to get these quilts done for this better venue. I might have done some things differently on this had there been more time. On the other hand, I might have given up on it, certainly would have delayed trying what I did.

Bubbles over and under the hand
I haven't shared with you yet what the deal is with the second pair of hands. I know some are seeing it as a shadow, but it is not. I've always envisioned this quilt with the one pair of hands, similar to the first bubble quilt but with hands turned a different way expressing a slightly different message. It wasn't until I returned from my friend's Celebration of Life service that the imagery changed. I was meditating, thinking about how connected my friend & I had always been and how I wanted to maintain that connection somehow. I remembered seeing an eagle swoop across my path as I headed home after her service and thought it could be her spirit now protecting the Gorge she loved. I was thinking about this quilt and my friend's release from this world, visualizing the bubbles floating upward, the outstretched hands, the second pair of darker hands behind them...

Wait - a second pair of hands? Where did they come from? Well, they were obviously my friend's hands, mirroring the release of the earthbound hands, almost cradling them. I had my connection to my friend - where I had literally and figurative held her hand through her medical trials and tribulations, she now held mine as I grieved and struggled with these quilts. And now I had an addition to my original idea. Things started moving on this quilt after that.

I've shed so many tears while working on these three quilts. Life's End in particular nearly undid me to the point I couldn't look at it after it was done. They are helping me work through the grieving process for sure and I am so happy to have some place to show the three of them together. Opening reception for ArtWalk is Friday June 21 and the exhibit at Panhandle State Bank in Sandpoint, ID will run through September 9. I hope you'll drop by to see it if you're in the area.  

Click on any picture for a larger view. Once again, I've quilted in such a way that it is difficult to see, so here's the back of the quilt before squaring it up and adding a facing. I think I am done with bubbles for awhile.

7 comments:

Lucia Sasaki said...

Dear Sheila, thanks so much for sharing these moments with us, your loyal readers.
Life in general much sparsely give us moment to reflect about our finitude and emotions that it brings to us with delicacy and reality and reading your posts give me these. I think it is so important dealing with these issues as we grew old, we must face them with dignity and sense of reality. Thanks because you give this.
Ah, beside this, your quilts ares very beautiful and I am glad that they have helped you to deal with grief.
Thanks again.



Sherrie Spangler said...

Sheila, I think everything about this quilt is absolutely PERFECT .. the shape of the hands, the shadows, the highlights and sparkle on the bubbles, the movement, the meaning behind it. Judi is surely smiling! Now you need to take a well deserved break and enjoy the opening on Friday.

Olga said...

Lovely, Sheila. The depth of your feeling comes through in this quilt. I too have been thinking about how it feels to be left by different people, and how it really does help to put those many and often conflicting thoughts into work. Thank you for sharing.

Chris said...

Perfect quilt and lovely message behind it. You have done a fantastic job on all three quilts. Enjoy the opening...you must be exhausted, but thrilled.

Susan Sawatzky said...

This is beautiful...a wonderful tribute to a dear friend

Michele Matucheski said...

I remember when you were working on this one -- trying to get the hands right. It's such a great story and tribute, how could it NOT be accepted into the Sacred Threads Show?

Living to work - working to live said...

Sheila - I don't think we were blogging friends when you posted this. I have no recollection of seeing it before, but it is simply stunning.

So sad but I can see how it may have helped you grieve.

A lovely, lovely quilt.