Monday, June 03, 2013

Life's End

Life's End by Sheila Mahanke Barnes 2013 - 20" x 26"
The quilt and I came to a compromise: it agreed to give up its dream of a wide black border if I'd agree to at least a bit of black to finish it off. Frankly, I spent a lot of time with the batik that is in those black mountains (it has a faint undertone of blue running through it), and while the exposed black batting gave one look, the black fabric gave another. No width looked right - it just looked a little jarring. No matter, I didn't want to fuss with it anyway. I opted for this 1/2" binding because in truth, no contrasting edging at all didn't look right either. I'm still wondering if 1/4" binding would have been better, can easily alter this to that width if I decide to later, but for now, I think I am ok with this.

I'm going through a bit of no pleasing me with this quilt. Initially I didn't want any stitching across those mountains for some reason, but of course, stitching there would have to be. And then, once all the quilting was done and I stood back, I was disappointed that the quilting didn't show up more. I did quite a bit of inking over threads to darken some areas that didn't contrast enough as well as some down in the brown that contrasted too much. Ah, well, it is done and I can go back to the bubbles and the hands that share the same fate of no pleasing me.

I took these shots outside for a change (click on any for a larger view) and still felt it was reading brighter than in person so have tried toning it down, the actual quilt sitting next to me at the computer. It's one of those quilts that reads differently depending on the light but mostly comes across as dark and maybe a bit brooding. The shot above is one I tried in direct sunlight which lets you see the quilting.  As for the title of the piece, it came to me while I was working on the African quilt, thinking about my dying friend, our time together at the Mayo Clinic, how as she quickly faded, a part of me wished I could be there still holding her hand, but knowing she was not dying alone. I jotted down my thoughts in poem form, not the best piece of poetry, and thought about how I would take those sunset-colored triangles and incorporate them into a quilt.

Life's End
At life's end 
one hopes to 
still have friends
standing by, standing in
watching the light fade
watching the sunset,
sun setting in your eyes
and remembering. 


Cate Rose said...

This is so beautiful...especially that last shot. I think the border/binding is fine, if not a smidge too wide. Personally I prefer thin bindings or none at all. Wider borders/bindings always seem to detract from the piece, imho. Great job!

Sherrie Spangler said...

It's beautiful, Sheila. Absolutely perfect. The poem pulls it all together.

Lucia Sasaki said...

Hi Sheila, thanks so much for sharing your work, thoughst and feelings.
Reading your post I thought to myself, perhaps your newest quilt wouldn't be an aftermath of your work in the african quilt? Grieving lasts a lot of time and we need to respect this.
Althoug I think your quilt beautiful I understand that some pieces of work won't satisfie us; I feel like this with some of my blankbooks.

Congratulations, Sheila!
You finished and it is very important!!


Lucia Sasaki said...

Ah, I liked your poetry.
It is very sincere.
When I die I would want having friends that would stay near me or praying for me.



Christine Staver said...

I like it. Love your poem, too. The straight on pictures do not do it justice. I am so glad you posted the side view that really shows what it looks like with the quilting.

The Inside Stori said...

Perfect as is....all your thoughts and agonizing over the design has def. paid off......the poem is the finishing touch!