Thursday, June 19, 2014

Deadline Met!

Labels for the wine-dark sea quilts
Thanks to my trusty list, I got the last of the exhibit preparation done by lunchtime yesterday, putting me right on schedule to hang everything yesterday afternoon. That preparation included labels for the two wine-dark sea quilts; I was so pleased that the only decent size scrap from either of those quilts was just big enough for printing both labels. Normally, I would hand sew these to the back, but there was no time - these babies got fused on! Now the only thing left on my list is to blog about it. I'll show pictures of the venue and how my quilts look in it in the next post. This post is all about finished quilts and making good on my promise to show you pictures of them.

Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea II - Sheila Mahanke Barnes ©2014

When last I wrote, I'd decided to bind the second wine-dark sea and I am so glad I did. Not only do I like the look of the binding, in the process of pinning on the strips, I immediately saw that I needed to crop an inch off both sides. I'd been uneasy about the spacing of the reflections; something felt off but I couldn't talk myself into taking anything off the side. The two quilts were supposed to end up the same size and I thought I'd accounted for that even though this background fabric was wider than the other one. But then I realized it was shorter too. It's always hard to cut off interesting motifs like the blue shapes so I convinced myself this one would be a different size and that would be ok. What I forgot was that when facing a quilt, you lose at least a quarter inch per side as the edge of the quilt gets rolled to the back. When binding, that edge stays put and the squared up dimensions don't change. Eureka! By not facing this one, it now would be the same length. And then when I saw the transformation with that inch of binding masking off the sides, knowing that cropping it would also make this quilt the same width as the other - well, it didn't take me any time at all to get the ruler and rotary cutter out.

Detail of Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea II

Of course, running right up to the last minute didn't serve me well in the picture taking department. Wouldn't you know, both Monday and Tuesday were windy and rainy so I had to make do with indoor shots and hand held camera. That's my way of saying the details in all these pics aren't as sharp as I would like. Clicking on any pic should give you a larger version. My hand-dyed background really did so much of the work for me. I simply quilted around the blue shapes, then mostly quilted around the darker shapes. It looks like a slightly roiling sea to me.

Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea I by Sheila Mahanke Barnes ©2014

And here is the first version - both finish to 21" long x 17" wide. They felt so much bigger when I was working on them! Again - the fabric does so much of the work, and I do like this one faced.

Detail of Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea I

The quilting turned out much different than I originally envisioned. I didn't want the quilting stitches to run over the top of the blue showing in this one which left rather narrow spaces for my "ripples". Instead, the quilting is more zig-zaggy like the reflections and with a thread that is only slightly darker than the background. And I think it is safe to say I've gotten this particular design inspiration out of my system.

Energy by Sheila Mahanke Barnes ©2014

As for those ring scraps - I couldn't find any method other than to work more glue under them that worked for me. My mind was finally eased when I remembered I'd gone through a phase of very minimal stitch on some Strawberry Moon pieces, matting them and framing them under glass. That's it! If I'd had more time, I might have ordered metal frame parts to match the odd size this was turning out, but instead, I auditioned it with some standard sizes, settling on 11 x 14, then spent some time with the framing expert picking out a complimentary mat color that he would then cut a 4-1/4 x 9-1/4 inch window in. That alone was an educational experience, especially when I realized the white mat I anticipated working just made the piece fall flat. This particular brown mat has a reddish tone to it that sets this piece off perfectly. It is shown here without frame or glass - the frame is just a simple dark brown wood frame that reads slightly darker than the mat. I was struggling to come up with a name for this one, finally settling on "Energy" because I used that term so many times when talking about the piece with the framer. And yes, there is not a single stitch in it.

Rolling Along by Sheila Mahanke Barnes ©2014

That scrap of batik I used for the background was actually twice that long. And I had circles left over that I'd started arranging on it. There is a space at the venue perfect for companion pieces on either side of a window and I knew that I wanted these two pieces hanging in that space. There wasn't an issue about adding fusible to the back of these pieces like there was with the rings, so that is what I did, but still - no stitch. Both pieces were fused to Decor Bond to give them a little more stability in the frame. Again, a name didn't immediately come to mind, but "Rolling Along" seemed to fit what I was doing as I came to the end of my ArtWalk preparation. Technically, this is the last piece that I finished for it, fused, trimmed and taped into the mat the day before hanging. That's cutting it pretty close!
Finally, here are shots of the Upward Tick quilts in their metal frames. They finished to 12" x 14". I'm still feeling a bit iffy about them. So many things I think I would do differently, but during the process I got very tunnel visioned about them and the original concept I had. Still, I guess they work on some level.

Upward Tick by Sheila Mahanke Barnes ©2014
Detail of Upward Tick

Artist Statement
People of all ages, nationalities, races and religions come to the Mayo Clinic for medical treatment. For many it is their last hope. These strangers bump up against each other as they move from appointment to appointment, sometimes interacting, sometimes not, but all hoping to hear from their physicians that they are on the upward tick...

Another Kind of Upward Tick by Sheila Mahanke Barnes ©2014
Detail of Another Kind of Upward Tick

...But not everyone who seeks a miracle cure receives one. Not everyone survives their Mayo experience, and if they do, it may be only temporary. For them there is another kind of upward tick, one that releases them to a peace beyond this life.

What a relief to have reached the finish line! I still have the reception tomorrow, and my studio is quite a mess, but now that I don't have to be so focused and shutting out all distraction, I stopped by the library to pick up some recreational reading. Ahhh - I nice thick book to lose myself in.  


The Inside Stori said...

What a wonderful exhibit you will have......and what a heartfelt nod to the Mayo Clinic..... Judi would be proud.

Lucia Sasaki said...

HI Sheila!
Thanks for sharing the result of your efforts, it is wonderful to see Sailing in the dark wine sea pieces after all your posts about the process. I am glad to see Energy, after all your struggling with it.
I hope your exposition be a success.
Well, you are already successful for finishing your pieces.
Thanks again!

Chris said...

Sheila, everything turned out great. My favorites are the wine dark seas quilts. Something about them really appeals to me. I don't blame you for wanted to sit down with an good fat novel after all that work! Enjoy your show.

Cedar Street Kid said...

Excellent, Sheila. You do beautiful work.

Michele Matucheski said...

The close-ups of the Wine Dark Sea / Reflections remind me of the "digester" at The Detroit Airport, with all that lightning (without the thunder) and the cracked glass. I believe that whole underground art installation was meant to calm the nerves of frazzled travelers. It works on me! I love that airport!
Also thanks for sharing the Artist Statements. That pulls everything together, and you realize, these are not just abstracts. There's a much higher purpose here!