Sunday, May 03, 2015

Resurrecting "Masks"

Kuba "Bwoom" Helmet Mask
"Ok, what's next," I pondered, as I started cleaning up a bit from my Tyvek bead excursion. I was about to gather up all the little bags of beads and beading supplies when a muffled sound came from the closet. I recognized it as my "Masks" quilt trying to point out that as long as all these beads were out, why not resume work on it. I had identified it as one I might be able to finish up in time for ArtWalk and felt I'd received some confirmation of that as well as my thought to add beading when I saw the Kuba Helmet Mask above on an episode of Antiques Roadshow earlier this year. It looked so much like the faces I saw in my cloth and picked out in quilting that I could hardly believe it. And here too were some guidelines for how I might add the beads. Sometimes putting a project aside for awhile is a good thing!

Densely hand-quilted "Masks" awaits the finishing touches.

So I pulled the quilt from the closet and unfolded it to reveal where I had stopped when life intervened back in June 2012. Ah yes, it was all coming back to me now. I'd gotten frustrated with those squares with eyes printed on them - well, not with the squares themselves but with trying to get a random yet sensical arrangement to them without any covering up of important areas of the masks. I struggle with asymmetrical arrangements, and I remember being a little put out with myself that the only placements I could come up with were too symmetrical and boring. This was one of the projects I took for critique to my art group's first meeting in January 2013. To my amazement, Donna simply took a square and overlapped it with another, solving my problem. With that simple move, I could immediately see my way out. However, it still went back into the closet until now. I trimmed down a few of the squares, shuffled things around a bit from what you see above, consulted the last blog post about it just to refresh my memory, then continued where I left off.

Quilting "between" less than an inch long with microscopic eye!

One of the things that surprised me were the tiny needles parked in the quilt. Did I really use something this short for the cross-stitching? Did I really use anything this short at all? Well, that just shows how long I've been away from my hand quilting and applique, because indeed, this is the between needle that I came to use on almost all my hand sewing. One can lose one's skill from disuse, and as I clumsily picked up the needle and put in a few stitches, I felt like an absolute novice. Ok, so maybe I haven't lost my skill, but boy, is it rusty! By the time I started in on the third square, I'd gotten some rhythm back, my eye/hand coordination was gauging the spacing better and the needle didn't feel so foreign anymore.

I am in the perfect mindset for handwork right now so I am glad this quilt called out. Even better that I can leisurely work at it now that I no longer have the ArtWalk deadline looming over me. My work table, which once the fountain quilt left became instantly cleared off to the point of startling me when I entered the studio, is now pleasantly filling up with this quilt, possible bead options to mull and the next few small projects I'll be playing with. Can you sense my smile?


Sherrie Spangler said...

I love that mask quilt and can't wait to see what you do with it next.

Living to work - working to live said...

Now this one does sound fascinating. And maybe the beads will be just the thing for it. But no worries if not, their time will come.

Olga Norris said...

I too am a great believer in setting work aside for a breather when either it or you need it. Sounds as if you are ready to complete it now. Have fun.

The Inside Stori said...

I too can't wait to see this piece completed. Finding a nice work in progress hidden away that requires hand work would be a dream come true for me. I know you will do wonders with this now.

Chris said...

I had forgotten about this quilt. Boy that is a lot of hand quilting. The quilting looks great. And I know what you mean about being out of practice and a bit rusty. When I first started quilting I only hand quilted and I got really good at it. But I did not do it for a while and when I tried it again I was really inept at it initially. But it does come back.

Those beads you have been working on could fit right in.

Michele Matucheski said...

Another good reason to record progress on the the blog. I do that, too--look back at old projects that got set aside. And it's a good thing you left that needle in the quilt, or you would have re-created the wheel trying to figure out how you were doing it. You were just waiting for the mask to cross your path as the inspiration to continue. I can't believe you did the whole thing with hand-quilting! A smaller needle gives less resistance.