"Art is much more interesting and makes a lot more sense (at least for the artist, anyways) if you think of the finished works as just the remains — the “fossil record” — of a process of looking, thinking, making, etc." Austin Kleon
I loved this as I often refer to my cleaning of the studio/work table as being akin to an archaeological dig. But it also resonated because I am getting closer to starting a project whose idea germinated way back in February 2017 after a snow dyeing session. The piece shown above gave me the idea to quilt a labyrinth over the top of it. But it has taken over two years of thought, research, pondering of technique and materials, gathering of necessary supplies, hunting down a source for a key embellishment . . . You get the picture. And this is not unusual for me. When a quilt idea goes quickly from inspiration to completion, it startles me, and I wonder what I've forgotten to do.
Here are the steps so far for this project:
Once I decided I wanted to quilt a labyrinth over the fabric, I researched labyrinths, finding different styles and eventually finding a square one that I thought would work. I bookmarked the site where I found it. I'd deal with enlarging and printing it out later.
I thought I had the perfect embellishment to go in the center of the labyrinth - a sparkly broach that had belonged to my grandmother. But when I placed it on the fabric, I could see it wasn't right at all. Neither were the bugle beads on hand that I thought would work. They were shorter than I remembered and not the right color either, to go with that sparkly broach OR the fabric.
In July 2017 I found myself in "the slightly bigger city" where there are several stores that carry large buttons. I brought these home to audition, the one on the right turning out to look perfect once placed on the fabric.
Now the hunt for bugle beads to go with it. I spent a lot of time looking on line and trying to find a bead store anywhere within a couple of hours of my home. No luck. I had no idea these longer bugle beads would be so rare, let alone not available in the smooth matte antique gold finish to match the button. That button sat on my desk in front of the computer screen for well over a year and the whole project ground to a halt as I worked on other art quilts and then got sidelined by that finicky nerve issue.
With company coming for the 4th this year, I decided it was time to clean off that desk a bit and there, buried under papers and notes, was that button. I've been thinking about this quilt again, wishing I could get going on it now that my nerve issue had calmed and I might be getting back to the machine before long. In a sudden fit of frustration, I set the search engine again, and to my surprise, the first website to pop up had exactly the bead I was looking for! Of course, I checked a few more websites too just in case, but soon realized it wasn't going to get better than this. I don't like buying beads on-line though when I need a specific color - beads are notoriously difficult to photograph - but I didn't have much choice. I held my breath until they came and proved to match the button perfectly.
Well, NOW I was running out of excuses not to proceed. That labyrinth pattern would need to be enlarged - I'd been sussing that out in my head for a long time - and because it needed to be around 16" square I'd either have to print it out in poster mode (multiple letter size pages) and tape the pieces together or take a copy to the print shop and have them enlarge it. I ended up dong both because the one I took to the printer was not the right labyrinth, although you probably can't tell the difference.
But now I started pondering the best way to transfer all those straight lines onto the fabric. I was leaning towards using Golden Threads quilting paper but really needed something that I could see clearly through to get it positioned just right over the pattern in the snow-dye. Suddenly, an option presented itself in an issue of Quilting Arts I was reading, using Press and Seal. I remembered hearing about using this cling wrap to aid in quilting a long time ago but didn't think it was for me. Now it sounded like a possible perfect solution. I still need to do a sample to make sure it will work, but I think this just might be the ticket.
But before getting to the quilting stage, I have long wondered if I shouldn't add a bit of border of some sort, probably of some of the other pieces of snow-dyes from the same batch. However, when finding my labyrinth patterns, I had saved one that had a Greek Key border and an interesting applique, and now I am thinking I may add a similar border around my little piece.
Here's another example bordering a square labyrinth. Of course once i get the border resolved, the quilting design positioned and the top sandwiched up, there will be a thread choice to make (have several in mind) so the mulling and pondering continues at every turn.
When I finish this particular piece, I know all this process I've gone through will not be evident, that most will not realize they are merely looking at the fossil record that goes back quite a ways. It's one of the reasons that makes answering that question, "How long did it take you to make?" so difficult to answer. Another reason, of course, is the distractions and diversions that keep one from working in a straight line from conception to completion. This will continue to be on hold now that I am focusing on my book binding club. But I wanted to assure you, working in fiber is not far from my mind . . .