Occasionally, when working on a new piece, my best laid plans go awry and I meander off in an entirely different direction.
Several years ago, while on a photography kick, I wandered around taking “artsy” photos of anything and everything. Some were worth saving and were stored and forgotten. I recently became involved in a fiber arts challenge based on the work of Georgia O’Keeffe. While brainstorming, some of those old photos came to mind and I chose one I thought might make an interesting composition. My goal….a Nancy D. interpretation of a Georgia O’K. abstract flower.
The photo I chose to print on fabric was taken by placing the lens of my camera into the top opening of a piece of pottery purchased at a yard sale, obviously made by someone who flunked Pottery 101. To say it is a unique “vase” is an understatement, but the photos of its interior were strangely beautiful. Glorious colors flowed like molten lava deep inside the piece, a wonderful surprise.
With 8 1/2″x 11″ fabric sheets prepared for the printer, I decided that I would print 4 copies of the photo, 2 facing left, 2 facing right. Sewn together in mirror-image fashion, an abstract yellow iris-like image was formed. Yes, that would do nicely for my challenge piece entitled Georgia…My Way.
Things were moving along nicely until the time came to choose the border fabrics. Many were auditioned before the final choices were made. I am extremely pleased with the results except for one thing. The piece is now more Star Trek than Georgia O’Keeffe. Luckily, I have a large, funky Georgia-like sunflower hanging in my studio which will do nicely for the challenge entry. Now, all I need is to find a Star Trek challenge. Anyone?
Georgia Meets Star Trek
Working frantically to complete the seven pieces I’d registered for our guild’s upcoming quilt show, I saved the best for last. Truth be told, I had no idea where I was going with this piece, so I procrastinated, hoping for inspiration. I actually wrote the description for the registration form long before the work was begun. Since I usually change my approach many times while making a piece, this was a lousy idea. I had to make the quilt fit the description. No easy task, and I had to make it using only log cabin blocks!
I had entitled the wall hanging Fire in the Cabin. My job was to make that vision come true. Gathering all the fabrics I thought might work, I made far too many sample blocks trying to get the look just right. Total failure. In desperation, I finally decided to go with a variety of my most sparkly fabrics. If all else fails, go for the glitz! Of course, they were the ones that proved most difficult to work with. I used a black velvet with gold metallic roses (Yuk), a copper knit from a thrift shop sweater, copper lame, a red knit with tinsel woven into it and an array of batiks.
I paper-pieced the entire center of the piece and used an ash-like grey/black fabric to construct the log cabin border. It seemed like such a good idea at the time…fire…ashes… This proved to be a very bad decision. The blah border sucked the life out of the piece, so I covered it with a black tulle which had flecks of glitter. Sparks!
Log Cabin Challenge piece 36″ x 36″
My first thought was….”Just get it done. You don’t have to like it.” However, as I worked, my excitement grew. I WAS liking it. It was very cool….or, should I say very hot? Maybe not the fire I had envisioned, but it definitely has SIZZLE! The copper metallic quilted flames in the border and the copper lame binding completed the piece. I think it probably glows in the dark. It definitely glows in the light. I’m smiling broadly. A fiber artist’s version of log cabin! Certainly not boring!