Fish in Space

Woven water and sky

Woven water and sky

Several years ago I was part of a “I’ve Got the Blues” challenge. Each participant was given 5 fat quarters of blue fabric which had to appear in the finished quilt in a recognizable amount. Other fabrics of our choice could be added.

What I have learned from my experience with challenges is that, in order to win a challenge, ordinary won’t do. I chose to do one of my Inside the Box pieces.

Using the 5 challenge fabrics and many blues from my stash, I randomly pieced the outer border, adding the words “Blue, blue, my world is blue.” Using a large circle as my base, I then made an entire blue landscape complete with woven blue sky, a blue forest, a woven body of water and even shiny blue fish which were reverse appliqued into the water. Using blue painted rings, I attached the circle inside the square. I added a blue turtle at the bottom of the circle, a blue sun in the sky and a blue spider in the upper right hand corner.

As a lover of whimsy, I allowed two fish to escape the inner circle and float in space, secured with mono-filament thread. I called the piece Fish in Space.

The piece not only won the challenge, but went on to win another challenge entitled “Voyage of Discovery” at the Empire QuiltFest. Most participants who entered that challenge based their pieces on Henry Hudson’s discovery of the Hudson River, the theme  of that year’s show. Having Fish in Space win the “Voyage of Discovery” challenge tickled me more than any award I’ve ever won.  Every time I think about it, I crack up. Being different certainly paid off in that case.  People like FUNNY, apparently even quilt show judges.

2 thoughts on “Fish in Space

  1. So true! You make art quilts with the emphasis on the art as opposed to quilt art. I think one of your gifts is the ability to think out of the box and having the confidence to just go for it – all bets off – like it or leave it – go for the gusto outlook on your art. That and having a wild imagination is a winning combination and people are drawn to that. I’m very happy to hear that people/judges appreciate it. Maybe the art world is finally accepting quilts or fiber art as real art. I’d be interested in hearing your experiences in putting your work in mixed media art galleries or shows. Places that normally do paintings ect.

  2. To date, I have no experience exhibiting in mixed media art galleries or shows alongside paintings, etc. Most galleries are in business to make money. Since I don’t sell my work, my exposure is limited. VQF gave an award to Best Art Quilt at last year’s show, a break with tradition. Yes, art quilts are making inroads, slowly, but surely.

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