Developing Under Developed Art Quilt

I’m on a mission. I have a pile of UFOs and pieces completed that I don’t think are quite right. Translation, they have no zing, no zap, no pizzazz. They need to be taken further. Sometimes a piece falls in place and I race to finish it with great results. Other times, not so much. Then I’m left figuring out what I need to do with it.  When I have taken some pieces further, there have been good results. One piece was  featured in a Quilting Arts Community Spotlight article.

The first one I have a re-do on is The Red Wall. I loved the piece just the way it was. It was one I used to jury for the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts .  Since I was juried onto the list by one of the curators at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, I thought it must have some redeeming qualities. But I have since juried it for 3 separate exhibits and it was rejected every time.

I presented my problem to the critique group I belong to and with the exception of 2 people, the suggestions were not helpful and ranged from ” change the color” to ” add some beads and bling”. Neither of those were going to happen. What I did was add more foliage, darken the vines and tendrils with thread and shade the background so the foliage advances in the composition. Here are the before and after shots. You be the judge if I should have left it alone.

painedawes01 red wallPaineDawesTheRedWallFull

Things Learned Recreating White River Hope

I’ve shared with my readers  my journey recreating this landscape art quilt. It was one of my very first pieces completed and was exhibited in a few juried shows and it won Most Original Quilt as well as ribbons in some quilts shows. It was a Noteworthy quilt in 2009 in Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine.  I was surprised at the commission request and the mystery of where the original went.  I have moved on to more abstract and non-representational work. I wasn’t sure if I was up to the task. But I rarely turn down an opportunity to sell a work!

I’m a great procrastinator. Once I wrapped my mind around doing this commission I thought of ways to make a pattern (!!!!) and decided this was going to be easy peasy. So I procrastinated while I worked on things that were fun. This was going to be work.

So the first thing I learned is that even with making a basic  pattern , no two art quilts will ever be the same. They are the same but different. The middle tree is fatter and the heron is fatter…must have eaten a few more trout over the years. But its mostly the same as the original piece.

Because I had good photos of the first piece I was able to blow them up to get a general feel of the quilting. Surprise! Muscle memory took hold and when I was in the zone stitching I felt like this was the first time. In other words, time went in reverse and I had the feeling I was doing this for the very first time; thinking ahead to the next area to stitch.

But the very most important thing I learned was that I LIKE to do this kind of work. I was able to get in a zone of work in the studio that I haven’t experienced for a very long time. And it was not work, it was FUN.  Here is the completed piece, shipped off to Einstein Health Network, Moss ReHab, today.

Copyright Janice Paine Dawes, all rights reserved.
Copyright Janice Paine Dawes, all rights reserved.

Quilting and Thread Painting DONE!

Many many many yards of thread later, the blending of highlights and lowlights is completed.  Sometimes the back is as interesting as the front of a piece. But, with an art piece like this, the quilt police who measure stitches per inch and consistency need not apply!





First color layer of Stitching

The base layer of stitching has started. It is both the embellishment and the quilting. Once this is completed I will go back and add highlights and shadows with other thread colors. The first White River Hope was done on one of my vintage Singers. This time I am using my sit-down mid-arm which is easier on my arthritic shoulders.