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!

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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.

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Laying out White River Hope

I thought you might like to see how this reproduction commission is coming along. Supplies are gathered, the studio is clear of other distractions and it was time to start.

I printed a photo of the quilt then using a marker, I outlined the shapes for the cartoon. This was so I could project it onto my base cloth with my Artograph. This tool made this task easy peasy. You can see the cartoon on the right and the projected image on the cloth. The exception is all the tiny pieces that make up the leaves. There is so much stitching it was hard to find where one fabric started and the other ends.

I will trace the shapes onto Steam a Seam. After fusing to the fabric the shapes will be cut out and fused to the base.  This is so different from the way the original was created!

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Cracking Open the Stash

I thought I might have some of the fabrics left over from White River Hope. If I didn’t my job recreating this for the commission was going to be difficult. I knew I mean might need to get creative.

Since I don’t use a lot of commercial fabrics any longer in my work the stash has been out of sight and mind. Along the wall, under one side of my Koala cutting table are 4 Closet Maid drawers that are home to the riot of small pieces saved over the years. At first I tried bending over to see, then contortions equal to standing on my head, all to thumb through the bits looking for pieces of the needed fabrics.

Eureka! I found all but 2 fabrics. One only has a small piece so it will be easy to replace. The other one plays a bigger role and I may have to get creative. But all in all, cracking open the stash paid off. And to think I was ready to donate it!