Sunday, August 28, 2005

My Sunday Visitor...

The Red-Spotted Purple Admiral Butterfly – top of wings looking very BLUE to me!
While the bottom of the wings definitely reveals the red spots and a touch of purple – which looks totally black on top.

This lovely creature brightened my day – and she was especially meaningful to me because I’ve recently completed a butterfly quilt which I have now titled “Life Cycle.” This particular quilt was started many years ago – with a series of layering of various types of fabrics in random widths on a ground fabric, then placing nylon netting over the entire top, and finally randomly quilting it enough to tack down all the various strips. It began as an underwater image in my minds eye, and evolved slowly over the years – mostly remaining hidden in a bottom drawer far from view.

I took it out after hearing about “The Incredible Spirit” quilt competition, thinking it was an appropriately subdued quilt to reveal my many journeys through depression. For a long time I called it “Undercurrents.” It seemed to represent the undercurrents of emotions that raged beneath the surface of my life – often pulling me beneath a healthy surface into the darkness of despair.

Life Cycle c2005

In taking it out this spring, however, I also saw in it the iridescence of hope layered in with everything else. Slowly I added more elements to create a compositional form – which now is something like a lazy S curve on its side! On the left is a puckered flowery form within which is hidden a silk cocoon that I have lightly painted with iridescent paints. Trailing downward from the cocoon are wool rovings, twisted silken taffeta, gathered, and flower petals leading the eye to a well-disguised furry black caterpillar munching his way through life. The trail now moves across the bottom of the quilt and slightly upward to reveal an open silk cocoon from which the emerging blue feather butterfly has emerged.

Life Cycle – detail of caterpillar c2005

This is a very subtle quilt – mainly blues and lavenders, very muted and very quiet. The glistening Angelina Fibers add the spiritual dimension I hoped to create with the help of some buried-beneath-the-netting Tinzle. Two sides of the quilt are bordered in lavender while the remaining two sides are bordered with a deep blue beaded fringe. The many layers of fibers and fabrics, the many dimensions of sizes and shapes, the illusions of movement, the sparkle beneath the dull, the somewhat monochromatic palette all work together to create a piece of mystery, beauty and life.

Tonight, “Life Cycle” is photographed, labeled, rod pocketed and readied for mailing in to the quilt challenge. I hope you find some beauty herein…

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