Not Improv – But, a Finish!

Linking up with AHIQ?

Although I have not done any improv in the past month, I have had a busy and productive few weeks. Still, I do want to acknowledge the AHIQ linkup happening this week on Kaja’s and Ann’s blogs, and recommend that you visit one or the other and see all the cool things others are doing. AHIQ has developed into a very interesting group over the last few months, and there is always good participation. I’ll be back sooner or later!

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing some other things…

An Art Quilt Finish!

When I visited Hawaii island for the first time, in 2014, with my cousin and husband, we splurged on a guided tour to the top of Mauna Kea to see the sunset. It was really one of the most memorable experiences of my life!

The top of Mauna Kea is around 14,000 feet high, and it seems as if you travel from the tropics to the arctic, in terms of temperature. Even with heavy parkas and gloves, it was bitterly cold, but so exciting to see the sun setting over the vast ocean to the west, and the peak of Haleakela on Maui to the Northwest, rising above the clouds. On my first trip to Maui, my Cuz had taken me to the top of Haleakela and it was clear enough that we could see Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa 60 miles away on the Big Island. Now we were looking back the other direction.

But the sight that made the strongest impression on me, was the one we saw when we first got out of the van at the top.  Here is the photo I took there. This is a view looking East from the top of the mountain, with the shadow of Mauna Kea looming over the clouds and horizon.

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In general, I tend not to try to replicate images in a literal way. Still, sometimes the look of the ‘real thing’ is just so graphic and perfect that it must be respected in the piece. I saw a quilt there, and needed to make it. I used only seven different fabrics, including the background, and an overlay of tulle. For the quilting, however, I used around 16 different colors of thread! I decided on a fused, raw-edge applique for the main shapes in the piece (mountain, shadow, shadow areas on mountain and sky, and clouds). I edge stitched the shapes in the foreground, for emphasis. Everything else is held down by the close quilting. About half-way through this I started hearing a lot about Lara’s  new book Crafted Applique…New Possibilities and wished I had a copy, so I could use the “fray-proof” applique method she has apparently discovered…ah well, maybe next time!

For a little quilt, which finishes about 11″ x  16″, I think I have spent more time thinking, sketching, drawing, planning, measuring, selecting and rejecting fabrics, and wondering how to translate what I saw into a tangible object, than with any other thing I’ve ever made. I decided in the end, after trying several different methods, that two layers of black tulle made the best shadow, and that using thread to suggest the sunset colors in the sky was the best way to go.  The quilting took the longest…the lines are about 3/16″ apart, and the thread changes were frequent. Also, many thread colors changed at intersecting shapes and all those ends had to be buried.

I feel really happy with myself for patiently sticking to my vision and working through all the minute details, because I often want to take short cuts for a quick finish. I actually learned that I enjoyed this more meticulous way of working, and I am very satisfied with the results.

In our story of creation, Wakea is the broad expanse, the sky father, partner to Papahanaumoku, earth mother, who gave birth to the islands. Hawai’i island is their hiapo, or eldest child. And Mauna Kea is that child’s piko, or navel. Because of its place in our genealogies, Mauna Kea is a kupuna, an ancestor.

excerpt from Mauna Kea – Temple Under Siege

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Sky Father

11″ x 16″

May 23, 2016

Thanks for visiting! Have a wonderful day.

Sue

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2 thoughts on “Not Improv – But, a Finish!

  1. Sometimes it really is worth taking the long road to a finish – all that attention to detail has really paid off here!

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