Saturday, April 01, 2006

Winter ArtImage 2006

Things come together in odd ways – I’m not complaining, I rather like the serendipity of how my life unfolds. So, here’s my story…
In the middle of March I decided to join up with the “Use What You Have” folks (Simple Sparrow and Sooz) and force myself to complete the ArtImage Challenge in the spirit of that adventure. With less than ten days left on the challenge, I was running out of time and doing something (anything!) was pushing me to leap into action. Years ago I got some “vintage” kimonos. As it turns out they were a rather odd collection of kimonos, haoris and michiyukis – I got them for the fabric and except for being used as dress-up costumes by my girls they’ve stayed in a box in the closet. Great, decision made, I knew I would finally make use of the fabric. The image chosen for the challenge was “Yuhi Hill and the Drum Bridge at Meguro” #111 in a series called One Hundred Famous Views of Edo by Utagawa Hiroshige. With my decision to use only the fabric from the vintage clothing I severely limited the palette that I would work from so I decided to emphasize Yuhi Hill, the trees and the Furo River.

I sketched a rough landscape, trying not to have it appear too cartoonish. The snow and the blue of the river just didn’t seem to fit. With my limited Fabrico pens for coloring the white silk (lining from one of the garments), I chose to make the hill bluish and the river yellow-gold. I machine stitched the silk, creating an 8 x 12 grid of 1-½ inch blocks. I wanted the finished quilt to have 100 blocks for the 100 Views of Edo and the fact that Hiroshige’s art were woodblock prints. (Four red “chop” mark blocks were added later to bring the count up to 100… my mind? yeah, enter at your own risk!)

The trees were fused on and raw edged appliquéd with a purple thread. When I was taking the “kimonos” apart I felt a little sad – they were all hand-stitched – but with my daughter cheering me on “Mom, you’re getting them out of the closet and honoring the original maker be re-using them and creating something new!” That made me feel better AND she wanted small squares of silk to make tsumami kanzashi (folded silk flowers hairpins.)

Where was I…

I used three of the garments: red for accents and the back of the quilt; dark wood-grain looking fabric for trees and asymmetric side panels; and green-gray for center panel. From one of the haori I salvaged two “ties” that I decided to incorporate into the design. I attached them to a red rectangle of silk. I quilted the center panel using a stylized snowflake Japanese family crest from the Edo Period. (I just knew that that Japanese Design Motifs: 4,260 Illustrations of Japanese Crest would come in handy some day!)

I finished up with some beading – emphasizing the snowflakes with white beads and adding falling snow to the sky.

Overall, I’m okay with the results. Eccentric design, extravagant coloration, sentimental sadness... they kind of work. Use what I got, done on time… even better!

First Snow
20.75" x 28.50"


jenclair said...

Wonderful! I love the quilting pattern, the unusual color combinations, and the fact that you used what you had!

Granny Fran said...

You succeeded in creating a piece of Asian beauty within the limitations you placed on your design. I'm fascinated by your research and love the way you used those ties on the red rectangle. The third dimension adds a lot to the impact.

PaigeTurner said...

I like the starkness of the landscape, the serenity of the way you've framed it. Gorgeous!

teri springer said...

Absolutely wonderful. It takes my breath away! So clean and simple yet so evocative. Like a Haiku.


Deb H said...

Simply beautiful.

Deb Geyer said...

I think it is lovely, Kim. I like how you combined the different motifs into one piece.

Good job!

Micki said...

This is a wonderful interpretation.
Your quilting really makes the piece sing.