Dear One ~
When the Milwaukee Art Quilters (MArQ) voted on the theme for this year's group challenge, I was not overly enthused. The guidelines were:
My first inspiration was to use the word INDIGO, but the idea of one large mandala on a piece 31" square was not at all appealing. Next, I thought I could use the names of different shades of blue. This would consist of creating new stencils for Blue, Caribbean, Navy, Turquoise, Sky Blue, etc. in a variety of colors unto a white background. But then I realized that I would need to purchase new paint medium or experiment with another type of fabric paint and decided that I had neither the time or the patience to do that. After these several false starts and aborted attempts, panic of the deadline set in and I was able to 'let go' of ego (thinking too much) and allowed the MUSE to step in to create this latest challenge piece.
The soft blue batik fabric was selected for the background and then cut to a size 33" x 33", since I tend to design visually. Next, I took out my binder of stencils and selected words that could reflect this Carl Jung quote: "Who looks outside, dreams; Who looks inside, awakes." Playing with the placement and arrangement of these stencils on the fabric background, I instinctively knew when it seemed pleasing to the eye, that it was ready to paint.
I went with the original idea of different shades of blue, but when the stencils were removed, the piece looked too green in places. Now what? The Judge (that inner critical voice), was not liking this work. Self doubt was getting in the way of progress. The deadline was screaming loudly in my head. I just wanted to give up! So I did the next best thing. I packed up the piece and met Casey for a cup of tea and a reality check. (We call our bi-weekly meeting 'Stand By Me'. It's a time when we show and share our latest work and concerns and gently critique each other with support to keep our creativity on track.) It worked! She encouraged this stretch out of my comfort zone, recommended blue thread for the quilting and sent me on my way with a new enthusiasm for this work.
Back in the studio, I began to see the piece with new eyes. In some spots the stencil was repositioned and another layer of paint was added. Then I took Casey's advice and challnged myself to some free motion stitching. It was uncomfortable. I used the ripper more than once to unstitch an area. the piece took three solid days to complete from this point. It became a labor of love and felt somewhat like giving birth as this new piece emerged.
Now the question: what to name it? I decided on 'Calm the Blues - - - Look Within' with this description to be read during the selection process at the MArQ meeting:
"Carl Gustav Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist who changed the way we think about the human psyche, or personality is the inspiration for this ‘Blues' challenge quilt.
His quote: "Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes." gave me the idea that the best way to conquer the blues (anxiety) is to look for our strength within.
Looking closer, one will find words or messages: ‘Let go', ‘Smile', ‘Hope', ‘Faith', ‘Breathe', ‘Believe', etc. floating in this piece. The free motion quilting was a personal challenge which at one point gave me ‘the blues'."
The competition was stiff this year. Nineteen artists submitted quality interpretations of the theme. All of them winners in my humble opinion. The eight chosen quilts will be a strong representation at the AQS Show in July 2011. The entire group will have a very strong exhibit in Plymouth in August 2011. (Look here for more information in the future.) I am excited and honored to be a member of this group.
Here is a snapshot of my finished piece. What do you think? Can you find the hidden messages?
Until Next Time ~ Dare to Dream!
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