Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Making Triptych

Atlanta Triptych by Janice Hunter, Elaine Parker and Aisha Lumumba.

I was overjoyed when Dee asked if I would talk more about the making of this Triptych. At first I thought we would do some kind of landscape picture. Then Elaine mentioned that she would have a better chance with a cityscape. Atlanta was our choice. We went a bridge downtown where we could get a good view of the city and snapped several pictures. Needless to say we visited that bridge several times. I divided the picture into three pieces so that we could choose. It was quickly decided that Elaine would do the middle because her media was so different from mine and Janice's. Quilting on each end and beading in the middle.

I was the last to choose. Later Janice said she realized that her section had a lot of small buildings. Deciding on the size of it was hard. Janice and I wanted a large piece that would make it easy to replicate those windows in the buildings. Elaine wanted a smaller piece because it would take thousands of beads to cover a really large surface. I want to think we made a pretty good compromise, 20"x40". We made a lot of decisions before we even started working. In order to make it flow from one to the other, we decided to use the same fabric for the sky and the pavement. We met at Marquetta's ( and got just the right fabric.
It was much later in the project when we decided that we would all quilt the sky with the same quilting pattern to continue the consistency.
Then we went away to our prospective places to work. I suggested to Janice that she think about some plaid fabric that would give the feeling of the windows in the building. She searched on line and found some plaids that worked really well. Everyone comments on that tall plaid building that instantly reminds you of the real thing, while something inside your brain is saying but the real thing is not plaid.
I leaned on stripes and used one of Janice's plaids. I pieced one building by making strips and cutting them into small square pieces and sewing them back together. Elaine on the other hand was creating buildings and taking them apart and creating them again and again. Some days she seemed so frustrated with those beads. I knew that it would be fabulous when ever she finished. I was never worried.
The hardest part was seeing it as a whole. When you work right on top of the work so much, it is real important to stand back and look at it. For the longest time it was just bits and pieces of buildings, then fitting them into the space was the next challenge. Truth be told a few small buildings might have gotten left off. I had collected green fabrics with leaves over time, so we all shared those.
A few months rolled by and we were steadily working. Then we were quilting.
Finally we were finished. It was just days before the exhibit opened but before was the operative word.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow in ATL

Snow Days are usually the best time to get some work done for an artist. When it snows in Atlanta, the whole city literally shuts down. When my children were little we built a snow man. Mind you, we only would have about an inch or two of snow. So they would take their wagon up and down the street scraping snow off the neighbors cars and then carting it back to our yard. Of course we were know for having the only snow man the next day after all the snow was gone. My new grand baby is too little for that and hopefully I'll still be up to it by the time he gets old enough to cart snow from the neighbors. If things (weather) keeps going like it is going, we won't have to get snow from the neighbors. We had our very own 4 inches this time, much more than enough to make a great snow man.
Boy was I excited to have these snow days. You see, I have this quilt that I have been working on far too long and I just got it to the final stage. I loaded it on the Long Arm quilting machine and planned to wilde away the days stitching up and down. The first day I was really rolling when I noticed a strange smell. It seemed like it was coming from the motor, but the machine still sounded good. I'm always listening for that sound that means something is not just right. No sound, though.
I put my nose close to the motor. The smell was not coming from it. So I started taking long breaks thinking that maybe I was running it hard and hot. Each time I came back to the machine, it would smell the same by the time I reached the end of a row. I couldn't figure it out.
Then all of a sudden the machine stopped. When I pressed the button the motor would run but the machine itself would not budge. Finally I moved the protective cover of the belt and it popped out. It had snapped. Oh well, so much for finishing that project.
So I hurriedly grabbed another one. It would be a shame to let these lazy days past without getting some real lazy day work done.