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.

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