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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Knowing When to Fold--Design Element Decisions

 You've seen this quilt before....in a couple of different renditions.  This is my View from the Abyss.  In November, I added some material on the sides in order to make it the right size for an exhibition.  Their minimum size was 30".  While it was 33" tall, it was only 24" wide....so I added panels on the side in order to make it 30".

Then, when I went to enter it in Deux, a Studio Art Quilt Associate's show which was supposed to show a conversation between two pieces, I created this piece, which I called "Progression."  You see, the "View from the Abyss" was supposed to represent depression, looking up from a chasm and related to the way I felt back in 1998 when I was first diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer (for those who don't know, there is no stage V and people with stage IV cancer are given a 10% chance to make it to 5 years after diagnosis).  I was a 38 year old mother of a 4 year old...and I went into a tail spin.

This piece, Progression, was one which related to "Abyss."  Progression is a representation of my reaction to being diagnosed with a recurrence, this time with multiple bone mets.  This happened in 2009, and as I am starting my 3rd year of chemo, I look at life still as golden, but getting narrower and narrower.

Without my telling you this, you wouldn't understand it. This is also probably one of the (many) reasons I didn't make it into Deux.  When  a juror is looking at a piece, it has to speak to them and tell them the story without my narrative.   Obviously, this wasn't done.


Here is "Abyss" in its original form.  I liked the verticality of it and it lost that when I made it wider to fit into the show.  As I looked at it the in preparation for Deux, as well as now, the light area on the left disturbs me...it brings the eye to the outside and it doesn't flow.

I think adding the extra folds of black and taking out the piece improved it, but I don't think that the wider element made it work.

I was preparing the piece to be professionally shot for inclusion in a book and I kept on looking at it in the larger sense.  I had made the appointment to take it in to be shot by a professional photographer because I had a hard time getting this one in focus...and I'm still not sure why, except maybe for my eyesight issues.  The appointment  was for Monday morning.....so last Sunday, while watching Downtown Abbey, I was cleaning all little bits of fuzz, loose threads and cat hair off it...and I decided this wouldn't do.  I needed to re-make it one more time, cutting off some of the stuff on the sides.

So, here it is in it's final form.  I think it is better than the original, and MUCH better back as the narrower piece.

So...what did I learn?  Don't mess with your basic image to "make it fit" into a show...unless you are George Scilliano who famously took one of his miniature paper pieced wonders and re-blocked it into the right size to get into a show.  Go with your basic feeling...if the design feels right, then do it and let the sizes for shows go to the wind.

In addition, don't make quilts just to fit the theme of a show, unless you really really want to make a piece and have been thinking about it and this show just happened to come along.  It is much better to make art which makes you happy and find shows to enter after the fact.  Your design will be much better....and you will be much saner and happier in the long run.

Just curious...which rendition do you think is better and why?

Once again, I'm playing along with Nina-Marie Sayer and am participating in her Off-the-Wall Fiber Friday...even if it is Saturday.  Day late, dollar short that's me!  You can find lots of other wonderful fibery stuff at her blog here.  (  http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com/  )

6 comments:

KittyKwilter said...

Like Progression!

Lisa Quintana said...

Thankss,KittyKwilter. It is difficult to shoot...that white background is a bear...and I really needed to shoot it outside as my lights were doing all sorts of strange things to it.

Nina Marie said...

okay - just going on the record here - this piece should have been accepted to QN - I love love it - the texture - the use of neutrals - the mastery of value - sighh

Karen S Musgrave said...

This is a wonderful quilt. I love the texture! Bravo!

Linda Mac said...

I love the final version. Thank you for the back story, and God bless you for your courage.

Lisa Quintana said...

Thank you all for your kind words. Nina Marie, I don't have any problem that this wasn't accepted into QN. I have seen a number of quilts which didn't make it in, and many are jaw droppers.

This particular piece isn't one which grabs you because of its color..and it really shows much better in real life...I am never satisfied with the photos of it, even the one which I just paid a professional photographer to shoot.

Quilt National also usually goes with quilts which are big....and this one isn't. In fact, it would be one of the smaller ones they have. When you have to fill a barn with 80 quilts..well, that comes into play, probably one of the last points, but it does make a difference. In addition, it may not have fit with the ones which were chosen.....but I don't delude myself, I am sure it never even got that far...and that's ok. :)