The Endeavourers’ Reveal Day, November 2021
The Endeavourers is an online group that creates small art quilts quarterly, all inspired by a chosen theme.
This quarter the theme was “A Headline from a Newspaper,” which I found dismaying. Normally quilting is where I find my peace and I did not want to bring stress and discord into my sewing room.
I thought about choosing a headline from the past, but I kept seeing an image of the real people that are experiencing the tragedies we reduce to headlines. I wanted to show several people, with the headlines stitched into their faces. With time limitations, I narrowed down the focus to just one woman, and sketched her out:
I also knew I didn’t have time to hand stitch the headlines, so I created them in Photoshop, and distorted them to fit the contours of the woman’s face as best I could. Then I removed the original sketch lines, and printed the headlines on a piece of cotton fabric. (I figured it would be easier to cut the fabric pieces to fit around the headlines than to try any more photo editing.)
I thought I had taken in-progress pictures but apparently not.
I pieced the background from batik scraps in highly contrasting patterns. I fused amber and blue-violet scraps to form her face and hair — I didn’t worry about the raw edges because we are all feeling frayed and frazzled these days.
I stitched her eyes on separate scraps and sewed them on — I think they would look better if the stitching were incorporated into the main piece, but it was five layers thick and I didn’t think the needle would go through all the pieces and the fusible layers. (I view these pieces as maquettes for if I were ever to create a piece to enter in a show, so I don’t worry about technical perfection in them.)
For more about my thoughts while making this piece, you can visit my post at The Endeavourers. And while you are there, you can see how the other members of the group interpreted the prompt, with everything from Edwardian ladies on the beach to an Ed Sheeran concert!
While I did not enjoy the topic of this quilt, I do think it is a stronger image than I usually create. I would love to make her a counterpart of positive headlines.
Your art quilt is visually engaging and wonderfully complex.
Thank you. I look forward to taking the lessons I learned and applying them to a more peaceful subject. 🙂
Oh dear, I have no idea how you managed to do this! Emotionally I mean. stitch wise you are on point as usual!!
Thank you, Susan. It gave me a new appreciation for artists that do deal with difficult subjects!
I like that you have made a pun on head lines. Have you seen the work of the Pixeladies? They create cloth with headlines pasted together in Photoshop.
Wow, they are masters! I hadn’t heard of them before and just looked them up.
Well, THAT was a lot of work! The result is excellent, though. Thanks for describing your process.
Well, I felt like I took a lot of shortcuts over what I originally envisioned. 🙂 I love to do hand stitching but it takes so much time, and I would rather spend my time on projects that feel peaceful to me.
CONGRATULATIONS! Your blog has been included in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING.
Thank you, Chris
This is such a striking piece. I find it quite uncomfortable to look at because it conveys the sense of ‘the real people that are experiencing the tragedies we reduce to headlines’ so well. I think it is a very well thought out and well crafted piece of art and I found it really interesting to learn about how you constructed it 🙂
Thank you. I don’t like looking at it either! and yet I feel like it is the strongest image I have ever made. But I much prefer to make soothing images. I could never be one of those artists who earns a reputation by shocking people.
She definitely looks like the information overload that you felt at the beginning of your project. We need more positive in the news.
You are so right. I am glad I don’t have to work on her anymore, she was adding to my sense of stress.
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