Four-in-Art February 2017: Shimmery Tunnel of Memories

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Every time I head to Washington, DC and go to the National Gallery of Art, I head downstairs to go through this light insulation by Leo Villarreal, titled Multiverse.  The lights are static, then blinking, then shimmering, then moving and I never tire of it.

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Shimmery Tunnel of Memories, Quilt #177
Four-in-Art, Series Four: Light
10 1/2″ wide 16″ high

Our Four-in-Art art quilt group’s yearly theme for 2017 is Light, and our first quarterly challenge was shimmer.

multiverse_1Shimmer is best captured in movement, in seeing the light flicker and move and wink and flash, so it was a hard one to interpret in cloth.  But I had taken a snapshot of Multiverse on a trip to DC, and used that as inspiration for this challenge.

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I’ll do the Deconstruction on the this quilt in the next post.

Please visit the others in our Four-in-Art group, and see how they interpreted the Challenge of Shimmer:

Betty        Sun Shimmer, Filtered

Camilla         http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

All of our blocks are on our blog, Four-in-Art.

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Six Ways to Blue, a Four-in-Art quilt for November 2016

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Six Ways to Blue
Quilt #169, November 2016
19 1/2″ high by 21″ wide
#4 in the Color Series: I’ve Got the Blues

Blues can mean too many things, all at once.  Peacefulness, depression, sadness, the thrill of a line of music (a wailing saxophone), my favorite crayon in the box and the color of my husband’s eyes.  I could think of references to blues six ways to Sunday and never run out of things to link that color to: ocean, sky, geysers, crystals, ice, flowers.

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Blue also has a powerful connotation to mood.  The other day when I was feeling a bit blue, my blue-eyed son surprised me with a FaceTime call from London, just before he was calling it a day (having traveled through the blue skies and over the big blue ocean to get there). We chatted about his recent travels to Madrid, our travels to Lisbon last year, where we together with my blue-eyed husband saw the azulejos (blue and white tiles) of that country.  It lifted my spirits, and I was thankful for his true-blue devotion and caring.

The only ancient people who had the word blue in their vocabulary were the Egyptians, largely because they had developed a blue dye.  In 1858 a scholar named William Gladstone, who later became the prime minister of Great Britain studied Icelandic sagas, the Koran, ancient Chinese stories, and an ancient Hebrew version of the Bible. Of Hindu Vedic hymns, he wrote: “These hymns, of more than ten thousand lines, are brimming with descriptions of the heavens. Scarcely any subject is evoked more frequently. The sun and reddening dawn’s play of color, day and night, cloud and lightning, the air and ether, all these are unfolded before us, again and again … but there is one thing no one would ever learn from these ancient songs … and that is that the sky is blue.” (from here)

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Wikipedia notes that the clear sky and the deep sea appear blue because of an optical effect known as Rayleigh scattering. When sunlight passes through the atmosphere, the blue wavelengths are scattered more widely by the oxygen and nitrogen molecules, and more blue comes to our eyes. Rayleigh scattering also explains blue eyes; there is no blue pigment in blue eyes.

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We’re not the only artists inspired by the blues.

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Untitled Blue Monochrome (1960)

Yves Klein (1928-1962) was a French artist who worked with a chemist to create a startling Ultramarine Blue when he mixed powder with synthetic resin.  He patented this as IKB: International Klein Blue, and became known for his use of this color.

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When Klein came to California to work as a visiting artist, Edward Kienholz “gave him this kit as a welcome gift, providing Klein with tools to create…while away from his home studio.”  The valise, which has a tag that reads “resident of the universe,” includes “such things as a spray can of IKB paint, a page of instructions, [and] a jar labeled GRIT” (text taken from National Gallery of Art label next to painting).

“Klein’s attraction to blue was rooted in his belief that it was the least material color: ‘All colors bring forth associations of concrete ideas, while blue evokes all the more the sea and the sky, which are what is most abstract in tangible and visible nature.”

I love blue in all its variants, and enjoyed bringing the abstract to the tangible in cloth and thread.

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We will begin again next year with a new challenge, going on our fifth year.  We have people who join us, leave us, but a few of us keep going on.  Please visit the other members of our group and see how they interpreted this challenge:

Betty         on Flickr

Camilla         faffling.blogspot.co.nz

Catherine       www.knottedcotton.com

Janine      www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone         quiltalicious.blogspot.com

Susan         patchworknplay.blogspot.com

We also have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, where you can find us all.

FYI: The next post talks about the construction, the pattern I used, and the next challenges,
and why I want to make this all over again (because some parts really bug me).

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I do not know about, nor choose, the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
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Jill in the Pulpit: Four-in-Art Challenge • Aug 2016

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Jill in the Pulpit
Quilt No. 166, August 2016
#3 in the Color Series: Purple Passion

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I have no serious thoughts about the color purple even though there’s a novel with that title, and even though it has so many interesting connections (which were explored in my last post and which seems like it was written about a year ago, but really it’s only been several days).  Where do summer days go to?  To family picnics, visiting relatives, long interstate drives, trips, lounging around in hot weather cleaning house. . . the usual.  And then I had to ponder what I’m passionate about?  Quilting, for sure, so in the end, the reality is to Get The Thing Done, diving into my passion of quilting, but hampered by. . .

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. . . my shoulder going rogue, rendering me only a bit less helpless than the Black Knight in Monty Python, which is the standard by which we judged all injuries when raising the children.  Yes, “tis only a flesh wound,” became our rallying cry for getting up and going, and so I did, and got the quilt done. Cause? Pretty sure it was the cheap-o yoga class I signed up for early this spring, and couldn’t finish because of the pain. I’m sticking to walking.  Or sword-fighting.

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All the purples in my stash (with the exception of the Kaffes) were purchased about the time of the Knights of the Round Table — all plummy and grayish and dated — so while in Utah, I visited *this* shop and *this* shop, acquiring a few new fat quarters.

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Just before sleep one night, I sketched out an idea (top).  The next day I proceeded to massacre my idea (the rest of the photos).  Finally I decided that I should just slash it where it had problems and insert other fabrics, so I did, using *this video* for help in sewing curves.

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I line up fabric underneath the slash, position it, then move it about 1/4″ back from my imaginary positioning line, then rotary cut along the shape.  Stitch a 1/4″ seam. Press.

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Repeat with other side.

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Keeping the bag of frozen peas balanced on my “flesh wound,” I quilted this, stopping often to rest and ponder the state of the universe. . . or what I was doing.  I hate that I have a new quilting machine, and haven’t really been able to use it much.  “Soon,” my husband says, as he rubs my shoulder nightly and soothes my worries.  “Soon.”JillinPulpit_10

I whacked it here a little, there a little, turned it and whacked it again, until I got this ungainly flower-like thing quilt in a sort-of balance.
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Now you know why I named it Jill in the Pulpit.  It’s irrelevant whether you like the candidate or not, as the Big Deal is that we have come far enough to nominate a woman, and I thought that deserved some recognition.JillinPulpit_9

So there you go–my Purple Passion Challenge.

Please visit the rest of our group, to see how they interpreted Color: Purple Passion.  We also have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, where you can find us all.

Betty         https://www.flickr.com/photos/toot2

Camilla         http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simon         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

Susan         http://patchworknplay.blogspot.com

Friend and Foe: Four-in-Art Challenge • Feb 2016

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Friend & Foe
Quilt No. 156, February 2016
#1 in the Color Series: Microscope

We have a new year and new members (see below) and a new theme: Color.

TaxolMicroscope1And this quarter’s challenge was “microscope.”  So of course, I started haunting microscopy sites, trying to find the right molecule to make for this challenge.  And it had to be colorful, right?

I recently had two friends diagnosed with breast cancer, and one of my other friends, Heather, is a long-term survivor of Stage IV breast cancer.  I knew Taxol was used to combat aggressive cancers; so wrote to my friend Heather (also a professor in biology) for her reaction to that drug.  She went through all the sciencey stuff, but I kept asking “Friend, or, Foe?”

Finally she wrote: “Foe during the treatment.  Friend for the result.”

Taxol assemblage

For something that causes such horrible side effects in the treatment, the molecule is this lovely spherical shape, with the innermost parts looking like four petals of a daisy, or an airplane propeller:

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Of course, I can use any color I want — right? — so I decided to use periwinkle as the background, with magenta and purple as the parts of the molecule.

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I constructed the bit I wanted to by paper piecing, then plain-old-pieced the rest.  I stitched it to a white square, then a chartreuse square, as the purple was just lost on the quilt, plus it imitated the circle around the molecule.  I made different sizes of different fabrics, then finally, small circles.  Then came the arranging: FriendFoe_2a FriendFoe_2FriendFoe_2c

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Using a font like Simone used two challenges back, I printed it the words on freezer paper in my inkjet printer, then cut out each letter.  I didn’t cut out the centers, but just free-handed that when it was time to quilt around them.

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I first outlined the letters with small free-motion quilting stitches, then started stippling around them.FriendFoe_3b FriendFoe_3a FriendFoe_4

I mean, I had just taken a class with David Taylor and if I didn’t know how to stipple now, I never would.  I decided to leave the edges raw on the white and chartreuse fabrics to bring a little organic texture to the process.  All the while, I’m thinking about the women I’ve known who have breast cancer, and while I stippled I sent them –and continue to send them– good karma for a long and happy life.

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The birdcage fabric reminded me of that upper drawing of the sphere of Taxol, plus I liked it.
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I had originally planned to have the quilt go this way: with the “friend” part first, but then I remembered what Heather said, and I realized that the Foe was first, then Friend.  So I switched it around (correct orientation is at the top of the post).

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We went over to my husband’s work (he’s a professor at the local Big U) and I loved this picture of a real “science” hallway, with all the faculty’s posters of their results (shown at meetings) hanging along the hallway.

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This is his office, and why he never cares if my sewing room at home is a mess.  Thank you, dear.

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Simone and I at church, holding our Four-in-Art quilts.  I am happy to have found such a fine group of quilters to make art quilts with.  Bet you are wondering what Simone made, right?  Please visit the rest of our group, to see how they interpreted Color: Microscope.  We also have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, where you can find us all.

Betty         https://www.flickr.com/photos/toot2

Camilla         http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simon         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

Susan         http://patchworknplay.blogspot.com

And Susan just announced next quarter’s challenge: Music.  Reveal is on May 1st, 2016.  Can’t wait to combine both music and color together.

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And That Has Made All the Difference: a Four-in-Art Quilt

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And That Has Made All the Difference
Quilt No. 151, November 2015
#4 in the Literature Series

I close out the Literature Series with another poem, a famous poem, by Robert Frost.  You can even guess what it is by looking at the colors, and those leaves — yes, I chose “The Road Not Taken.”

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I chose a family group picture from the last time we were all together, almost 2 years ago this December, and cut-and-pasted it into a photo I grabbed from the web of a golden allee (which I think must be in New York’s Central Park).  I tweaked it, then printed it on some fabric I’d prepared with Bubble Jet (more info about that on *this* post).

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I let it dry from the printing, then set it with Bubble Jet Set, laid it out to catch the excess moisture (below), then hung it to dry.

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It needed more leaves.  So I cut out scads and scads of leaves from fabric that I’d backed with fusible webbing, and ironed them on.  I framed the photo with a partial log cabin arrangement, then quilted it.

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In conjunction with the making of this quilt, I read the book by David Orr, The Road Not Taken, which is an analysis of this poem, which apparently most of us get wrong (sorry to be the one to break this to you).  We think it’s about rugged individualism, of the choices that we make and how we come out on top.  That idea, apparently, is routed firmly in our American way of looking at things, which is to say, that as a country, America comes out on the top in scales ranking us as the most individualistic  (only the Czech Republic was tied with us.)  And it’s certainly part of the part and parcel of this poem, when we talk about it and think about ourselves as that individual (notice how there are no other people in this poem) striding through a dappled forest, making astute and informed choices.  But really, it’s about so many things.

While there are many threads in this book, I was quite intrigued with the idea of being at the crossroads.  And in introducing that idea, Orr wonders if it’s not about the final victorious moment, but rather it is about”[t]he moment at the crossroads”. . . “in which all decisions are equally likely. We haven’t moved, we haven’t chosen, we haven’t sinned” (51).  Orr quotes the introductory note on Frost in the second edition of The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry:” ‘The Road Not Taken’ seems to be about the difficulty of decision making but is itself strangely reluctant to resolve. It keeps us in the woods, at the crossroads, unsure whether the speaker is actually even making a choice, and then ends not with the decision itself but with a claim about the future that seems unreliable’ ” (70).

MadeDifference_backEven Frost himself, in a note to Leonidas Payne in November of 1927, writes: “My poems—I should suppose everybody’s poems—are all set to trip the reader head foremost into the boundless. Ever since infancy I have had the habit of leaving my blocks carts chairs and such like ordinaries where people would be pretty sure to fall forward over them in the dark. Forward, you understand, and in the dark” (53).

Forward and in the dark is about how I feel about many decisions I make, but the quality of individualism whispers in my ear at all times: I am the one who can see clearly to choose, as if the “I” was unchanging, solid, rooted in bedrock.  Yet doesn’t the choosing change us?  And then doesn’t every choice become monumental?  Orr agrees, saying that “If we can’t persist unchanged through any one choice, then every choice becomes a matter of existential significance—after all, we aren’t merely deciding to go left or right; we’re transforming our very selves” (60-61), which is one aspect of what the poem is about: choice is slippery and transformative, yet a constant in our lives.

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However you think about it, I did make a significant choices some twenty-six years ago to marry my husband, to join with him in raising the four children I brought with me out of a period of loss and devastation, and in doing so I not only changed my life, but the lives of the children.

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“The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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Here they are together.  Somehow I need to stitch them together and meld them together into one quilt.

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About Us: We live all over the world, from Scotland and Australia to the continental United States.  Our blog is *here.*  Please visit the other members of our Four-in-Art Group and see their Literature Art Quilts:

Betty at a Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com
Catherine  at Knotted Cotton (delayed by house flood; will post later)
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Susan at PatchworknPlay
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Next reveal date is February 1st, 2016.  We have had a series of emails amongst ourselves, clarifying where we want to go in the next year, and found again our desire to keep working together.  Rachel is now the head of our group, and we will have a new theme and quarterly challenges.  Stay tuned.
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