"Take the time to smell the roses, my dear, before they fade away"
Over the past few weeks I have been working on creating some fabrics to use for another new quilt for the 'Words of Wisdom' series. The inspiration for this quilt came from a conversation between two ladies who were waiting in the checkout queue at the supermarket. It was a long line, and they were having quite a melancholy chat about how time really does seem to fly, especially as we grow older. I was stood behind them and somehow became involved with their conversation. We chatted for quite a few minutes until it came to their turn to pay.
Although they were busy packing their shopping into the trolley one of the ladies turned to me, and with a sigh said "Take the time to smell the roses, my dear, before they fade away." How right she is.
When I came to design the quilt based on these poignient words I remembered a quilt that I made quite a few years ago, also based on Roses. It was part of my South African 'Destination' series, more of which you can see here.
This is that quilt - it is called 'City of Roses', and refers to the city of Bloemfontein. I enjoyed making it very much, as at the time I was experimenting with dyeing my own fabric and piecing free cut curves, and learned a lot about how to make both processes easy.
For the new quilt I decided to look back at this one and use it as my starting point.
Starting with the background I chose the same technique as I did for the original quilt. This time, however I wanted to add lots of interest to the fabric. I did a little work in my sketchbook to explore different ideas and did a few trials on a selection of fabrics.
Rather than just using a simple spiral to depict the roses I decided to make it a little more elaborate. I made a printing block from lino and experimented with different types of paints. The sample above are acrylic paint and Markal oilstick on a piece of organza.
I also experimented with mono printing - spreading acrylic paint directly over the surface of a glass topped table and drawing spirals into the wet paint.
This is the piece of fabric I ended up with. It is a mixture of mono prints, block prints and black lines made with thickened dye which I 'drew' using a squeezy bottle. At this stage it is looking way too busy.
For the second piece of fabric I wanted to use some of the words spoken by the lady. There are a few options for writing on fabric, and wanting bold text I decided to try out writing with thickend dye. I mixed up some manutex and some extra black dye, put it into a squeezy bottle and did my best joined-up handwriting! I later added some further text with a pale grey fabric marker to contrast with the black text.
From all the trials these are the two fabrics I have decided to go ahead with.
Laying them on top of each other like this immediately showed me that the frame of words idea was not going to work, so I took the plunge and chopped the floral fabric into 3 large panels. I then experimented with a few different layouts - horizontal, vertical and a mixture of both. I also wondered about cutting the fabric into even smaller pieces - but in the end I decided to go with option 3 below.
I also decided to knock back some of the vibrancy of the floral fabric by layering it with a large piece of organza before quilting. I always like the softening effect this can have, and in this instance I liked the way it made some of the less prominent flowers begin to fade into the background.
Returning to the original quilt for inspiration, I added yet another layer to the quilt - this time in a horizontal band across the top third of the quilt. Looking at my sketchbook pages there were lots of options for rose shapes - and again, after trialling a few , I chose to echo the shape I had already cut for the lino printing block to maintain a sense of continuity throughout the quilt.
From the photo above you can just about see thet I chose straight lines for the quilting - I felt this quilt was busy enough already, without adding any addition linear detail. And this is how it has turned out. I am going to mount it on stretcher bars when I get back to the UK - so no conventional binding or further finishing is required. I am calling it finished!
'Unfolding Stories 2'
I belong to a great group called 'Contemporary Quilter's West'. Between June 24th and July 5th we shall be holding our second group exhibition, 'Unfolding Stories 2' at Rook Lane Chapel in Frome. It is beautiful venue an I think our work will hang beautifully there. The group is incredibly talented and I am proud to be a member and I hope to have some of the quilts from this series selected to hang in the exhibition.
The exhibition will be on during the Frome Festival so if you are in the area at that time it would be lovely to welcome you to the Chapel.
Unfolding Stories 2
June 24th to July 5th 2016
Rook Lane Chapel, Frome
Thanks for reading.