It is about time I made something new. Now I have finished lots of things I finally had time to get back to creating something fresh. Inspired by a call for entry to a new exhibition I have spent the past month working on a new quilt. The exhibition will be called 'Light The World'.
My initial thoughts were to create fabric that would appear to glow and then work with that. It was good to get out all my old dyeing equipment. I haven't dyed very much in my new temporary studio as I am petrified of spilling something on the carpet. What you can't see in this picture is the huge amount of plastic on the floor!
Here I am applying wax lines to the fabric before painting on thickened dyes - that's what is in the row of pots. I use soy wax as it is easy to wash out and I melt it in a mini fryer I bought for £5 in the British Heart Foundation shop. It is brilliant as the thermostat keeps it at just the right temperature and it did't cost a small fortune.
After lots of very careful rinsing to make sure the colours didn't bleed into each other I had lots of strips similar to the one below.
The rules for this exhibition stipulated that the quilt must be able to be rolled from top to bottom for transport and any protrusions must also be able to be rolled. No 3D work would be considered.
If you are making a piece for a specific call for entry it is really important to make sure you check all these details before you start work. Already the ideas I had in mind seemed to be falling apart as I had wanted to add some dimension to this piece. Rather that spend time making something that would get discounted immediately I got in touch with the exhibition organiser and explained what I had in mind. Fortunately she agreed that so long as the piece was wall hung and could be rolled what I had in mind would be acceptable. Fingers crossed the juror thinks so too.
My plan was to have the long strips of fabric draping in a swag in such a way as to leave a negative space in the centre forming the shape of a flame; I was thinking candles.
I made thin cords by cutting very long (around 6 metre lengths) of thick thread and manually twisted them until they curled back on themselves. It took 2 days to make enough cords and the trickiest part was getting them to finish at the correct length.
When all the cords were made I layered strips of fabric and inserted a cord down the centre, similar to the wick of a candle. I used a simple embroidery stitched down the length of the fabric, trapping the cord using some of my favourite Aurifil 12 threads and some beautiful hand dyed threads I bought from Hazel and Terry at 'In Stitches' from their new online pop-up shop.
It isn't a very exciting photo at this stage, but you'll see why I did it below.
I also sewed a few thousand seed stitches on one of the strips to create the words 'In loving memory' as a void. It was important that the words were created by what was not there, to signify the loss this quilt is about.
Back to the cords.............. by gently pulling, each of the strips gathers up, creating a very soft rippled effect. When hung on the wall it contributes to the candle flame I was aiming for.
"The simple act of lighting a candle speaks beyond words and within the gentle flame one finds warmth, light and comfort. For some the softness of candlelight delivers peace and tranquillity, offering a glimmer of hope in the darkness. For others the flame consoles grief and forms a visible connection with those who are no longer here.
Twisted cords unite us, whether as brothers and sisters, couples, families or communities. In grief we can feel we are alone, but when we look up we see others who are there for us; it is true that many strands are stronger than one.
My solitary flame sends a message of love and hope to those who are grieving or feel alone, especially during these challenging times. Remember, we are united by the flame and the cord."
Claire Passmore 2020.
Thanks for reading.