Nellie"s Needles

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pounded Leaves Piece

Since the beginning of this new year I've been struggling to make this piece work. Even the possibility of cutting it up to make smaller works occurred to me.
I'm pleased with the background piecing. All those elements came together easily and fit together so well. The negative maple leaf images in the discharged linen fabric mirrored those pounded into the muslin square. The bottom piece "reflected" the muslin square. While the fabric with stripes of natural colors became winter time tree trunks. The five tapestry woven dragonflies seemed the perfect topper.
It all began with this piece of muslin that got an impromptu pounding of leaves into it. I've had moments of nostalgia for its original fresh appearance of simple leaves.
Over time I've added paint, ink, oil stick pastels, and lots of seed stitching trying to make it work ... to integrate it with the background ... to keep it visually anchored instead floating above. In recent days even more paint, ink, and pastels were added. This solution of darkening the muslin panel came to me when I began to see and think of this piece in a different context.
Earlier this month I joined the Liberated Quilters Yahoo group. The group's project, The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI), got me thinking about this disease that afflicts loved ones in so many families. At some point, I began to relate the dimming and loss of memories to the background elements within this piece.
From my own experience, I know the joy experienced when a memory or moment of recognition surfaces momentarily in a loved ones afflicted mind. That is what I now see in the muslin square.

Now that this piece has a meaning beyond that of being a delightful whim, I can take it to completion with thought and care.

11 comments:

Heather said...

It is comforting to know that even someone with your skills and experience can have problems making things work! I actually like this piece without the central muslin square, but that takes away your subject for this quilt. I am sure you will resolve it beautifully.

Julie said...

I have never done any flower pounding but I like your muslin square with the addition of seed stitching. I'm glad you've found a way to resolve this piece. My husband's mother had Alzheimers and I know the joy of a flash of understanding or connection. As Heather said, it's interesting to read of your struggle to sort this piece out and it's good to know that you've persevered and not given up. I have several UFOs myself that should probably be looked at again!

Kay said...

The darker piece also is more integrated with the striped bit on the side now. How did you make it darker?

Karen said...

A wonderful solution! Adding the darker notes just brings it all together. Having the added meaning of memory to it makes it so much more special. I liked it when it was just the pounded leaves, Now it is a full chorus. Well done!
ps, your postcard is still here..I will be sending it in a week or so, I am so behind!!!!

Libby Fife said...

It is hard to just let something "sit" while you think about it. I do like the leaves and background darker. The piece appears stronger too.

Darlene said...

Nicely done! Now it looks like it belongs, rather than floating on top. I agree with Heather; it's nice to know that it takes you a while to figure things out sometimes, too!

Sometimes walking away from a piece from a while is what it takes. When you come back to it later, you know how to finish it.

MargaretR said...

That is now a really meaningful and well balanced piece of art. It pays to think a while before taking final decisions.

Mermaid's Purse said...

Oh Wow - it looks amazing together now! Beautiful!

Mermaid's Purse said...

Hi Nellie, yes I have been catching up on blog reading and spent a wonderful few hours yesterday reading the past 6 months on your blog .......... especially following "Prairie Performance" from start to finish!!

Gail P said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I've been in awe of your Prairie work for quite awhile, wow, to see that piece hung must be thrilling. Also, I enjoy your "thing" for Elvis. The leaf piece is very meaningful to me; mom has started collecting leaves and twigs from the yard when she does her afternoon pacing/sundowning. Maybe I'll do something with them such as pound the leaves and add the twigs to a mini quilt. Thanks for the inspiration!

Debra said...

If we are quiet and listen, the solution comes to us. Well, if we can get out of our own way! Much better!