Saturday, December 1, 2007

Going Green

A year and a half ago I received an invitation, along with about 40 other quilt artists, to participate in a show to be presented at a gallery in Tillamook, Oregon in March of 2008. Now how can you say no to someone who gives you that much lead time? Besides, I was honored to have been asked and I thought it would be kind of fun. There were some guidelines: the finished piece had to be 18" wide by 45" long and the theme was "Its Good to be Green". We could interpret that any way we wanted. I started mulling over ideas in my head and discarded most of them as not too exciting.

Shortly after I said I would participate in the show I traveled "home" to Prince Edward Island to help celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. It was August and by then the landscape surrounding my high desert Wyoming home had settled into its mid-summer tones of beige and brown. When I got off the plane on PEI I felt as though someone had turned my visual sensors to read green. I couldn't believe how lush and tropical everything looked. After all, we are talking about an annual difference in rainfall of many, many inches between Wyoming and the Island. I took lots of photos while I was there and soon settled on one that would be the basis for my "Good to be Green" quilt. I even had a name - "The Green, Green Grass of Home". Once I returned from the Island I doodled around for a few months until I had the design I wanted, then summer came round again and I put away all things fabric until the cooler weather returned this fall. By then I had come up with a second possible design for a quilt for the show and I decided to proceed with both and choose the one I preferred once they were complete.

In September I got serious about putting them together and dyed all the fabric I needed for both quilts. I experimented with batik on the one and was quite pleased with the results. I kept working on the two quilts along with a half dozen other projects until I suddenly realized my huge lead time was getting shorter and shorter and I needed to focus on one or the other and get it done. I settled on my first idea and finished the applique and started on the quilting about a month ago. I was still feeling pretty good about it all until I went back and read the correspondence in early November and realized I had to have a photograph of the finished quilt to the curator by December 1st. And that I would be gone for at least a week of that time over Thanksgiving. Aaagh! I put in lots of hours over the last few days and sent the photo off on time (barely) yesterday. Even though it doesn't say anywhere that we can't show the quilt, it doesn't feel quite right doing so before the show opens so I am going to do what I have seen done by one of the other participants and just show one of the detail shots here. I am pretty pleased with the final piece. The bamboo/cotton combination fabric I used took the dye beautifully and the colors are rich as I had hoped they would be. Ken thinks I need to add a flock of geese in the sky and I may still do so even though I have sent the photo already.
I am excited to be able to move on to other projects now. This summer I wondered if I would ever quilt again - I just seemed to have lost the desire. It has returned with a vengeance over the last few months and I have enough designs backed up on my drawing board to take me through the next ten years at least!

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