When it comes to the sewing machine, I am certainly NOT an advanced user. I can sew straight lines, shorten some curtains or mend jeans – but I am not good with interpreting sewing patterns or creating intricate wearables… I am more of a “try and error” gal. So making a quilt was definitely not on my mind!
But that is what I finally chose to create: a freestyle art quilt. But first of all, while I have been visiting Venice last year, I admired the decorated windows of the houses and took some pictures for inspiration. Back home, I edited the photographs and had them printed on fabric. Then, I began to stitch onto the pictures, emphasizeing elements and adding further items as I went along. After three pictures were worked on, I realised that the heart symbol was a recurring object and thus decided to incorporate it into all window portraits. The heart and other symbols turn the pictures surreal; and each window opens the way to another allegory…
Let me explain the individual works a bit:
“Snake bite” is an allegory of temptation. The heart is tempted and failed to resist. Thus it was bitten by the seducer.
“The catch” is an allegory of possession. The heart is possessed by a hunter, probably someone with power (the bait arsenal).
“Flying the tightrope” is an allegory of frivolity. The heart is ready to take great risks. This mentality can give the mind wings. But it can as well shatter the heart.
“Growing pain” is an allegory of growth and – more universal – evolution. Tiny heart-buds are blooming. The balcony is entered through the window of youth and left through the window of seniority. All development comes with growing pain.
“Aerating” is an allegory of self-care. Not only the outer layers are to be held clean and fresh, also emotions (good AND bad) need to be cared for and not neglected. Only thus can the heart recharge.
“Ying and Yang” is an allegory of opposites and commonalities. Sun and moon, heart and brain – they compete against AND complete each other. They often stand opposite yet still on the same balcony.
“Escape” is an allegory of emotionality. When windows are closed by reasoning, emotion has it’s own life and can still escape the rationality.
“Freed” is an allegory of salvation. The body might be tortured, but the soul is freed.
Back to the process of creating the quilt: After having finished the eight window portraits, I machine sewed fabric scraps losely together for the background of the piece. I then handquilted them properly in Boro style. This took hours, I can tell you! But it is a very calming work and I like doing it. The fabric scraps are all upcycled; I collected them as leftovers from other projects, as pieces of once loved clothing or I was given them by friends. In this particular piece, I wanted to include all the colors of the color wheel to show the rainbow of all possible emotions and situations life holds.
The next step was fixing the window portraits on the background. And then I watched a bunch of Youtube tutorials to learn how to batt and bind a quilt. My result is rather crippled (don’t look at the backside of the quilt…) but at least I could use up some old cloth and random pieces of batting for it! 😉
I am fairly pleased with the final piece; it speaks to me in many ways. I like symbolism and surrealism, and I like the colors, and I think my work transports the messages I wanted it to transport.