Sunday, January 31, 2010

Color me Curious --- Kim

Color me Curious   (19 x 17 inches)
Hand-dyed and commercial fabric, inkjet print on fabric,
 machine pieced, ribbon and bead embellishment,
 and machine quilted

Process and Design notes

As I studied the photo that I planned to use, I wasn’t sure if I knew who that child was or if she had anything in common with who I was now. At the time of that picture, my Dad was an Air Force pilot and my Mom, at 25, had just given birth to her third child (another would be born in just ten months), and my role of big sister seemed to be reflected in those Christmas presents.

I scanned the 2 inch square photograph into Photoshop and tried to imagine what it would look like in color. I looked for color clues in the gifts I had received. I was intrigued by the rug and curtains, and did manage to research what the curtains probably looked like.

As I looked more at the photo, I thought about my parents - who they were and what they wanted for me. Then, while I was considering the fact that my mother wanted four sons (she had four daughters), the song “Stout-Hearted Men” came to mind. Weird leap... but music was always in the house. The refrain was familiar to me but I couldn’t remember the lead in lyrics, so I looked them up:

You who have dreams, if you act, they will come true
To turn your dream to a fact, it's up to you
If you have the soul and the spirit, never fear it, you'll see it through.
Hearts can inspire other hearts with their fire.
For the strong obey when a strong man shows them the way.

The words inspired me and helped acknowledge the feeling that my parents had showed their children the way – the way to become the strong, independent, responsible and resilient adults that we are today.

As therapeutic as that was for me, I still needed to craft a quilt. I decided on the neutral palette and worked on the face to get the size and coloring I wanted. I was pleased when I found the fabric for the hair and where I had planned stronger punches of color for the hearts, I choose the ribbon primarily for the blue accents. I wanted to keep the quilting "juvenile" so I simply echoed the design elements. Finally, I added some beads to capture some light like that I saw reflected in the tinsel on the Christmas tree.


  1. What a great glimpse into your thoughts and design process-thanks for the sketchbook shots. The idea of the piece being "juvenile" works too but there really is a lot going on in the piece which when you look more deeply, seems a little more complex.

  2. I can certainly identify with much that is happening in your piece--I think you and I were thinking along similiar wavelengths with our ideas.

    I believe that Hearts can Inspire Hearts--what a great title. Your execution is spot-on, Kim. Thanks for all the beads and surface design too!

  3. Thank you for sharing your process and sketchbook- and your thoughts! You've just confirmed again my belief that artmaking can be a very therapeutic process, not just creative. Your photo has me wondering what lies beneath her eyes--

  4. Great effort, and very thought-provoking. I think it's inspired that you purposely kept it juvenile. I would not have thought to do that. I enjoyed reading your story.

  5. Those eyes. I recognize those eyes. They're the same ones I see in the fabric portrait that's the picture of you on your blog. Which by the way, I love that one.

    This one is appealing all on its own without the back story. Knowing your (his)story gives it depth.

    Seeing your notebook pages that reveal your thought and design process is a treat. Thank you.

  6. Another interesting and individual piece. I agree with Libby that there is so much going on in this, that juvenile seems not to do it justice. I like the colors particularly, and enjoyed seeing the design notebook.

  7. So insightful, reading about the back story of the quilt. Very well done. I love the title as well.

  8. I really enjoyed readng about your design process and your journal! That type of insight helps me as I try to move from more spontaneous work to more planned and designed!

    I have been really impressed with the stories told in all the quilts. I think for all of us our stories were the most important elements.

  9. It was fun seeing the process in journal form on this. I like the use of beads and stitching very much as well. Nice color palette-it suits the piece so well. Really pretty.

  10. I love seeing other artists design processes so thank you for sharing that. Your story was so touching and true and this piece is the result.


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