Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pieces of Me- Beverly

Pieces of Me (16 X 15)
 Hand dyed, printed and discharged fabric, inkjet print on fabric, machine pieced and quilted

I've dabbled in different techniques to do a portrait in fabric, but never successfully completed one.  Add that to the fact that most of my work tends to the abstract, and I was just shy of panic with this challenge.  And, I really didn't have any recent photos of me that I was happy with.  For whatever reason, it was important to me to have a recent photo, not a younger one.  

I decided to take a pastel portrait of me that was done a year ago, and use that as a basis for a thread sketch.  I finished that- and knew I couldn't use it when my daughter said I looked like a green leprechaun- a mean one at that.  If you want to see that addition to the crap quota, it's on my blog.

I wanted the entire piece to reflect me, not just the portrait.  I'm not one who enjoys being center stage- I'd rather be in the background with an eye to what's going on.  So I found one of my hand-dyes to print my photo on, one where it's not always clear where the dye ends and the portrait starts.  I really had to think about quilting for the portrait, and in the end decided to not quilt  it at all.  I did not want the soft, ethereal quality to be diminished with the hard lines quilting imparts.  The rest of the piece, however, has plenty of quilting. I had fun with that, using wavy lines and more textured fill in some areas.

My picture is off-center, and that's sort of how I think of myself- just a bit twisted.  All that wonky piecing is another indication of that, in addition to being something to pull the viewer's eye around the piece, not just focused on the portrait.

I printed some of the fabric specifically for this piece.  Using the image of a hand was an apropos symbol for both my professions, social worker and artist.  It's also an indication of how much they have been on my mind lately, since I seem to be developing the first signs of arthritis there.

The color palette developed from the hand-dye used to print the portrait.  When it was done, I realized that's another symbol- at 59, I'm definitely in the autumn of my life. Here's the pastel I used--

  It's been an interesting journey while completing this piece.  I'm hoping the next ones don't have as many 'crap quota' iterations!


  1. I love the fabric you have chosen for this piece as well as the design. It does reflect your work perfectly. I did look at your blog and have to say I agree with your daughter! haha. You definitely succeeded in "blending" yourself within the piece so as not to be out there. Your quilting keeps me interested as I travel around this quilt. Great job.

  2. While your image is somewhat muted, your whole composition is very bold and forthright. Dramatic! Well done!

  3. This is a great result. You seem to be surrounded by the colors, shapes and love the hands! The portrait is framed without being framed. All the elements seem to be the things that must make you, you. The printing on that fabric is extrenmely effective too-you get the image without having to have a great deal of detail. Good call on not quilting the portrait part-I think it would have aged your face in a way that wasn't positive.

  4. Beverly, I cannot imagine anything done differently on this piece to make it more perfect. The hand-dyed fabrics, the hues, the patterning, the quilting ... it's all a wonderful combination that conveys a sense of "you" even without the portrait.

    I can certainly relate to your scrapped attempts for this challenge. This was a tough one and you met it fabulously well.

  5. Fascinating. Extremely ethereal and at the same time earthy. Love the handprint fabric--just right!!

  6. Oh--and I forgot to say I love that it's not square. Very cool effect.

  7. I like everything about this! Love the comment about being 'off center'. This quilt challenge was a difficult one and you mastered it very well!!

  8. Oh, YES! But then you knew, didn't you?

  9. I like how the pastel portrait married with the hand-dyed fabric and does indeed capture your desire to "be in the background" but that strong vertical line directs the eye to the portrait. The hands and spirals are wonderfully placed.

    (Love the CQ interations...)

  10. This is stunning. The colors blend so beautiful, and the lines of the piecing and fabric make a wonderful composition. I can't add to what others have said!

    One thing I didn't understand: is it a photo (scan) of the drawing that you printed on the fabric? Or did you manipulate the photo somehow?

  11. Thanks so much to everyone for all the feedback! Sometimes I finish a piece and know it works, sometimes I've been so close to a piece for so long that I'm just not sure. This one was one of those. So it is nice to know that what I intended came through.

    The image is a photo I took of the pastel portrait- it was way to big to scan. And since it was a drawing, I chose not to manipulate it- it was already not-photo-realistic.

  12. Such a great piece. I particularly like that you used the dyed fabric to print on and I always like the asymmetrical placement of the focus. Beautiful colors as well.


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