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!