Friday, February 26, 2010

Indigestion - Kay

Indigestion, or I Threw Up My Hands  31 x 32
Machine pieced, machine applique, machine quilted

Rian's beautiful photograph was very difficult for me because of its indistinct shapes and soft edge quality.  I wanted to keep some visual connection to the original photo, but the only element that stood out for me was the circle of the plate and the diagonal line of the chopsticks.  I also liked the colors. 

When I tried to abstract the arrangement of food on the plate, things got ugly—literally.  Every technique I used, (stamping, collage, straight piecing, Ruth McDowell freezer paper templates) seemed equally unsuccessful.  It was only when I decided to give up and celebrate the awfulness that the project became fun. 

Once the idea of indigestion struck, it was easy to find bilious, blotchy fabrics in my stash that conveyed that theme.  At one time I had seven "plates" and intended a circular setting, but didn't have the right background fabric.  So after playing with various settings and considering the amount of fabric available, I discarded some of the plates and settled on the twisted frames and the offset sashing of this four-patch arrangement.   One earlier version had the chopsticks rotating around the plates at a different angle in each block, but I rejected that as too much, almost dizzying.    I think now this may have been the wrong decision; I don’t seem able to overcome a natural urge for visual order even when I want to!  

 I chose a quilting design of slanted, off-center lines leaning in different directions to add to the strangeness.  This creates a bit of optical illusion; the quilt is straight, in spite of appearances.

You can find a few comments about some technical problems with this piece on my blog.  

I tried to create a slightly off-kilter, mildly disorienting image and make a humorous statement about my struggles with this piece.   I'm more pleased with it than I would have thought possible two weeks ago, and rather proud that I wrestled with that plate of food and won.


  1. Kay-I think that you have brought the term concept art to a whole new level! There is just nothing that I don't like about this piece; and I am not even that fond of green and I like it!

    You managed to abstract that plate of food really well. What I like best though is the order that you brought to the piece; heartburn and indigestion can create nausea which for me anyway, is disorder. I think that your orderly arrangement of the elements kept something in check; a nice blend of push and pull. What a good move.

  2. Without your reference to indigestion or any preconceived ideas, to just look at this piece, I think the greens you chose are actually very soothing! I am not that fond of green, either, but it makes me think of jade and bamboo here. Very earthy and rich.

    I love the composition itself, and the "placemats" at an angle is visually very striking.

    I don't know what your troubles may have been in making this piece, but in the end, I'd say you nailed it!

  3. Honestly, I love the bilious green. The whole piece, to me, seems contrary to how you describe it. It's looks soothing and peaceful to me. I like it very much.

  4. Hmmmmmm, you and I interpreted this piece in a similar fashion but you will have to wait until the 28th to see mine. I love green and the greens you used are perfect in the palette you chose. The thin inner border is just the right touch and making each plate of "food" different adds interest. Great Job!

  5. Love the humor in this one! Beautiful work and a laugh!

  6. Kay, what an interesting story of your journey from concept to finish. I am amazed at how you abstracted each of the four plates, using the same colors but in different ways. I'd say you ended up with a huge success! And the humor in your title is a riot!

  7. I forgot to mention how I like the setting with the offset sashing. Very creative and effective.

  8. I don't find this to be unpleasant at all. Each of your plate treatments is very well done and clever to boot!

    Out of your various struggles, I believe you conquered them and came out a winner!

  9. I enjoyed reading your backstory of struggle to surrender to fun to acceptance. I like the different plates and the orange border. Well done!

  10. What an inspired interpretation!

    You conquered a tough challenge and won! You brought order to the chaotic complexity of the original photo. I like how you did this by embracing the part of it that you found to be the most challenging ... the plate of food. To me your plates look appetizing and their setting conveys a gathering of friends who are having a good time dining together.

  11. I really like the offset placing of this one! An excellent take on the photo.I find this very pleasing to look at, not at all unappetizing. The bar on this challenge has been set very high! Makes me want to go back and do over mine!!!

  12. I love green, and these greens are gorgeous. I especially like how each plate is slightly different, but they all play together well. I also like the offset blocks. Well done!


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