Saturday, March 27, 2010

âmes perdues des rêves brisés --- Kim

âmes perdues des rêves brisés  
(18.5 x 18.5 inches)

Cotton hand-dyed and commercial fabric
oil paintstik
Machine pieced, hand and machine quilted
(attached to 20-inch square artist canvas)

Design notes

To begin with, I loved the photograph that Kay challenged us with this month but I also found the doll heads just a little "creepy." Every time I looked at the photo I fought that feeling and tried to push beyond it. My efforts led me to consider making a quilt featuring a boudoir doll. These dolls were popular in the 1920-30's and were made to sit on ladies beds. French designer Paul Poiret was credited with starting the boudoir doll fad. I still like that idea but I just wasn't enthusiastic enough about that idea to move ahead and I found myself wondering about the artist who made those doll heads. I went back to the blue legs and the sour mash whiskey that I saw in the photo and imagined a starving artist struggling with how to make a living as an artist - his worries and dreams. I made some quick sketches and decided on one of the "blue" ones.

I was drawn to two of the doll heads and tired to make stamp but couldn't get the detail that I wanted. I made a stencil instead and used it on the blue fabric with a white iridescent paintstik.

When I shared this piece with my daughter she said it reminded her of the masks used in commedia dell'arte - kind of creepy. A few days later a friend saw it and said that while she liked it, it was a little too creepy for her taste. I do believe I succeeded in capturing that creepy feeling that I had.  Le projet fut un succès!

(Note: "âmes perdues des rêves brisés"  translates as "lost souls of broken dreams")


  1. I don't find your piece to be creepy but certainly haunting. The stencilled faces in the background remind me of distant ancestors & the doll heads look pretty deathlike to me too as though they are about to breathe their last breath and join the recently departed. The blue legs look a bit eery atop the body. This is a very powerful piece--somber and thought-provoking, Kim, and very well done!

  2. WOW! and what a perfect title to convey your interpretation. I don't find it to be creepy. I see it as more of a theatrical-like drama relating a tragic story.

    You've used that marvelous deep rich blue and the bright complementary yellow-orange from the photo wonderfully well.

  3. I think melancholy is a good word for it also. And maybe just a little creepy. Terrific job, Kim.

  4. Kim, I didn't understand at first that you've stenciled the heads all over the fabric. This piece really repays study; VERY impressive.

  5. Excellent choices to interpret this photo. Love the stenciled faces in the background it adds so much to the message your are conveying.
    Great job.

  6. I always appreciate the way you (all) research the subject photo and build your images from the history. What a beautiful way to interpret the photo, and I don't find it creepy at all. I love the stencils, and the quilting line too. Fantastique! Merveilleux!!

  7. Totally impressive work Kim! I really the repeat of the stencils in the background. And the title!! Really great work here!!!

  8. Great results. It looks very "theatrical" if that makes sense. Love looking at your thinking process too.

  9. It does resemble theater masks and haunting is a better description than creepy. Love the color choices as well. I so enjoy seeing your journal of the progress too.


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