Tuesday, March 30, 2010

". . . .and the greatest of these is Love"--Debra

". . . .and the greatest of these is Love"

33 x 19 inches

(Click on picture for a larger view; due to the size it is being cut off in the margins if I enlarge it)

machine pieced and quilted, machine embroidery
photo transfer; cotton fabrics & decorator prints


When I first looked at Kay's photo I immediately thought of it as a commentary on society.  The dolls became people to me and I could see all kinds of societal issues in their positions, their class, their ethnicity and the arrangement of them on the table.  Had this been an essay challenge, I could have written a book on what I saw.  When it came time to interpret my ideas in fabric, it became pretty difficult for me to illustrate  my essay ideas as artwork.  So, I took a little time to study the dolls more carefully as individuals in society.  One doll that drew my attention and that I couldn't let loose was the doll in the lower left hand corner with the piece of lace draped over her head.  I immediately identified her as a Madonna image.  Given my fondness for all things in the Blessed Mother's image, I knew that I had to pursue that line of thinking. 

To reinforce the regalness of the Blessed Mother's status and to draw upon the thoughts I have of France, I chose fabrics that had a more aged patina to them; roses were my first choice because of their significance to the Blessed Mother and to women in general.  I also wanted to add a few deeper rose colored fabrics to signify the blood that ties us together as women and the rosy pink of the doll's faces.

I spent a good amount of time cropping images so I had 3 that looked very real to me; their poses suggest the love and caring that a mother might show for her child, a sister for her sister, a friend for a friend, a caregiver for her patient.  All, again, suggesting the power of the Blessed Mother in our lives.

In my teaser I showed the "oops" I made transferring the Madonna image but once I looked at Her through new eyes, I decided that Her presence didn't need to be as strong as I had first thought.  The swoop on the printed fabric draws the eye around the collection of picture frames & back to Her.

When doing the quilting (which was programmed on the embroidery machine), I wanted to emphasize the crowded arrangement of the dolls on the table, the illusion of a bedspread since these are actually boidoir dolls, the intertwining of our lives with another and the trelllis that a rose would climb.  I framed the prints as though they might be pictures on the wall of a loved one.  I wanted my piece to have a decidedly old world feminine feel; one that says women will prevail over all that happens to them.




16 comments:

  1. That is really clever. They do look like family portraits. I even pictured the wall of a very old home and saw how these would be hanging there. The indistinct image of the Madonna really works too. She is ever present even if you can't see her. Very, very smart idea.

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  2. Oh, Debra, this piece is filled with a quiet power. It fills my heart, bringing to the surface those feelings I have for the children and female friends in my life.

    I had no doubt that you'd find a use for the "ruined" piece. Your choice of fabrics and images convey your interpretation beautifully. I like that you pursued the deeper cultural meaning and significance of dolls.

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  3. This is just lovely! I love the soft colors and the way the images are not centered, but arranged in a balanced way. There's a sadness and sweetness to those doll faces when a few are isolated that isn't present in the whole. Terrific job.

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  4. I really like your approach and the choices you made on the faces. It as mentioned earlier by Nellie, a powerful piece-- a subtle, gentle power.

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  5. This quilt speaks for itself. The mood you conveyed is just ever present and you just feel it in viewing these lovely woman and the nuturing that is coming from them. It is amazing how this same photo can be interpreted as loving, nurturing or haunting or glamorous or just doll-like.

    The fabric choices, the framing of each grouping, the irregular border, the layout are all working well together.

    Love it!

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  6. Debra, This piece is really lovely. I'm so happy you used the image that you thought of leaving out. It really belongs in this piece which, by the way, REALLY belongs in a place of peace. So feminine without being overly sweet. Nice quilting as well. How great that you have a machine that can do that. Love it!

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  7. I too am glad you kept the "ruined" image, it looks like a real photo that has been kept in a box in an attic for generations. You managed to capture a mood beautifully. Very artistic. Nicely done, Debra! Applause!

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  8. absolutly beautiful. there is a feminine softness to this.Very well put together!!

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  9. I love the old world feminine feel! You have accomplished that to a "T"! Good job!

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  10. Isn't it interesting what we each see in the same picture! I see forced assimilation and you see the Madonna.

    I also feel a bit of an Asian influence in it. Perhaps it is all the squares in the quilting. I really love all those right angles!

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  11. Thank you for all your kind comments. I absolutely adored this photo so it was a pleasure to conjure up a feeling and then go with it!

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  12. This is a brilliant little jewel. I'm also glad you used the "damaged" image. I think it fits well into the overall tone of the piece. That dark curved line in the fabric, and the quilting contribute to an integrated piece. It's very powerful. Great job.

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  13. I love that you included the Madonna - as is - quietly watching over all. I admire your ability to bring together large print commercial fabrics into a cohesive whole that is just brilliant. Powerful, yet soft, a lovely piece.

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  14. This piece is subtle, one that I had to study several times, and carefully. I love the images that you used, and the quilting. The madonna image especially is emotionally evocative.

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  15. You have done a great job Debra. It is intriguing the way you have the portraits and you look all around and not right to them.

    Hugs

    FredaB

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  16. This is so lovely, Debra! You have really captured the old world feel. Love the quilting, too!

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Thanks for stopping by and commenting!