Monday, March 29, 2010

dressing up -Karen

11 x 9.5 inches
painted cotton background fabric
with glass beads organza ribbon .
cotton embroidery floss.

Seeing the photograph for this months challenge I was immediately drawn to all the eyes. And yes, it gave me a bit of an eerie feeling! Setting about with my initial idea that focused on all the eyes I drew out a sketch. And then discarded it. All those eyes I drew just made me uncomfortable and in the end I did NOT want to work on that one. Refocusing on the dolls. This time I left off all the eyes. I did some stitching in the background that would mirror the eye shapes. Adding iris's finally. Now I was getting somewhere!
When I think of dolls I think of the fantasy that goes with playing with them.Dress up and a bit of glamour was called for. A fairy tale world of make believe. I wanted to add an element of that into the quilt. Using a piece of sheer ribbon that has a wonderful gold iridescence to it I stitched it along the bottom edge. A touch of glamour! But it needed something to tie it all together. I  added more of the eye shapes there.Now I needed the final bits. Something that brought to mind the fairy tale world of playing with dolls. That's when I thought of the beads. Sparkle and fairy dust. Possibilities being endless with the imaginary world of dolls.
Now that it is all finished I know there are many things I would have done differently. This is not one of my best works. The lesson here for me is that I need to plan plan and plan again. It is a good lesson. An important one I think!


  1. Isn't it amazing how even pictures of eyes have such power? I remember my daughters first college roommate papered her wall with pictures of eyes. My daughter soon got a new roommate.

    This is a very subtle, yet intriguing,
    interpretation. By chance is this one of those quilts that photographs very differently than it looks in real life?

    I wonder if the background fabric were darkened slightly behind, or even between the eyes, would it focus the quilt a little more? Or maybe that would just make it more threatening....

  2. It's interesting to me how similiar and different your piece is from Beverly's piece; yet, you both chose to accent almost the same elements in a very similiar way. The mood is so different! that is what strikes me as magical about your piece--it's the anticipation of something special that is about to happen-special in a good sense. It makes me think of ballerinas about to perform and the audience waiting and watching with anticipation. I think your piece is cool!

  3. I second Debra's comment about yours and Beverly's. It's also interesting to scroll back through the posts so far and see how they move further and further away from the photo. The moods are so different also.

    It's hard to respond to yours, because you are so dissatisfied with it. I like it. The rhythm in that line of repeated doll shapes seems very strong to me without needing much else, but the sparkle you've added seems like a good touch.

  4. There is a really appealing tonality to this piece. Understated glamour too. It really is like those figures are waiting for something. I know you meant to emphasize the doll aspect but a think a happy outcome was also how the figures got accented. I like that the figures are sort of freestanding; meaning they don't depend on that photo. Some very interesting results.

  5. I agree. Love the softness and sparkle you added to your interpretation. I love the color you chose as well. I believe in reality it probably has more depth then what we get in this photo. Your quilting of the iris of the eye adds interest and an air of mystery as well.

  6. The photograph is really a very accurate image of the quilt, colors etc. The ribbon has a bit more shine or glimmer as do the beads but all in all it is nearly right on. I think I would have been happier with it had I just focused on the dolls and skipped the eye features all together!

  7. Really loving the eyes in the background and the beading is beautiful. A touch of mystery but very nicely capturing the feeling of dress-up and dolls but with a grown up approach using the dress form. Very nice work

  8. I particularly enjoy the simplicity of this piece, and the "fairy dust" really complements the monochromatic theme. The blank faces seem to look at you, waiting for you to impart your thoughts. Interesting how the heads are turned toward the viewer. No eyes necessary. Nicely done.

  9. There's a feeling of being in "Alice's Wonderland" about this piece. The first thing I saw were those eerie wide staring eyes in the background. After focusing on the dress-form-like figures, I began to see all the other eyes. I like it!

    There's definitely a story here, but I don't see the one you were thinking of. It may happen that if this were put out of sight for a while to get some distance away from the original photo, you may see it differently ... may even be inspired to take it further.

  10. We really were thinking along similar lines! I like your piece- the understated elegance, the textures you put in that add to that elegant feeling without overpowering it.

    After working on something for a month, especially if it has been a struggle, I find that I lose my ability to see it objectively. Put it away for awhile and revisit it- your reaction might be different.

  11. I agree with Rian, 'how the heads are turned toward the viewer' but it doesn't give me that creepy feeling I have with the photograph. There's a grace and softness reflected in your piece that's pulls me in. Lovely work.

  12. Karen, I adore your piece if I can cut it off right below the eyes and only use the bottom 2/3rd. The bottom part with the blank doll forms, the sparkle around the dolls, the delicate ribbon running unevenly across the bottom all give me a fairy tale feel. When I add the eyes in the background, I feel much more of the malicious Big Brother is watching. From your comments, I don't really think that was your intent.


Thanks for stopping by and commenting!