Saturday, March 27, 2010

Eyes Wide Open - Kay


Eyes Wide Open
16 x 12
Photo transfer on cotton and organza,  machine piecing, applique and quilting, hand embroidery

Eyes are the most striking feature of this image of doll heads, creepy and beautiful at the same time.  By focusing on the cropped image of doll eyes,  I've accented the creepy, but I tried to soften it by adding the full-face image and quotation printed on organza, as well as the curved line of embroidery stitches, a reference to the curling hair in the photo.  "Haunting" is perhaps the feeling I'm aiming for.

The photographs are of my old doll, Eleanor.   I loved making glamorous outfits for her, and originally intended to collage her photos with photos of fashions from the era, the sort of thing I thought I was imitating.  When I couldn't find suitable vintage pictures, I tried plan B. "Laughable" would be a kind way to describe the results.  So I went back to plan A, or perhaps A.2.  I printed several images, played with them, and quickly realized it was the eyes I wanted to emphasize.  So I searched for an appropriate quotation, and here we are.

Besides the obvious doll images, I've loosely followed the color scheme of the original while changing the proportions, and maintained the horizontal composition.  After that, the simple composition, construction, and quilting made this quick and easy to finish.  I quilted around the photos, and outlined the face and eyes of the large doll.  Because I wanted the viewer to be pulled into the piece with no breathing room, I used a faced edging instead of the traditional binding.

The photos were printed on 200 count muslin that I soaked in Bubble Jet Set and stuck to mailing labels for printing.  The sheer photos are printed on ExtravOrganza by Jacquard.  I've never used this product  before, and although it's very expensive, I like the results.  I always increase the color saturation by 25 percent before printing, and I used an oil pencil to increase the blue in the eyes.


  1. This is a really striking result. I do think you drilled down to the essence of what you wanted to eventually emphasize; the eyes are a spooky and haunting feature all at one time. The layout is simple too and complex all at once because of the layering. Love the colors too!

  2. Love it Kay!! Absolutely love it!

    I especially like the line of stitching echoing the curls of the hair and the color scheme.

  3. Great piece, Kay! The organza print really gives it that ghostly, ethereal look. And the printing on the piece is a nice touch. Well done! Eleanor would be proud.

  4. This interpretation is wonderful. Love the use of color from the photo, and the stitching is once again beautiful. Haunting but yet not spooky.

    I enjoyed learning your technique using extravOrganza and giving us a tutorial on how to make it successful. I can definitely see lots of uses for that.

    Great job!

  5. When people get involved in the discussion of what is an art quilt, a piece like yours comes to mind. This is what I think is an art quilt.

    You've done an excellent job of balancing the elements and evoking a mood through the colors, the eyes and the quote. Very cool!

  6. I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one who had 'creepy' come to mind with this photo! You really have emphasized one aspect of the original, and I'd say you achieved the 'haunting.' I like the softness the organza and the curved embroidery lend to the overall composition. Well done indeed!

  7. Ah, YES, the eyes have IT!

    I, too, really like this piece. It's great that you used photos of your doll to interpret the subject and feeling of the challenge photo.

  8. Cominng in late here,but I too really like the direction you took with this challenge. I haven't used the technique of printing on fabric but just love how this looks. Haunting yes, but one just really wants to keep looking at this! Very well done.

  9. Very nicely done Kay. I like the hazy quality of the photos and the stitching makes me think of foggy mornings with the wisp of a breeze circling through.

  10. It's wonderful, Kay! I like how you captured so many of the elements of the photograph with a simple layout and limited palette, which overall results in a dynamic and powerful piece. What a lovely tribute to Eleanor! I also like the quote from The Little Prince (one of my favorites, along with "On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.")


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