Monday, March 29, 2010
The Masks We Wear---Jdemilo
The Masks We Wear
24 inches high
porcelain head, hand dyed and batik silk, commercially dyed cotton, driftwood, tulle, and various beads, yarn, embroidery threads.
Does this qualify as an art quilt? Please refer to Kathleen Loomis's blog "Art with Needle" before answering. If your answer is still "no", I did gather some sea foam and seaweed (ribbons, yarn, and tulle) to stitch an ocean quilt for the mermaid. You can count that as my March Art Quilt.
I was excited to see this month's picture. I had Nellie's pattern for Spirit Dolls and have been wanting to make one for some time. When I saw the doll heads I decided that now was the time. I first ordered the doll head from Etsy. Before I could start the body I had to have the head for proportions. While waiting I made a trip down to Maine's coast to find a perfect piece of driftwood for her seat and started to batik scales on the silk for her tail.. When the head arrived, I figured the proportions of the mermaid at 8 heads high and enlarged Nellie's pattern to that size. My first mermaid was beautiful but a plus size mermaid. Since that was not the statement I wanted to make, I slimmed the pattern and tried again. I mostly followed Nellie's directions for construction with a few changes. Primarily I put a seam up the back of the tail to insert a dowel to support the head and to anchor the doll to the driftwood.
When I first saw the doll heads in the March Challenge Picture I immediately thought of the masks that we all wear. We are all so much more glorious that we and society allows us to show. While this is a female, I think that society tells men how to feel and think and what to do just as much as it does women. Sometimes those masks fit and sometimes they don't. Sometimes we are eager to put them on and sometimes we fight to escape them. Here is my mermaid with her mask. It really is beautiful in an accepted way isn't it, but it is not really her. It is not such a good fit for her and, indeed, is chained in place. The mask is broken with her undisciplined, unruly, shining hair springing free. Did the mask break being forced on her or is she trying to break free from it? Perhaps it is a compromise between who she is and what is expected of her--she'll accept the mask if she can let some of herself show.
Here are a few closer pictures including a picture of the leftover silk. I will use the silk to make eight ATCs with beads and fibers used for the mermaid. If you are interested in trading, let me know.