Sunday, January 30, 2011

Behind the Gate - Kay

Behind the Gate  22" x 22"
Machine pieced and applique, machine quilting

This piece exemplifies what I tried to do throughout the year, although I only gradually became aware of these aims.  What I hoped to do in each piece was not reproduce the photo, or create something suggested by the photo, but find one element of it that I thought most interesting and build a composition around that element.

This piece is one of the most successful, very largely because it fit so easily into my way of working.  A central design element of lines was there, there is an obvious technique (strip piecing) that could create those lines, and the theme or idea of wild foliage barely in control was also clear and easy to do technically.

The only new technique in this piece was the way I created the two-sided leaves so that they could be partly attached to the whole after quilting.  This isn't totally new, but the use of Liquid Thread in this way is new to me, and one I worked out myself.  I can see using it again where appropriate.

Several people commented  that this piece uses traditional quilting techniques in a way that is not traditional. I hope that I can do more work along that line.  I do know that what appeals to me in quilting is line, shape, and color, not realistic pictorial images.  This preference became more and more clear to me as the year went on, and that insight into my own taste and style was one of the benefits of the challenge.

This year's challenge has been an eye opener in other ways too.  I learned the difficulty of having to meet a creative deadline, sometimes with very little in the way of "inspiration."  Creativity is not only about inspiration, but about practice and regular work, about gritting your teeth and just doing it.  The challenge proved that, and I'm proud that I finished every piece, every month.

Last, but not at all least, I loved the spirit of this group.  Every month, after struggling with the "Interpretation" I looked forward to the reveals and the comments.  Thank you, Debra and Libby, for the work you did to organize this challenge, and thanks to everyone else for your creativity, your talent, and your support.  I'm going to miss that.

All my pieces for this challenge can be found here.


  1. I remember liking this piece because of the sense of movement that you achieved-movement on several different levels-and using a traditional grid layout without being traditional. I also like that you pointed out that you learned some things about your own taste and preferences. I think this is really important in saying what you want to say rather than just repeating something that someone else already said.

    I looked at all of your work and thought that your clean style was very distinctive and original. And yes, I think creativity is also about showing up everyday:)

  2. I agree with Libby about the movement in this piece. It is alive and vibrant in color too.

    What makes me appreciate it more is knowing the inspiration photo behind it and it dull dead color scheme. I really enjoyed your interpretation.

    This was a great group and I too looked forward every month to seeing what each artist created.

  3. Throughout the year I always felt you and I were coming from the most traditional quilting base so it was as if I had a friend in crime. I enjoyed your interpretations because you were able to take techniques that were so familiar to us and tweak them in a personal way. I expect you can experiment with this idea for another year or two.

    I also appreciate that the challenge gave me an opportunity to get to know you better. Thanks!

  4. Your depth of knowledge about color and design was notable throughout this year of challenges. It's great that working through them helped you to define your unique style of which I'm a fan!

  5. Kay, I loved how all your pieces paid homage to your traditional quilting background, yet had their own unique vision. I think your pieces also showed that simple is often the most effective. I hope to see more of your work on your blog this year!

  6. Okay, this was my second favorite piece of yours. My favorite was "[It's you!] What's [that stuff] in the background?" I loved how you came to design the piece, how you utilized photoshop, and then hand-quilted the piece. I knew then that you would bring a new twist to tradition.

    I'm going to miss these monthly reveals and will have to remember to schedule some blog-reading/facebook-liking time!

  7. To be able to come from a traditional background of quilting and transform each photo into a wonderful quilt says so much to me! You are brave! I love the leaves and how they are separate yet a crucial part of this one.


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