I can’t believe it is already mid-April! I haven’t been blogging but I have been quilting. I’ve been working on three projects, all of which have advanced, some more successfully than others. The first project, and the one I have finished with, is a group project that one of the women in my craft group came up with. There are about 10 of us, and each has been given two strips of fabric to decorate. One piece should represent the challenges you experienced in covid, and should be darker, and the second strip is to represent what has helped you overcome challenges or sustain yourself during the pandemic. That strip should be lighter. The strips will eventually be woven together into a piece of textile art.
My friend came up with this idea in late February or early March, but it took some time to form the group and prepare fabric strips. We got the fabric in mid or late March, and we have until the end of this month to finish up. People are doing all kinds of interesting things. Some are painting the strips, one is doing calligraphy, another is basing hers on a favorite poem. I, of course, am quilting mine. But I am only doing one, the dark one about challenges. After we had begun the project, one of the members had two friends who wanted to join as well. However, the length of the strip of fabric determines how many people can join, so once the group had been decided and the fabric distributed, it wasn’t possible to add two more strips. Since I was clear on what I wanted to do for the darker strip but totally uninspired for the lighter one, I gave my “light” strip to her. It will be a lot of fun to see how it all comes together.
For my fabric, I decided to draw on a class that I took called “Adventures in Improve” taught by Anne Sullivan & Melanie Tuazon at Quiltcon online. Their approach is based on creating a story in which fabrics represent elements of the story. You create the starting state, introduce a disruption, and then a resolution. Sometimes this is done in a series of related blocks, sometimes by taking the original block (or quilt), cutting it up to introduce a new disruptive element, and then doing something else to it to come to the resolution point. I chose to try the latter approach.
Here’s my starting point, which is supposed to represent the team I work with starting to come together, bringing our different experience, inclinations and ideas together to make a coherent and effective whole. It was made with leftover fused fabric from another quilt I am working on (next blog!). I forgot to take a picture before cutting it up to add the disruption of covid to the story, so I’ve laid it out the way I had prepared it.
As you can see, I cut that block up to introduce the disruption of covid, and put strips of red fabric to represent how covid disrupted our ability to develop as a team. We were working from home for a year, which makes some aspects of getting to know and collaborate with your colleagues more difficult, since you can’t just pop in to each other’s offices to talk through a project or get feedback on something you have just written.
Now, you may notice that some places have two strips of red fabric. For whatever reason, instead of doing what I have done in previous improv-ish blocks where I slashed the block and added a strip, then slashed it again, added another strip, I cut the whole thing up into pieces first and added the strips to the pieces….without thinking that these strips are going to be sewn back together so I only need ONE side to have a strip…
So the next step in the process should be to bring it to a resolution…but because the strip was going to be the dark side of the process, it didn’t need resolution. Instead, it got cut up further into smaller pieces to be added to the strip. Then I quilted over it in a multicolor thread that blended the colors from the original piece. Here it is in final form.
During the class I took, one of the teachers said that at the conflict/disruption stage, she often doesn’t really like her quilt, but then by the resolution stage, she loves it. I definitely was not particularly thrilled with the disruption, but I kind of like how it is cut up on the strip. It would have been fascinating to take it all the way to resolution. It will be fun to see how all the strips come together. I’ll be sharing a picture once it is done.