I finished the tree house quilt!
I'm going with the very clever title, "Treehouse."
After seeing the SAQA sponsored special exhibits in Houston, I challenged myself to work toward creating art quilts to enter in SAQA shows. When SAQA announced Sense of Adventure as one of their shows for 2011, I decided to get to work.
When I think of adventure, I remember with great joy and excitement the zip line adventure my family took in Antigua in summer 2009. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to carry cameras on the tour, so I didn't have photos for reference. I turned to google, flickr and other internet sights for inspiration and found an image of a tree house at the very same site where we did the zip lines. I loved the shape and structure of the tree house combined with the lush colors and textures of the rainforest. Though this seems like a deviation from the zip line concept, it was a series of connections along the same idea and I decided to follow it.
I made lots of sketches (which I posted here) and pulled lots of fabric. I did some surface design and looked at more photos for reference. I started by constructing the tree house. I was pleased with how it turned out. It's more realistic than I usually work.
Then I set it in the trees and added the rope bridge. There was not enough contrast between the gray trees and the green background, so I added the white painted edge as if the sun is shining on them. I really love that edge and the long wavy lines of the trees.
I haven't done rocks in a while, so I went back to that beloved shape as the foundation for this piece. They are made from a beautiful black aloha fabric with green ferns. I got it in Hawaii. (Another adventure.)
In the last few steps, I added the sheer leaves and the hand embroidered vines.
I'll be honest and say that at several points along the way, I was really stuck. Eventually, I realized I was not going to be able to finish it in time for the Sense of Adventure deadline. So I let it pass. Then... SAQA extended the deadline. This was a sign to me that I must press on. Which I did. I finished in time to enter. I'm really glad it's done. I'm glad I didn't just fold it up and let it sit even though it was a huge challenge. I was rejected from the show, which is not surprising to me. I don't think I was ever able to fully recover from some of the problems that I came across with this particular quilt. It's not my very very best work in my personal estimation, though there are many things I like about it.
I think I will enter it in Tactile Architecture which is a special exhibit with the International Quilt Association. I've been in Tactile Architecture twice before and it's one of my favorite collections of work. I'd be honored to be included again. I think it's ok to still put it out there even if it's not a complete success. I suspect if everyone showed only the work they deemed to be absolutely fully conceived and executed, we'd see a lot less art.