Tuesday, September 18, 2007


This is my newest art quilt. It's called "Blooming Prosperity." It's 22 x 14 inches.I used the same techniques and process I used for "Home Grown." And let's just say, I like "Home Grown" much better. Here is my own little personal critique of Blooming Prosperity:

Things I like about Blooming Prosperity:
  • It's done. (Seriously. Every completed step along the way is a learning experience and an accomplishment.)
  • The sheer fabric I used for the hand.
  • The quilted motif of the large bloom that I repeated from the fused elements at the bottom.
  • The loose threads hanging in the pink --and gray -- blooms.
  • The hand embroidery trailing across the top.
  • The overcast stitch along the binding.
  • The overall shape.
  • Of course, the color scheme -- Hello!! Green and Purple!
  • The handwriting in the bottom purple piece.
  • Just a few beads and sequins.

Things I don't like about Blooming Prosperity (Goodness... where to begin?)

  • The lack of color contrast.
  • The weird quilting lines that were supposed to represent lines in a palm and the odd way they extend past the hand figure.
  • The over-used element of the hand. And how it looks like some almighty hand reaching down to earth. Odd.
  • The wrinkly purple fabric at the bottom -- it wasn't fused to the batting, thus: wrinkles.
  • The repetition of that same Y stitch that I have been using ALL THE TIME. You'd think I could come up with another stitch.
  • The green block at the top. It's just floating there with no connection with the other elements.
  • The static symmetrical composition. Blah.
  • I don't even like the title. It's a bit pretentious.

Well, there you have it. I debated about putting this up on my blog at all. I think some artists only share what they consider their very best work. This isn't my best, but I do feel quite confident that I can take the ideas, techniques and process that I used on this quilt and improve on them. And just because I think it has flaws, doesn't mean someone else won't adore it. And certainly there will be people who are annoyed by the same elements that I love.

That's art, right?


Anonymous said...

Deborah, I'm so glad you posted this. It raises a question that I've long had trouble with: Why/how do you finish something that you aren't happy with? I can't seem to do it. I have lots of infinished business lying around, but can't seem to "feel" a good reason to keep going with them. For instance, once everything but the binding is done and you don't like it, why bother to bind it? Is it a sense of completion, or something more?

Exuberant Color said...

the first thing I noticed was the low contrast, but the Y stitch is your signature stitch, don't beat yourself up about using it in every piece.

kristin L said...

I think we often get hung up on making everything a finished, "sucessful" piece -- to the end of beating a dead horse. Good for you for recognizing that it's not working (at least for you), LEARNING FROM WHAT YOU'RE NOT HAPPY WITH, and movig on! :-) This is the good kind of self-criticism.

Robin said...

Hi Deborah, thank you for showing us your work anyway. I really like this piece. I don't think the palm print lines are ugly, in fact that's one of the things I really like about this one! I took the overall message of this quilt, title and all to be something about how when we throw seeds down, sometimes they grow. Keep up the good work!

Gerrie said...

I'm with robin, I like the palm stitching - it connects the various elements in a subtle way. I do think the bottom piece looks like a birthday cake at first glance, and then you realize that they are Deborah leaves. And it is good to be able to step back and critique your work. I would like to see you step out in another color way!!

Diane said...

Deborah, I like this piece too. And I'm with the others, thinking that what's important about it isn't how it turned out but that you explored what you wanted to and have analyzed what worked and what didn't. Maybe you need to set it aside for a while and will like it after you've forgotten the image you have in your mind of what you wanted it to be. And, like Gerrie, I first saw a birthday cake sort of thing. So maybe after you've tucked it away for a bit and let go of your expectations about it, you can return to it and it'll be the perfect thing at another time.

I love your row of tree stitching, btw.

Amy said...

Tell you what, I will trade you my "wonky" herring bone stitch that I am starting to use everywhere including here: http://in-the-fold.blogspot.com/2007/08/landscape.html and here: http://in-the-fold.blogspot.com/2007/01/tast-herringbone.html for your Y stitch.

Shelina said...

Deborah, I am one of those people who adore this quilt. There is enough contrast to see of the elements and there is lots of interest all over the quilt.

Ricë said...

thanks for posting this. i think it's important to discuss our work--what we think about what we do and how it FEELS, both when it works and when it doesn't. i think that "working" (as in, when a piece is working) is subjective. as the artist, you're the only one who can determine that, i believe--if you're like most artists who do what they do for the love of the process. whether or not it's working for you as you do it is the only measure, the only thing that matters. working on a piece that ISN'T working is like trying to iron with a cold iron. (i think that's the analogy my mother always used for something that was pure torture).