Tuesday, February 02, 2010


I finished the self-portrait from the Sue Benner workshop last weekend. In fact, I took the workshop on Saturday and had the quilt finished to share at the DAFA meeting on Monday. As I was debating how to do the background, Sue said, "Sometimes you just have to commit." So I did.
I brought this photo with me to the workshop. (It was taken at my birthday lunch.)
It was a little difficult to get started. I wasn't thinking too clearly when I gathered fabrics to bring to the workshop, so I had to make due. Thus the leafy face. (Which I actually like.) Sue also said during the workshop, "No one is allowed to say that they didn't bring the right fabric."

I began by sketching right on to the batting and then free cutting shapes that fit. I had the hair, face and shoulders done by early afternoon and then I had to address the facial features. I really didn't want to do them at all. What's wrong with a blank face? Sue encouraged me to press on, though she would have preferred that I used a much brighter fabric for the eyes, nose and mouth. I just couldn't. She may have been right.

There are other problems with the final result I think. But, I considered it an excellent exercise and once I went through the process, it seemed best not to over-work it and "just commit" to finishing it.

Rather than add any additional surface design or hand embroidery -- my signature techniques -- I just added one random sheer element, quilted it and zigged the edges.

Here is the random sheer element -- a chair. I like to remember that it is important to be still and patient and yet not inactive.I did not want to add contour lines to my clothes or face with free motion quilting. I know that is not one of my strengths, so I did an overlay motif of leaves and plants. I think it works just fine.

Yesterday I got a hair cut and lost about 4 inches, so it's not so long and flippy anymore. That may have been a mistake.


Gerrie said...

Oh, that is a favorite Sue B comment. Love the portrait!

Dale Anne said...

Its LOVELY Deborah!
How did the guild like it?

Diane Perin said...

Wow! This is wonderful, wonderful! Possibly the best self portrait I've seen! It'd definitely you, but you've abstracted the imagery, and i LOVE the chair overlay. Oh, Deborah, I'd say this is really successful. And didn't you just love Sue Benner?

Kristin L said...

It looks so cheerful like I imagine that you are. The leafy fabric for the face and leafy quilting are very appropriate for you, and I think look way better than more realistic stitching lines would. You've captured your mouth shape well, though I'd agree with Sue that the eyes (only) could be brighter -- your eyes sparkle in photos of you. Great portrait!

Terry Grant said...

Oh I love it too! So simple, yet you captured a likeness.

Julie Bagamary said...

What a GREAT piece. I've been considering making another self portrait and this looks more like my style than my last one. Thanks for all the info.

QuiltingCyclist said...

Wow! You did a wonderful self portrait. When good teachers push us, it hurts our brains, but it gets us to new places. Thanks for sharing.

Juanita said...

I love it! and the chair overlay is wonderful.
The comment to commit is one I need to remember and put to use. Thanks so much for sharing!

Melly Testa said...

I really like the portrait and the darker fabrics used in your features, sometimes cloth portraits are garish, but not this one. Really good job, and of course, the chair is great.
I like the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

I love everything about it, down to the leafy fabric. I last read your blog when you had just begun this piece and now seeing it all complete just about threw me off my chair.

dee said...

the leaf fabric couldn't have been better if you had chosen it on purpose. Really nice and the chair just makes it perfect.

Lisa Flowers Ross said...

It's lovely.