Monday, September 20, 2010

Where Did I Last Leave You?

Oh yes, the propellers. Thank you for all your suggestions, interest, support and enthusiasm. Really, I truly appreciate it and I'm amazed that so many of you seem to be enjoying this process so much.

Ultimately, I ignored most of you and didn't think about perspective. I decided to trace general patterns from my giant print out, cut pieces out of fused fabric, add some muted painted details and slap them together.Benjamin took both of these shots. I thought this long shot was kind of fun. It gives you an idea of the space I work in.It's incredibly messy at the moment. Everything is "unpacked" but not yet in its place and organized. This is the front half of our basement. Benjamin was standing on the stairs. The bar in the foreground is the railing.

The basement also might explain the awful lighting and color correct-ness of my photos. I've been taking photos without the flash, because it seems to give a slightly more true image. But, you see lots of shadows. The lighting in the basement isn't the greatest anyway. Daytime lighting is different from nighttime since we do have a couple of small windows just above ground level.
Anyway, I apologize. It is what it is.

So, here are the propellers. I may add some sense of movement with quilting later.
The other element I knew I really wanted to include were the "wings of gold." These are the insignia pilots wear on their uniforms. They are very hard earned and Jeff and I have fond memories of his winging ceremony. It's a big deal.

I wanted to use a technique I used before, most successfully with the chair in the self portrait I did in Sue Benner's workshop.

I start by placing a piece of gold organza over the quilt where I want the wings. Then I pin a printout of the wings over that. I used several pins and tried to get everything tight and flat. Then I free motion stitched right through the paper following the lines of the pattern.
I left the thread tails long because I knew I'd need to bury them after.

Then I peeled off all the paper. It comes off pretty easily since it's perforated by the needle.
Then I buried the threads with this great self-threading needle.

Then I cut away all the excess organza. Ta da!
I think they look pretty great. But...

At this point, I mostly dissatisfied with the quilt. I like the wings. I like the map a lot, though I wish it was more distinct. I like the plane. I love the navy blue background with the stamped circles and the red quilting. But, I think the composition is awful. The different elements are related to each other, but they lack a visual relationship on the 40x40 inch square.

I was chatting with my best friend Lucy on the phone and I told her I thought it was a lost cause. I told her I didn't intend to start over and that I would probably just finish it as it is, enter the show and hope for the best.

Of course, I'm my own worst critic. (Aren't we all?) If I only entered work that I felt completely satisfied with, I'd never enter anything. It's a process and I'm learning as I go along.

Tune in tomorrow...


Diane Doran said...

I think the propellers look good, and I *love* the wings. Would love to see a shot of the whole piece at this point. You had so many great ideas the other day for the bottom/left area, I know it'll be great!

Jeannie said...

The wings are fantastic! Thanks for sharing your technique. The propellers look authentic - tough assignment. Would adding some organza or light paint clouds help to add another dimension? Just a thought. You are so talented that I know you will figure out what you thing is missing.

Pam said...

Hi Deborah - ok here's my thought on the map - maybe add some additional straight or free motion stitch in another shade of green just to add additional texture and maybe change the color just enough to give it that distinct look you feel is missing. I have been watching every day - and think the piece looks great - keep going! you know some times I don't like my stuff either - until I walk away and don't see it for awhile.. and sometimes it just has to sit a day or two until the answer comes to you... Cant wait to see it finished...

Gerrie said...

Ta da!indeed. I love the organza trick. May have to give that a whirl. You are getting to close to this. It is going to be great. Breath and getter done.

Kristin L said...

Yup, those wings look pretty great!

I think that if you are liking all the elements then you should keep going. Think about what you like best in some of your other pieces. This has a lot of objects, so maybe it needs something opposite, like your negative space shapes to connect a few things. Maybe it needs a change of scale, like a giant line embroidery of the wings... or a bunch of teeny planes in the lower left... maybe it's none of these suggestions, but something sparked by all the comments. Don;t give up on it yet -- sooner or later, something will happen that pulls them all together.

What's the worst thing that could happen if you submitted this and you weren't 100% happy with it? It's definitely too good to besmirch your entire reputation, so I wouldn't worry about that! So, it might not win a prize, but at least you've honored your and Jeff's relationship with flying. And, maybe, you are too close to it, and it's actually pretty darn cool, and it does gain accolades!

Diane N said...

I think you're being too hard on yourself. So far I like what I see and I love the way you did the gold wings.

I think you should worry less about the competition and prizes and think about what you have accomplished here in paying tribute to your original ideas and also your husband's career in flying and the way it has impacted all your lives. I doubt that any of us usually end up with the exact same idea from the start to the finish of a piece of art. It almost always evolves along the way.
I look forward to seeing your progress with each new post. Like I said, so far I think you've done a great job.

Terry Grant said...

My only suggestion is that you let your subconscious work on it for awhile because I am pretty sure you are going to have a brilliant idea for bringing all the parts into harmony. You are so good at that. It will not be anything anyone else will suggest or even think of. I can't wait to see what it is!