In my last post, I mentioned that I had a project that I wanted to try but didn’t think that I had the ability to do it!! And, in my usual fashion, I have successfully avoided it for the past week or more, however, I will mention that my studio is SUPER clean!!!
Here is the backstory for the project….
In 2015, we spent several days in the city of Pune in India. On one of those days, I spent 6+ hours visiting the old-town of Pune with my guide Rashid of Chalo Heritage and Nature Walks. To read more about this day you can check out my blog here. But, this is the relevant information…..
Often when we travel, there is one moment that defines the trip for you and this was it for me….I asked if I could take a photo of a woman and young girl. They agreed and I got this wonderful shot.
I had noticed that the girl had Henna tattoos on her arms and asked if she would show them to me. She extended her arms and I leaned down to take the photo, focusing mostly on the designs on her arms. As I looked past the camera I realized that she was looking up at me with the most soulful eyes and beautiful smile. I backed the camera up further and was able to get this heart stopping image….
I have long wanted to try a portrait quilt and this image was stuck in my head. After seeing all of the gorgeous portraits at the Houston show, I knew that I had to give it a try.
I started by pulling the photo into Photoshop and playing with the “postser-ize” function until I got a photo that better showed the shadows…..
I then printed it in black and white onto a single piece of paper and drew the outline on acetate (overhead projection paper for those of us old enough to remember it)!! I then blew up the outline…..
….and was completely overwhelmed with the pattern and, once again, decided that it was a reason to NOT attempt the quilt.
THEN, on Thursday I visited with the Landrum County Quilters in South Carolina and gave my “Viewing the World Thru Quilt Colored Glasses” talk. As part of the talk, I show this photo and mentioned that I was having trouble getting started. After the meeting ended, Debbie came up and encouraged me to blow up the picture and use that as my pattern. DUH!!!! When I did that, the design became much clearer…..
I then began tracing around the major blocks using a fine tipped Sharpie. I had originally planned to do the entire body but then decided that I should start with the head first…..
The nice thing about using a Sharpie on paper is that it seeps thru to the back so that I end up with a pretty good reverse of the design.
At this point, I looked at all of the detail and walked calmly downstairs and told my husband that there was no way that I would ever be able to make this quilt!!! Yet another excuse.
So, today was the day for me to start on it, but I wasn’t happy with my fabrics. I had purchased some fabrics at the show but decided that most of them were not appropriate and used that as my NEXT excuse for not starting on the top!! Then, this morning I remembered that I had tons of flesh tone fabrics that my friend, Anita, had dyed for me years ago, so that excuse was gone!!
After I had selected 5 or 6 fabrics it was time to get started. I was originally going to use Wonder Under and fuse the pieces down but was concerned that it would get too stiff as the layers added up. Instead, I decided to use Freezer Paper to cut out the shape and then use small dabs of glue to attach it to the main piece.
I slowly started working thru the process…..
….adding one piece at a time, and even coloring a few pieces that needed to be a bit darker….
At each step of the game, I would look at what I had done and think……that does NOT look like a face…..
And, then I added the mouth and magically, it looks like a face……
….at least if you squint at it!!!
I realize that the big test will come when I add the eyes, but I am so excited that I have made it this far!!!
This face may never see the light of day outside of my studio, but it has definitely encouraged me that I MIGHT be able to do this.
As I have said before…..