Sue K.

I listed my skills, and there were a lot of them, and I felt fortunate to have them; writing, business, mathematics, rcooking, organizing, and learning, sewing skills, pattern drafting, pattern grading and tailoring; operation and maintenance of vintage sewing machines; hand embroidery, beading, applique and macrame; traditional and improv quilt piecing.  I am handy with a camera and a computer, and somewhat skilled in photo editing and manipulation using digital means. These skills are all mine because I enjoy them, or have at some point in my life. There are some I use infrequently now.

 

Then I listed all the skills I would like to have, or improve. These include textile manipulations and various surface design methods. I want to learn more about design principles, composition. I could do better with some drawing practice. I use color exuberantly, but maybe need to do it more purposefully. I have enjoyed dabbling with simple monoprinting, but would like to learn screen printing some day, and do more with paint, inks, dyes, stencils and stamps, to add layers of patterning to the cloth I use in my pieces. I want to explore more ways of making art quilts, especially incorporating a broader range of materials.

 

I realized, in thinking about all this that I tend to learn something very well, very quickly and then move on to something new. I hope this is not altogether a bad way to be, because it is who I am. I do need to improve my focus though, and through this course, and particularly through writing, I’m beginning to see how to do that. I am not sure that I can or should seek perfection, but I do seek personal satisfaction in my work. Following on that thought, I moved to the self evaluation exercise.

 

The inspiration for this piece is a photo I took on top of Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island, at sunset. The shadow of the setting sun was projected across the island, the sea, and the sky into the east.

The quilt itself is 11” x 17”. I named it Mauna a Wakea (the mountain that belongs to Wakea the “sky father” of Hawaiian legend).

Strengths    

  • The composition and shapes reflect what I intended, and please me. 
  • The way I produced the shadow, with black tulle, worked pretty well.
  • I like the clouds. 
  • I like the quilting concept, but not necessarily the execution.
  • I have learned a lot more about fused applique since I made this, but it was
  • fairly good for my point on the learning curve at the time.

Weaknesses

  • The fabrics were what I had in my stash and are not quite right in terms of color, texture, or consistency/compatibility with each other. They suggest what I was going for but could be much more attractive.
  • The fabric I used for the sky is dull and lifeless, and deadens the picture in spite of the colored quilting threads.
  • The quilting threads were just what was at hand, and should have been in slightly brighter colors, or perhaps a shinier thread, that would help to suggest the luminosity of the actual scene I saw.
  • The piece is too literal, and too small.

Alignment

Though I was pleased with the effort, I am not satisfied with this piece. I feel like this was a good first try and functions well as a maquette for what it ultimately could be. I found the experience of seeing this phenomenon so compelling that I am still interested in trying to render it more to my liking. I would choose different fabrics, curated carefully, and perhaps consider some other surface treatments to convey the meaning I perceive in the image. And I would make it larger.