I belong to the online group Art Quilts Around the World, and we have just posted our last challenge, Out of Asia. My piece came out really well, and we pick it up from the framer tomorrow. It just had to be stretched and matted, and if it comes out like we think, it will be spectacular. Here’s the story behind “Ode to Hokusai: DragonFlight.”
This was an interesting challenge. I knew the fabric I wanted to use almost immediately the topic was announced. This was a piece of cotton lame’ that we marbled about 10 years ago. It read Asian to me as soon as I rinsed it out, and it went into the “save” pile for some time in the future for when I could figure out what to do with it. I have done a couple of pieces of cotton lame’, one of which is on the website – green cotton lame’ called Rainforest. I wanted to do more, because of the properties of lame’, but is seems in the last ten years that formulas have changed, and there seem to be a lot more additives to the fabric. My last attempt at lame’ didn’t work well at all……
So this is the piece that sat on the design wall for six weeks.
I knew I couldn’t cut it, even though it is slightly smaller on one side and larger on the other from our group sizes. I just couldn’t cut it………so I figured I would just quilt the lines to accent the wave, reminiscent of “The Great Wave” by Hokusai – one of those pieces of artwork I easily recognize every time I see it. It’s almost like I planned that wave, when the whole piece really was an experimentation with a different comb (literally, a small hair comb for teasing the hair).
So I started on the center section, figuring I wold just accent the lines of that wave. Normally I would have pulled out black silk thread, since I really just wanted texture, but the dark green (Silk Kimono by Superior) kept calling my name. It is so subtle, but what it did was soften the black in the design – which I liked. Who knew? And with the light on it – it’s perfect.
I loved it when it was done – so much of a great wave, you could almost match it up with the master! So I kept looking at it and pondering where I would go from there……how much more would get quilted?
Serendipity struck, in the form of hubby the other marbling artist…who took one look and said, “I thought you were doing a wave? This is an amazing dragon. ” From then on the dragon was the overall image I saw every time I looked at the piece, so I just had to listen and figure out the next steps.
There is some very light blue within the colors, so I chose a blue silk Kimono thread to accent the blue, sort of like glistening dragon wings (too much Anne McCaffrey and Pern….). Then I wanted to do more quilting in the background to accent the idea of flight, so I went with a pale orange silk Kimono, just for wind and/or wave ripples. I ripped out a few lines because it just seemed like too much. Finally I just said “done,” because it seemed to have everything it needed. It is at Michaels right now getting stretched on foam core and a 2-inch black mat, as it said “I want to be framed.”
Above all, I listen…..
You can see other fabulous pieces here.