Thursday, September 4, 2008

My Tribute - Starry Starry Night

It’s finished, well, almost – still need to do the binding and add a hanging sleeve. This quilt has truly been a labor of …well, a labor of a bunch of things. Thoughts of love concerning my dad of course, since this particular quilt was pieced prior to his homecoming (see earlier post Long Over Due 8/29 for the story behind this story)…and thoughts of being free in my quilting. Free to fail or free to succeed (in reality a combination of both) Just free to experiment, practice, giving myself permission to mess up. Freedom to prove to myself that it just fabric and I could thread play without fear of the quilt police. Some things I liked, some things I know not to duplicate (ever again!). A true journey so to speak. And an enjoyable one!

While I was working on this quilt I thought of my Creator, God, and imagined that I was looking up into the heavens which declare His handiwork – instead of constellations from stars, galaxies and super novas, my night sky was filled with quilting designs. I kept telling myself if someone would just squint when they looked at this quilt and imagined a night sky then perhaps they wouldn’t be too critical of the parts that didn’t balance out correctly or the designs that weren’t executed precisely. After all, when I behold the beauty of the night sky – when I’m away from the city lights of course – there is nothing governing the stars saying that they have to be just so, no one is commenting that there’s not a proper balance between the bright ones and the ones barely flickering, and I’ve yet to hear anyone complain of the shooting star that interrupts the tranquility of simply just looking up. No, the night sky is truly the handiwork of the Creator and who are we to be critical if it wasn’t designed to our liking! It’s my hopes that my quilt is viewed with similar thoughts – someone may not like it, but I didn’t ask their permission to be creative, I didn’t try to balance things to their liking. I just quilted. Quilted to honor my father, my Heavenly Father, and those who have inspired me in my quilt journey.

One thing I am proud of is my son Jake lending a design element for this quilt. Jake is my artistic son, while his older brother is more of the negotiator or businessman/salesman temperament. A couple of years ago Jake really got into tattoo art and has prominently displayed some of his own personal art in a very permanent manner. Although I don’t particularly care for the permanence of his art, I do have a respect and admiration for his talent. One of his first tattoos was a tribute to my dad, an original design. While quilting Starry Starry Night I asked him if he would simply his design in such a way that I could add it to this quilt. I am very pleased at our compromise and the design element that resulted – an added memory to this quilt.

This quilt was my canvas, my practice piece from the workshops I hosted this past year with both Sherry Rogers-Harrison and Jamie Wallen. Two different styles, formal feathers vs feather flurries…but both designs that I dearly love from quilters whose talent I respect. This quilt was my opportunity to attempt to develop the ideas they shared. There are a few other designers’ inspiration in this quilt, a distinct Karen McTavish “McScrollwork” in the bottom left corner and a few of her design elements on the right side…as well as a few other ideas mingled in by various other longarm masters. Again, this was just a canvas, just fabric, and just plain fun! Detailed photos can be viewed in my webshot albums.

One other personal element I added was the scripture reference to 2 Timothy 4:7-8. It is words that I feel described my dad’s life, and words which I hope will some day be said of me.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing”

Starry Starry Night


Holly said...

Karen, bravo. I think it is a lovely tribute to your dad, whom I remember with great warmth and affection. It beautifully gives the effect of a starry sky. As I was reading I was thinking that the heavens are full of nebulae and shooting stars and all sorts of colors and beauty. We still think alike, because as I read along it turns out that's what you thought, too!

Ton ami, Holly

Finishing Lines by K.Sperino said...

Karen, I love this quilt!! You did a beautiful job. The quilting is fab and sure WAS a labor of love. I enjoy poking around on your blog.