Turbulent Travels: a New Art Quilt

Dandelions create perfect aerial dancers, staying suspended, lingering on the currents. With a breath and a wish, the seeds are set aloft to find new homes, away from parent plants, away from competition for food and water. Migrants. It isn't easy. Safe travels. As children we find them magical and help them disperse. As adults, perhaps when we begin to own property, we pull them as weeds. Was it a possessiveness that changed us? A need for control?



In 2015, I made a hand-felted piece, "Looking for Home," that featured embroidered dandelions. I loved sewing into that soft material.



I suspect it was then that I penciled dandelions all over a piece of cotton muslin that I had tea dyed. I know I tried out different methods but never liked the stitched result until finally, in May 2019, I sandwiched some quilt batting between it and another piece of cotton and began to stitch again.



These hundreds of silver and gold seeds were sewn by hand on airplanes, across the country, and back at home. Perhaps a reasonable project for 5-6 hour trips.


I used metallic threads, realizing that I wanted to re-dye the cloth blue. Into the dye tub they went last weekend. I liked the darker color, which the label from Dharma Trading said was "indigo," but I also knew it would get lighter when dry. It had been much easier to see the stitching lines on the light cloth.



It took a little while to decide how to finish the quilt. It needed a border, probably darker. With some texture. A friend had given me some denim.


Since it would look better with quilting in the open areas, I added the blue dandelion seeds. The blue stitching receded into the background, which is what I wanted. And so, "Turbulent Travels."

Perhaps coincidentally, I was also propelled by an interesting scientific article in Physics Today, January 2019, volume 72, number 1, "Dandelion Seed Dynamics."




Comments

CrowGirl said…
That's wonderful! I've been a little bit obsessed with dandelion seeds since the new Cosmos series intro showed them turning into Voyager moving through the stars. They're a powerful visual analogy...and I've never outgrown making a dandelion wish now and then, even when I have to cope with them in my yard. I wonder what kind of dreams you might have, sleeping under a dandelion quilt.
Alisa said…
CrowGirl—seeds and stars, wishes and dreams: nice thoughts. Thanks for writing!
Velma Bolyard said…
this is so beautiful
Alisa said…
Thanks, Velma. I did think of you while I was stitching, stitching, stitching.