Art Quilt: Don't Look Behind You

The project changed. I started by drawing crow feathers I had picked up and cutting out a stencil for a book. I wasn't happy with the color of the book, and it was too late to change it, so that project was shepherded to the bottom of the flat-file drawer. I then dove into the boxes of leftover cotton cloth that a friend gave me and stenciled the crow feathers onto a long piece. I didn't expect to use it, but it grew on me and demanded to be a quilt.

Usually words come. This time they didn't. Still, I was curious and felt compelled to continue. I got out more cotton, tied it loosely with string, and dyed it "Raven Black." (Yes! That is the color of the dye from Dharma Trading.) Other pieces I left loose. The loose pieces became charcoal black, while the tie-dyed pieces turned a deep midnight blue-black.

I liked the particular pattern on the left, so I kept it as a full panel. To change up the symmetry and to disrupt the pattern, I cut another long strip and pieced it back together randomly. That became the righthand panel.

With this quilt I learned to use the quilting as emphasis and shadow (similar to a deep impression from a letterpress). I used a single strand of "ecru" DMC embroidery thread on the crow feather area and on the night sky sections I used a midnight blue-black, "abyssal blue," a Daruma sashiko thread that I found at one of my favorite shops, KimonoMomo. It has the thickness of about 2-3 strands of the DMC. (Even so, both kinds of thread were sewn doubled.)

It took many months for this quilt to come together, and for me to accept that it would be wordless. I turned to a friend for the title. "Don't Look Behind You," he said. His thoughts were about an upcoming reunion. But the title works for me on many levels.

Looking at the back is giving me more ideas. And it makes me think there are words here, after all.


Liz A said…
thank you for a look into the process behind your quilt ... and a literal look at the back, with its asemic stitching
Alisa said…
Thanks, Liz A. It's funny how we like to look at the backs of sewn works, isn't it?