What Is the Question? Tell Me: Quiltlet

Often, as artists we have a question we are investigating. It could be formal, for instance: color, texture, form, composition. It could be conceptual: materials giving a deeper meaning to the subject; or using certain colors to evoke certain feelings. It could be something obsessive such as counting or tallying. Or general and open-ended: how can I? or what if? The question, one way or another, propels us forward and eggs us on.

This quilt continues the question from the last quiltlet, About Face. I still had more of the Ultraviolet-dyed fabric and the pieces I had backed with Heat 'N Bond to plain cotton. To the question of "what can I make with purple?" a formal question, I added: "what if," a more abstract one. What if I made actual faces or profiles rather than just suggesting them? And yes, I was thinking about how to show the light and dark faces engaging with one another.

After making the backing/batting/top sandwich, I machine-quilted faces, aware they would not really show in the final quilt, but would add texture, and maybe a little mystery. I enjoyed cutting out the profiles and moving them around to find their placement. They are stitched down with cotton sashiko thread with a running stitch and a French knot for each eye. I left them somewhat loose, letting the shadows add dimension. The title is embroidered at the bottom in matching periwinkle thread.

Looking it over, I wondered about the title. I thought it might be About Face II, but I'm not a fan of numbered series because, silly as it is, I always feel I've missed something if I like one of the numbers in the middle, or that somehow the second is signaling it is derivative of the first. Even when it is, I think it deserves its own title. I'm just that way.

I was listening to Chaka Khan and Rufus recently. The song, "Tell Me Something Good," seemed appropriate for life right now. So the title is really the conceptual part.

Tell Me
13" x 20"
hand-dyed cotton, appliqué, sashiko thread, hand and machine quilting



You can watch Chaka Khan sing "Tell Me Something Good" here: https://youtu.be/cm_cFzVAoo8

Next question, coming up.