Art Quilt: All Is Not Lost

Just after the fourth of July, my neighbor with the beautiful garden around the corner appeared at my front door bearing some sort of enormous flora.

"What is it?" I asked.

"It's an onion flower," she said.

"It looks like a firework!"

"Exactly," she said. "I brought it because you seem to be inspired by plants." I thanked her, put the flower in a vase to hold it upright, but it didn't need any water because it was perfectly dried. I kept the onion flower on the table in the studio until the inspiration took hold. It didn't take long.

I loved the explosion, the form, but had to find a connection emotionally. I read an article on the Garden Betty website (and title for the piece is taken from it also) about why an onion plant bolts, why it flowers or goes to seed. Once the onions bolt, "their bulbs stop growing and their storage capacity diminishes." I immediately thought of memory and the storage capacity of our minds.

When the onion flowers, the onion stops growing, but the bloom is spectacular.

All Is Not Lost
32"w x 43"h (81 cm x 122 cm)
Hand-dyed velvet and cotton; Japanese woven cotton; commercial cotton; silk organza; Decolourant; hand-dyed linen thread; embroidery and metallic thread; hand embroidered and quilted


Along the pink stripe I embroidered "all is not lost" in script. I embroidered the onion in 2019 and posted about it here. Now it is a part of this piece.

The actual onion flower gift.


kathy loomis said…
I think it's wonderful that you had the onion already made and so perfect for this piece. And especially wonderful that you were able to find it!

I love it when preexisting things appear in art. So many times the serendipitously found object is exactly what you need for today's project.
Alisa said…
Thanks, Kathy! Sometimes there's a fine line between keeping a partial project and letting it go, or a previous project that would almost fit the new one but just isn't quite right. This was quite a coincidence. Luckily, all my thread and embroidered pieces are in one place!