Thursday, April 5, 2012

Judy's Fabric Challenge completed

Okay - today, I am posting my quilt from Karen Musgrave's newest challenge:

28" x 24"

To begin, I’d like to share a comment about the fabric. My first impression was one of hesitation. The fabric itself had a lot going on in the print. When I brought the piece to my small group meeting, a few of us agreed about the dark, negative and uncomfortable nature of its design. - Which I thought that I could use to some advantage. 

The obvious direction and ‘flow’ of the colors in my fabric piece (teal, deeper blues and black) reminded me of water. These were violent waves, moving forward and carrying with them other elements, textures, remnants of things more tangible than the water.
What most directly came to mind, was the March 11, 2011 magnitude 8.9 quake off the northeast coast of Japan, which sent a tsunami across the Pacific Ocean and killing a still-undetermined number of people. 
This quilt became that Tsunami wave.

I stretched myself and moved out of your comfort zone by moving thru the free form cutting and piecing and into layering.

After the first layer was complete, I decided to quilt directional lines into the top of the quilt to show the violent movement of the waves.

 Next, I went to another set of fabrics and cut out specific elements that I fused to the first layer of the quilt.
Later, these were top stitched in place.

I hand stitched around the edges of clustered cherry blossoms with a metallic thread, to highlight the metallic in the fabric, adding small glass beads to the blossom centers.  

Later, I machine appliquéd three paper-pieced Japanese lanterns, after altering their sizes. Additional top hooks for the lanterns, as well as decorative hanging beads were added by hand to complete the quilt.
I researched Japanese Culture and found meanings for the colors and representational symbols I chose to include in my overall design :
  1. Green – which represents Life
  2. Blue – representing immortality
  3. White – representing death
  4. Kanji – Japanese symbols or 'words' in the black and white fabric
  5. Chrysanthemums are symbolic of lamentation or grief, were in the fabric used to construct the paper-pieced Lanterns that symbolize enlightenment
  6. Two cranes, cut from another fabric, are a symbol of longevity
  7. Cherry blossoms symbolize clouds, being a metaphor for the ephemeral or transient nature of life.
In the end, I felt that the quilt became a pictorial representation of metaphors for all things good and bad in life. Suggesting a resemblance between all that is positive and negative. i.e. One is included with the other.


  1. Simply a wonderful quilt. I love that you found a way to honor the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last year. Just wondering if you can give the title and size of your piece.

  2. Sara -
    Thanks so much for your kind words.

    The quilt measures 28" across by 24" down, from the furthest edge or bead set.

    I think that we all are still feeling a 'collective' sadness and sense of loss that the tsunami has left our planet with.
    Because it is such an emotional subject for me, I have not yet found a name for this piece. Any suggestions?

    Best wishes,

  3. Diane, this is a drop-dead gorgeous quilt with a powerful feeling. You really did a great job - the layering is a very clever idea. I am still not done with my first challenge fabric piece (I have no life - LOL) and couldn't even imagine working with this second fabric. Terrific!

    Enjoy the book.

  4. Diane,
    This is a really beautiful quilt. I really like how you explained your thought process and your research.

    Have you found a name yet? The topic brings to mind the coming and going of life-- like echos or ripples.
    Thank you for posting it.