Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dark Sky Compliant: Another Art Quilt



"Dark Sky Compliant"


So, you ask, "What is that?" I'd never heard the term before I saw a notice asking everyone in Sanibel, Florida to modify all their outdoor lighting. In a nutshell, it means reducing light pollution while allowing the stars and moon to be more visible to people, but more importantly, the wildlife that biologically depend on it. Sea turtles nest on the beaches there. The loggerheads depend on the moonlight to lay their eggs, and the hatchlings to find their way back to their ocean home. Reducing artificial light gives them all a better chance at birth survival.

Sanibel is a dark island at night already. It's not hard to spot an alligator in the daylight if you go looking for one, and is not somewhere people generally go out to walk at night. For a visitor or a resident, it's a safe island, but you use common sense. The beaches are a better venue for a night walk as they don't draw alligators. The oceans are salty, and alligators like freshwater. Don't let me scare you away. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

I found myself daydreaming about how it would be for the ancient turtles making their way to the shore. How truly dark skies would allow the stars to sparkle. The inky blackness of the warm, salty water, and the reflection of the moon on the surface lighting their way. 



Months ago while testing out Procion MX dyes on a variety of fabrics, I immersion dyed some linen. I had no idea what I would do with those beautiful pieces, but knew they were something very special at the time.


I started by improvisationally piecing the strips to create light and dark. Cutting into them was hard for me.


Then I stitched with Perle cotton creating currents and waves. I drew with my eyes closed, and just felt it.


I let the beads fall out, and brushed them around with my hand. Their angularity reminds me of the grains of sand.




Then I dug through jars of shells sitting on my kitchen shelf, and found the tiniest of those collected through the years of beach combing. I laid stones across the bottom, and snapped all the pictures above of each area.


Then I started sewing everything on. Looking back and forth between the photos and quilt, and tried to replicate it. It's never exactly the same, and I find it's hard to satisfy my perfectionism of making it look like the pictures.


I found some freshwater pearls at Joann's yesterday, and immediately thought of the turtle eggs. I'm not sure where, how, or if they'll make it in. Some little glass beads where sewn to the crest of some waves as they remind me of the sea foam, so I am okay with a few changes.


I wanted to share the luscious, organic texture of the linen. It has to be may favorite fabric to work with. Note: Not all my stitches are beautiful back here. 


Today I have a date with a Dremel and a sharp bit. These tiny shells need some holes to help me anchor them with stitches. They're too irregular, and some slippery, to just stitch across. It should be another adventure to make sure they don't shatter, but how fun is work like this!

And so you all know, this quilt has been measured and checked. It will finish up at 12" x 12", and be done on time with a little patience and luck. Cross your fingers, and hold your thumbs.

Come on, Doxie girls.



33 comments:

  1. I love this small quilt and the story behind it. Julie, you always amaze me, when you take a story/concept such as this one and turn it into a beautiful work of art.

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    1. Gosh, Tish, thank you. I guess I'm someone who often reads too much into things in real life, but I'm allowed to do that with my own work. It's hard to explain to people who don't know me that I feel so deeply about some things, and make so many connections. I'm very lucky to have people like you that do get who I am, and I'm grateful for those friendships. Someday you and I will have to meet IRL.

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  2. I agree with Tish! I was fortunate last year to be able to see baby loggerheads hatch from the nest and make their way to the sea. Light pollution is a huge issue wherever sea turtles nest. I like that your beautiful work of art also brings attention to this environmental issue.

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    1. Oh, lucky you, Jan! I've never seen this, and I think it would be incredible. The nesting/hatching season on Sanibel is May-October, and I have seen the nests cordoned off with caution tape. There's about 18 miles of shoreline there were they lay, and sometime in my life I will be there at the right time.

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  3. A lovely illustration of the issue you describe, Julie. How the pearls and shells sparkle against the dark navy is perfect.

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    1. Thank you, Marly. It's interesting you bring up the color. It does look like a very deep navy here, and also in real life. I try to keep my blog pictures as true to color as possible. But the actual dye is a black, and black is the most difficult dye for me to process. Some show brownish, purplish, and others pull a lot of blue like this one. I get a slightly different coloration using linen here than I do with Pima or Kona, even replicating all the same conditions. I am just crazy about how it shows so beautifully on the linen, and the pearls are set off on both the color and texture!

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  4. Looking great, and a wonderful tribute to environmental awareness.

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  5. Lovely result you achieved here! New Zealand has a dark sky reserve in the South Island which is really interesting to read about.

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    1. That's something I'll look up. Thank you.

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  6. You made such a great progress in such a short time, it's amazing! Good luck with your Dremel - I have some experience drilling shells with it and it's not one of my cherished memories ;))

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    1. Lena, I wound up altering my plan, and used a 1/16 bit with a drill. I laid the small shells down on piece of green board (insulation), and put a hard piece of plastic under it in case I pushed through it. I had about 25% of the shells shatter. Some were really tough to get through, but I felt those would hold up the best over time on the quilt. I tend to agree it's not something I want to do again soon.

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  7. Why should your stitches be all beautiful? They also are organic, each an individual. A work that truly touches my heart.

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    1. You are so right, PaulaB! I was so pleased with the quilting stitches back there, but when I added the beading it wasn't as lovely. I know it's okay, and actually today it is done. Even better. Thank you for your kind words.

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  8. Oh Julie I think you have outdone yourself with this one. I love how you incorporated your story into the quilt. Have fun with your Dremel.

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    1. Thanks so much, Cindy. I really love the way it turned out in the end. Ahhh.

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  9. You really know how to paint a picture in the mind, I felt I was there with you. A beautiful quilt and a beautiful story, thank you.

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    1. I'm so glad you felt it, too, Kate. Sometimes it's hard to remember it's not just us.

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  10. Love the story that goes with the quilt. You captured everything so well in word and stitch.

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  11. This piece is gorgeous! Technical issue of stitches on the back from beading--you can slide your beading needle between layers exactly as you would a quilting needle between areas. It takes a little longer, but none of the beading stitches show on the back unless you want them to. Really, really love this piece!

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    1. Thank you for the tip, Kathy. I tried it on another I've been working on, and it's sure not easy coming back up in the right piece. I've been working at trying not to flip the pieces back and forth if I'm sewing beads to the front, and this makes it nearly impossible. I'm sure this all involves more time and practice then I've given it.

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  12. Looks terrific and a great interpretation! I once stitched shells to a quilt, overlapping clear monofilament on top of them, so they wouldn't fall out. The next day, I went to the guild meeting, and the speaker had a quilt that also had shells on it. But she was more clever than I - she hot glued shank buttons onto them, then sewed on the button, with shell attached! Genius!

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    1. Excellent idea here! I also had to wrap one of the shells to maintain it's intended direction, and orientation. I have seen the shank idea used on buttons before, but it never occurred to me to use it on shells. I'm always concerned the glue won't hold as well as it should, but this is probably something to start doing some testing with soon. Shells add so much to pieces.

      Thank you, Susan.

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  13. Wow! This is an amazing piece. I loved reading about your creation steps. The seashells will be the perfect complement to your beautiful fabric and stitching.
    Thank you for participating to my Fabric, Thread and Yarn Link party. Have a good day!

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    1. Thank you, France, for such kind words. I always enjoy your weekly link up, and the variety of projects there.

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  14. The current and the waves are very effective. A piece that is well put together - the quilting and embellishing sparkle.

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    1. Thank you so much, Angie. Continuing the movement started with the fabric was a big concern of mine. I hoped I captured even some of it.

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  15. What Tish said.... Having been to Sanibel, seen the fancing around turtle nesting areas on Anna Maria, and visited various other keys and islands down to Key West in 'my' Gulf, my happy place on the planet, you've captured the essence of a moonlit night here, that ghostly diamond sparkle that happens on the gently lapping waves at night. I'm transported back. That linen is perfect for that very velvet backdrop for the stars to sparkle and the moon to softly glow in that etheral way it has over water. :-) Thank you for such a wonderful inspiring piece and description of it. :-)

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    1. PS I don't think, no I KNOW, I could not part with it were it mine!

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    2. As always, I'm so appreciative of your words, Sandra. We share many thoughts, and a wonderful visit already in the north, and one day we'll visit while we're both enjoying Florida. I'm looking forward to it!

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  16. Gosh your post took me back. I visited it with my husband and children about 23 years ago. Happy memories.

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    1. Linda, I think you would have been surprised after Hurricane Charlie hit 12 years ago. It was devastating, to say the least, but the island has slowly returned back to its pre-storm condition. A few of the Norfolk pines still show damage, but things grow fast. The beach, on the other hand, changes dramatically every time we visit. It was just lovely the last time. We, too, have lots of happy memories associated with Sanibel.

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Thank you for sharing your ideas and comments. It's always enlightening to hear what you think, or if you have a suggestions. Some of you really make my day with your wit! I admit I struggle to keep up with replies during busy times, but it's because I'm working on new things to share with you. Give me a shout with anything urgent at julie@pinkdoxies.com, and I'll try to get right back with you.

If you want to be certain of a personal reply, leave your email or email me privately. Many people are not even aware when they have become a no-reply blogger. Yes, I know it's frustrating for us all.

Julie