Just in case you're asking yourself why on Earth I would make this my opening photo, it's because it's the best part of the quilt at this point.
I created these two monoprints above a few weeks ago because there was something about the colors that really drew me in. I found I chose them a lot, and yet, if someone asked me what my favorite colors were, these would never come out of my mouth: red, black, yellow, peach, pink, and grey lavender. Visually, I choose them. Consciously, I would never.
I believe this. I believe that sometimes we have an idea for a piece of work, whether it is a quilt or painting or page, but it's in no way coming across our 'mind screen' in high def resolution. We more or less 'feel' it. We can see elements of it in our imagination--color perhaps, lines, but I will say there's more about it we don't know than we do. Still, we start these projects because they call us!
Whatever Possessed Me?
I hope you know the courage it has taken me to show this. I've struggled with this project for weeks. One moment I'm saying, "It will be fine. Breathe." The next I'm back to wondering why I've invested so much energy into a losing battle. I know it's how original design works, but this was even a stretch for me. The first picture of red, curved piecing is midway up the quilt, and then this section is the very bottom. The rest of the colors in the quilt will be in the same ranges. The not-quite-purple is called "Dances with Raisins", and is a Procion MX dye. Smashed up with the lipstick reds and tan/gold, it's all a little off. It's just doesn't feel cohesive.
Deep Breath In...and Out
Except for a few pieces I pulled from my hand dyed stash, the entire quilt started as a white cotton sateen. Some pieces were low water immersion dyed, and others painted with dyes. Part of my goal in making it was to experiment with, and experience how to add surface design on top of the dye. I would either add more dye, or paint, or ink before quilting. So, the dark (may I say dreary for me) colors we're looking at above are all the lowest layers. I left one small section pure white for a specific surface treatment, and you can see how out of place it looks.
What do you do at this point to build
cohesiveness throughout the quilt?
*Mind you, these are test swatches I started working on at 7 a.m. when I didn't know if the project would last the day.
I started by choosing colors I needed to bring down in the quilt like red, terracotta, lavender, silver, and bright yellow, and gold. Trying out every product I had experience with, I went systematically through them on each piece of fabric. I used stencils, stamps, Gelli printing, paint brushes, markers, paint pens, and some things straight out of the bottle. Some things like Versatex didn't work at all. Versatex is very transparent, and needs a light background fabric. It simply disappeared into the fabric. The exception was when I used it on top of the white stamped leaves, and then it showed up brilliantly! Transparent paints stand our on top of an opaque base. Aha!
That little discovery led me to another solution. How was I supposed to get an opaque red to show up? On the left of the photo is a lipstick red paint, but it came out more terracotta. I used the same method, and applied a glossy red over the base paint. By applying with a brush, and highlighting in small sections, I could create some dimension to it. Going back into the area with a Sharpie fine point after it was dry was what I'd been doing with the small pieces I recently worked on. It added more color, and an opportunity to add yet another texture layer.
You can get a little idea of how blending these colors might help. Some deep purple in the black, gold in the purple, and red in the gold will hopefully work as well as it does when we choose compatible colors in commercial fabrics.
For today, I'm on the "This is going to work...I think" side. There are lots of ways to add more layers and colors all the way through quilting as long it all stays balanced. It may not wind up the most beautiful quilt I've ever made, but it's work it's weight in what I've learned this far.
The Doxie girls and I are off to bed so we're perky and fit for another day of hard work tomorrow. Ta ta for now.
Come on, Minnie.
I'll cover you up first.