Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Change or Transformation: The Endeavourers

Id. Ego. Super Ego.

This month's challenge prompt for the Endeavourer's art quilt group is 
Change or Transformation. 

How do you interpret change or transformation with cloth and thread? 

Art is meant to appeal to your past experience, emotion, and senses. An art quilt is simply art made with fiber transformed into cloth and thread, and a batting sandwiched between the layers. How does one convey the meaning of something so abstract as change or transformation through fiber?

Color Theory

This piece is the classic example used to show students of color theory how shades of red are influenced by the color next to them. When deep red is set beside deep blue, the red becomes cooler. 

The exact shade set next to a deep fuchsia becomes warm. (Color theory offers specific colors, but I relied on my own hand dyed fabrics that were very close.)

Each time I've come across this example in a book, I've been compelled to study it. It spoke to me about how people are influenced by their surroundings much like color is. Put a person (red) in an uncomfortable environment or stressful situation, and it shows outwardly. Physically they appear ill at ease, unwell, or have poor color. Think of the times people have asked you, "Are you okay?" And you are thinking, "I will as soon as this is over, and I get out of here, etc." Your surroundings are influencing you negatively.

Surround the same person with people that love her or him, and watch the change in color. Smiling brings color to their cheeks, and we sense warm tones. 

So if we are the red, the environment around us is the blue or the fuchsia. If we work on keeping our environment happy, hanging out with positive people, etc., we should be happier. Change on the outside should transform us inside. It makes sense, but it wasn't working quite as I had imagined. I knew people who seemed to have everything and perfect lives, but were still deeply unhappy.

Deeper, Wider

Working on this project in small scale created more time for me to investigate other ways the theme pulled me in. There had to be more to this than I could initially see. So I created a few very quiet weeks, and even stopped blogging. I was open to whatever God or the universe had to show me. Sitting in a cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere, I pulled one of two books off a shelf while I sat waiting on family to join me. The book was called, The Untethered Soul


I think I was a unprepared how deeply I would be affected by this small book, and how it would even influence my work as well as my life. It sounds New Age. It's not. It's far more a book on self psychology than any religion, and introduced the idea of shutting down that nasty inner voice. You know the one I mean, I'm sure. The voice that talks to you at night, keeping you awake, and rehearsing all the things you should have, could have done, but didn't. The voice that says you ought to be healthier, funnier, thinner, happier, etc. The voice (worst best friend) that you take everywhere, and cannot control. The author explained that we are not that voice, that it is not logical, and no tenet requires us to listen. It's time to separate ourselves.

That was the first big step I took to understanding the meaning of, "Happiness is an inside job." Shutting down the negative voice was not easy at first, but I imagined myself watching it from a distance, and clicking off the volume. Off I went, back to sleep. 

Lesson Two

Learning how to experience things in life that aren't pleasant, aren't in my happy environment (imagine being surrounded in cold blue), and yet not hold on to them was the next. We all deal with negative people and situations. It's nearly impossible to live without some of their low energy moving our way, but we don't have to keep it inside. We have the power to not replay a bad scenario over and over. Like the wind, let it blow away. It's not ours to carry. Carry joy instead.

I'll share that I have another piece in series underway already. The red center has grown, and the borders are shrinking. The piece is much bigger, and I want to see it from across the room. I want to be reminded of the happiness and joy I'm being transformed by! Does this mean life has less impact on me, my happiness or state of mind? I do. 

This small piece is approximately 7" x 14", and hand stitched in Perle cotton thread. Colored fabrics are hand dyed. Cotton batting. Muslin backing.

I shared the same project photographed inside on a quilted background, and outside in natural light. I intended to show only one, but thought it was interesting how influenced how we would see the project. 

The Endeavourers is a group of quilters and artists linking together to explore diverse themes in fiber. Please visit the Endeavourers blog to see the other interpretations of Change and Transformation. Enjoy!

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew and be happy.

Linking up with~
Freemotion By the River
Show & Tell Monday
Moving It Forward
To-Do Tuesday
Design Wall Monday
Off the Wall Friday


Janine @ Rainbow Hare said...

I was very interested to hear your thoughts as you contemplated this topic and to see how you portrayed the effect on a colour of its surrounding colour in your quilt. The colour theory is very interesting and I liked the way you widened out to compare with people. I wonder if part of it is that people who seem to have everything don't necessarily have the right things...Your book sounds very interesting and useful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience in this insightful post :)

Miaismine said...

Wow. Such a deep post. It was very interesting. Surround ourselves with joyful people. Let go. Turn off that inner voice using the visualization of a light switch. Abstract ideas can be demonstrated with fiber. I'm so glad you showed all the photos you did. Thank you for these easily applicable tips to enrich our lives! Glad I found you at To Do Tuesdays!

Kate said...

A very thought provoking post. The color theory stuff is cool, but the inner voice stuff is interesting. I was talking with one of the women I work with and we were contemplating why it was that we have problems shutting off that inner voice at night, but our husbands do not seem to have the same problem.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I know nothing about color theory so your examples were so very interesting. How you related the pieces to how people feel in certain situations was excellent. Your comments about what the book author wrote hit close to home for me at this time in my life. You might see that in the piece I did. AND how many times have I thought a certain thing made up in my mind was true only to find out how wrong I was. This post gives me a lot to think about.
xx, Carol

evaj said...

Thank you very much for your inspiration this week at the Show and Tell Monday !! Bambi

Catherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catherine said...

It's beautiful and meaningful too. I love this quilt and look forward to seeing the next.

audrey said...

What a beautiful piece and so thoughtfully done. I haven't thought about this topic quite as deeply as you have but I've always recognized my moods and emotions in regards to my quilting. Overall I strive very much to create happy, warm, cozy quilts with the occasional venture into something more moody. For me, there are many constant stresses in my life, I choose to convey happiness in and through a hobby I deeply enjoy. So interesting to read through this post.

Sandy Panagos said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The surrounding environment having an impact on us just like the warm and cold colors is a great analogy. Oh, yeah, and I like the piece you made, too.

FlashinScissors said...

Wow, a great post! I hadn’t considered our subject of “Changes” in quite this way. It was very interesting to read. It’s fascinating to read how we’ve all interpreted the subject!
Love your quilt!
Barbara xx

Kate @ Smiles From Kate said...

A fascinating post Julie. I enjoyed your explanation of colour theory. I have one or two books on the subject, I think I would like to revisit them. I tell my children to surround themselves with happy people, negative people just pull you down and why be down when you can be happy? The book you read has a strong mindfulness thread and what you describe I would call monkey mind, thoughts are not facts, only random mental events made worse by the layers we add to them. I’m going to tale a look at that book, thank you.

Christine Slaughter said...

Thank you for such a thought-provoking post. I appreciate your sharing that book; it definitely is one I need to read. My inner voice has been harping way too much as of late, and has yielded me with way more sleepless nights in the last couple of weeks.