In late 2017 I was commissioned by a dear friend and art collector to create a series of thread paintings for her to gift her husband and friends based on photos from a vacation she had taken with her husband.
I was excited and challenged by the opportunity. Here are the works I created for her. Each was 5″ x 7″ and framed. I think they turned out wonderfully. She was very happy with them, and it reminds me what wonderful and personalized gifts the small pieces are.
Their next challenge show for winter is titled MYTH. And we were invited to produce a piece that is inspired or bases on a myth, but also that is in some way tied into the world and our lives personally. I had several ideas and am working on two. But the piece that has really inspired me is this work in progress “Phoenix Rising.”
The Story of the Phoenix has always fascinated me.
In ancient mythology, the symbolism of the majestic Phoenix bird, which is most often connected with the Sun, dies and is reborn across cultures and throughout time.
Ancient legend paints a picture of a magical bird, radiant and shimmering, which lives for several hundred years before it dies by bursting into flames. It is then reborn from the ashes, to start a new, long life. So powerful is the symbolism that it is a motif and image that is still used commonly today in popular culture and folklore.
The legendary phoenix is a large, grand bird, much like an eagle or peacock. It is brilliantly coloured in reds, purples, and yellows, as it is associated with the rising sun and fire. Sometimes a nimbus will surround it, illuminating it in the sky. Its eyes are blue and shine like sapphires. It builds its own funeral pyre or nest, and ignites it with a single clap of its wings. After death it rises gloriously from the ashes and flies away.
The Grammarist says: “To rise like a phoenix from the ashes means to emerge from a catastrophe stronger, smarter and more powerful. An example of rising like a phoenix from the ashes is someone who opens a new, successful business after his previous business has failed. Another example is someone who builds a new house after his previous house has been destroyed in a tornado. The phoenix bird is a mythical bird from Greek mythology. It was a feathered creature of great size with talons and wings, its plumage radiant and beautiful. The phoenix lived for 500 years before it built its own funeral pyre, burst into flame, and died, consumed in its own fiery inferno. Soon after, the mythical creature rose out of the ashes, in a transformation from death to life.
In my own life i have on several occasions had to face a type of death: My loss of my voice as a singer; going through a physical transition to become a new person both in my creativity and in my life; and most recently the ending of my 14 year relationship with i man I truly love and thought would be in my life forever.
Like the Phoenix, each time I’ve had to die completely to the old self in order to find a new life, a new pathway.
This week’s posts will be following the creation of the finished piece I will be showing November through December at Goose Creek Studio. It will be for sale.
Tomorrow I begin to sort and add colors for the plumage. I will completely finish the piece as a fabric collage before I begin any thread painting.
I’ve recently come to grips with being a single woman again. It has been a struggle, but only because the person who I considered my rock and my stability is no longer that in my life. There are good things about that though, and I am looking for silver linings.
Little Old Lady Quilting Studio here in Bedford, VA has passed its first year. I’ve had so much fun and I’ve had such wonderful support from the community here.
This past year I have had the great pleasure of working on some really fun quilt projects and ALSO gotten to create some incredible thread art for clients and collectors. As I get the time now to refocus on where I really want to go in the future. I realize more and more that I LOVE finishing quilt tops for others with FMQ. Doing an edge to edge pantograph design bores me to tears. There are lots of other long arm quilters that are content to do that. or they use computerized systems to essentially do the same thing. More Power to them for knowing their niche and what they need to do to make ends meet.
I no longer accept orders for traditional quilts from scratch here. They take a lot of time compared to my thread art works, (and energy and expertise which should be included in the pricing!) and many people in this small community just can’t afford to pay what a one of a kind handmade quilt is worth.
I am focused now on my thread art and one finishing quilts for people that understand the nature of free-motion quilting and that treasure a one of a kind finished quilt. I’m also creating whole cloth quilts for clients. There is something amazing and challenging and fun in taking a huge piece of blank fabric and using RUBY ( my H.Q. Avante 18 ) to draw and paint with thread to create a one of a kind heirloom.
This was a small wedding lap quilt I created for a wedding gift. I was allow total freedom in design and execution, as long as I used the wedding color dusty rose. The client and the couple were very happy with it!
Starting with a preprinted center panel I built a quilt around it in neutral colors for a client. She wanted the pop of color to come from the thread Work. This was a blast to create and to quilt. And she loves it!!!
Now in the studio I am concentrating more on my thread work and only doing quilts that interest me. I am so happy here in my Studio /Cabin. And having life work that fulfils me and give me a purpose makes all the difference in life!