Friday, December 3, 2010

A Troubling Quilt

There was an accident that occurred in Winona Lake IN, this past September. A 19 year old girl was killed.  She and her boyfriend were sitting in a hammock overlooking sunset point, when one of the trees holding the hammock fell over. Here is a link to one of the many news stories about it. The tree killed the young woman and severely injured the young man.

For the families, this must be an unspeakably horrible time for them. For me it is a tragedy for several reasons. This happened just one block away from the family cottage which is my most favorite place in the world. It is where I spent every summer, played with cousins and had idyllic summers. And of course Winona was where I got my first kiss. Since I married and had 2 children, I have taken them to visit every summer too. I have had a full life, Winona Lake was such an important part of it.  This young woman will never have the experiences I have had at Winona, nor will she have a full life. Since September I've wrestled with needing to do something about this awful accident. So in October I began making a quilt.

This quilt should include the name of the street, "Esplanade"; include a hammock, show the lake and moonlight, and what about the tree that fell over? There should be stars in the sky.  I have worked and worked, and struggled with this piece.  I am thinking that perhaps it shouldn't be finished.
Above is the hand dyed fabric I am using for the background--no piecing. There is the street sign showing the name of the street is Esplanade.  Many times I make patterns for elements out of newsprint and pin them in place to see how the shape and size work.

I'm not pleased with how the street sign looks, so I made it bigger, smaller, taller etc. and nothing seemed to please me.  So I removed it and started on something that I knew would work:  a tree that also created the right hand border.
The strip of light blue fabric on upper left is hand painted was made for stars that lighted the sky.
The addition of the tree was easy.  The moon behind it, (the accident was at midnight) is created with layers of white tulle.  There is the beginnings of a hammock, that will be tied to the tree. The actual hammock was one of those knotted rope things, I didn't think that was going to work.  The moon's reflection in the water is tulle, that will be cut away after the quilting. Something else is needed so I made some tall grass, which is actually growing at the point. 

I'm not happy with the hammock. How should it be pictured?  In a wad on the ground, like a real hammock, or something else?
I spent hours on creating a hammock. I kept thinking that one end should be attached to a tree, the other end in a puddle or in disarray. I made them in several colors, one was too small, I tried creating a black hammock and embroidering the knotted ropes on top, but nothing is working.   So I put it away.

More to come............................................................


Quilt or Dye said...

Were you asking for suggestions? I love the background and I love the moon. I think the reflection will turn out well when finished. It bothers me that the tree and the land both abruptly end on the right side. I would have some tree branches going off the edge. The hammock does not show up well but I don't think that is the biggest problem you have going. There is an empty space on the left-center about even with the break between the moon shine and the moon reflection. It needs something in that space. Me, I would put a shadow of the girl who died or a shadow of the tree that fell--not ghost figures but definitely paler representations than the real items in the picture--e.g. tree and grass and hammock. Then the fact that you don't immediately see the hammock is perfect--it is only a secondary player in the story.

California Fiber artist and composer said...

Ann___Your soul will tell you what to do. I don't think you need to put things in literally. Symbols or even abstraction are fine. Maybe some of it could be thread work.

annieQ said...

I am hoping that when I talk about what I'm doing, that it will help solve some of my challenges. Thank you for your comments. said...

When I'm stuck, it helps me talk about my challenges too! I like your idea of keeping one end of the hammock attached to the tree and the other end crumpled on the ground.