I’ve been asked to remake a quilt I first made around 1995..at first I thought no! I’m not going to repeat myself, no! I’m not going to back track…but then I started cogitating…
One of the things I’ve learned from watercolour painting is that each time you try to paint something again you can work faster and looser, you have much more sense of what it is about the image that is important to you, you’re less inclined to add in fussy details, but at the same time you can recognize areas that might be flatter or less interesting than they need to be.
So I looked again at my original piece to see if any of the “watercolour improvements” could be used in remaking the piece. Could I work faster? Well, no!! That one wasn’t on…but that is the least important.
Could I be looser? I felt that I could: after making the first piece I was sorry I had trimmed the edges of the central panel so straight..it contained the action too much. I tried to overcome that by extending the chain out across the borders but I did it too meekly and they just disappear. So I knew I would want to keep more of an irregular edge.
Also back in the 90s, I was still thinking you had to add a heavy border to everything which again is too controlling. One of the advantages of getting older is in relinquishing control (not that my daughters would always agree!! but I’m trying, I’m trying!)…so one thing I could do would be be to minimize the border.
Another improvement that I’ve learned from watercolor painting – is to keep shifting the colour slightly…in painting you rarely want to stick with the same flat colour for long, and it’s easy to shift the hue, value and intensity slightly. Of course with hand dyeing – once you got a stash big enough (and believe me mine is bigger than it was 15 years ago!! along with…but no we won’t get into that!)- shifting colours is easy…important to stay in the same colour family though.
Looking back at the earlier piece, I realised I did like the way the darker colours formed sort of pathways through the piece and I knew I wanted to keep that effect. However, I think I want to integrate the “top” chain much more with all the background chains… that I have yet to do… this is the piece so far – I’ve got more depth, more colour, more movement..now to figure out that final effect of one chain coming a bit more forward than the others…
Surprisingly then, I think I’ve really benefited from thoughtfully reworking this old idea..I could see both what is lacking in the older piece, and what it is that I want to retain and, if possible, enhance. It’s also been fun to revisit a palette and series that I’ve not worked in for a while! a much more worthwhile exercise than I ever expected.
Let me know what you think!!
And if anyone else wants to commission me to rework an earlier piece – I’m all for it!!
if you have been, thanks for reading! Elizabeth