Monday, March 8, 2010
prairie sky--the story of a custom quilt
OK--this is the quilt--"prairie sky" and yes, it was a custom order. Now I know "artists" these days aren't supposed to like doing custom work. Think of that Woody Allen movie--was it Manhattan?--and the artist who got outraged that the buyer wanted to match the yellow sofa. Imagine that!!!
Not me--I actually like custom orders. Sure I feel a huge responsibility since not only am I working for myself but I'm also trying to fulfill the dreams of a particular customer. But I learn so much by adding their ideas and meeting their needs. Whether it is just changing the size--which of course can change the entire design--or maybe the color needs to be tweaked--how does a particular piece look in that shade of red? Even if I am just making the same piece again, to paraphrase Garrison Keillor "A quilt never bounces the same way twice." (He was talking about jokes not quilts--but still it's true--if I change one fabric and of course I do--then all my other fabric selections also have to be rethought.)
Enough about theory though. This is about one particular quilt designed for one lovely couple. They loved "prairie dawn"--but weren't sure about the red center. They also thought the sky was too light near the horizon for them. But they wanted to keep the stars in the night sky.
They also liked "first light"--you can see the colors they had in mind--but not the yellow line of the sun.
In addition they wanted the quilt large enough that it would fill a particular place in their home. But if they moved, they wanted the option of using it as a cover for their king size bed. (As I told you, this was a great couple who thinks far ahead.)
So after some thought and playing around we came up with the idea that the quilt should be slightly darker at the horizon and the sky should have the glow of just before dawn.
Piecing was a challenge because the quilt was so big I had to remember what I had previously done and use my experience to make sure it worked. And of course I had to use different fabrics. It wasn't until I took it to my wonderful photographer John Polak that I got to finally see the quilt as it was meant to be seen. I was so thrilled that I just kept staring at it. It really did glow and the images of Saturn and Jupiter provided just the right sparkle to the night sky.
But would it work for both a bed and the wall? What do you think?