Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Change or Transformation: The Endeavourers

Id. Ego. Super Ego.

This month's 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 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 says a 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 we 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." 

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 made sense, but it wasn't working quite as I had imagined. I knew people who had everything, but still were deeply unhappy.

Deeper, Wider Color

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. I hope you've enjoyed it.

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


  1. I loved your quilt when I saw it and even more now you've started me thinking about our internal and external worlds and how or whether they affect us. I'm so glad that you're inspired to make another in series and look forward to seeing it!

  2. This is a beautiful and very interesting quilt. And I enjoyed reading your post. You have provided much food for thought :)

  3. Very thought provoking and an interesting read - thanks!

  4. So many interesting questions you have thrown up with this lovely little quilt Julie. This is proving to be a really stimulating group.

  5. Your writing about how our environment deeply affects us and the way we appear, stressed or calm and happy, resonated with me. At this point in my life, I am so lucky that I don't have to be in stressful environments any more. But you got me thinking on a shallower level, about how the colors and textures of my surroundings affect me. I love both strong tropical colors and calm neutral tones, but too many manmade fibers around me makes me cringe! Great ideas to explore in an art journal, thank you!

  6. Love your quilt! And very interesting questions you pose... I agree with Fiona this is a very stimulating group

  7. Very thought provoking, in fact I'm still thinking. Hope that was your intention.