Shimmer: VERB [NO OBJECT] Shine with a soft, slightly wavering light.

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Today is the first reveal day in 2017 for Four in Art. Our theme for this year is ‘Light’ and the sub-theme for this quarter is ‘Shimmer’. 

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Our aim is: “…to break out of the usual gridded experience and try a new concept, free of structure or preconception, moving the boundaries of our own skills forward in both concept and technique” and, looking back at my last reveal post in November, I see I claimed I would begin this quilt in the next couple of days. Needless to say, I did not begin in a couple of days…or weeks…or months…and the nearer the deadline loomed, the more I became convinced that no word in the entire dictionary held less resonance for me than the word ‘shimmer’. It’s strange how deadlines can have such an effect on the most innocuous of themes.

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I started scouring the internet, frantically, keying the word ‘shimmer’ into every search box that claimed to reveal quotes and images. And I found a LOT of nail varnish before I, eventually, chanced upon a quotation, which I thought might have some potential:

“In a work of art, chaos must shimmer through the veil of order.” (Novalis).

(1) What form this orderly piece could take and (2) how I could shimmer chaos through it remained more than uncertain.

As it turned out, on point (2) I need not have worried. The chaos came of itself when I inadvertently ironed over the transfer letters. And point (1) seemed to be resolved when, thankfully, I chanced upon another quotation:

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As soon as I saw that, I thought “Yes! That is just exactly what it is like with ideas!” And, since the eleventh hour had already struck, I got straight to work without further thought beyond the hope to comply with “moving the boundaries of our own skills forward in both concept and technique” and the plan to use a circular piece of shimmering fabric for the ‘idea’.

I tend to think of my ‘art’ quilts more as illustrations than art so I decided to extend that concept by using the actual text as part of the final piece – hoping to end up with something resembling a page from a book – and to extend my skills by using a a transfer sheet for the lettering and a new-to-me method of applique I learned in Lara’s book, Crafted Appliqué: New Possibilities (I omitted the straight stitch edging stage).

To enhance the contrast, I decided to keep everything except the ‘shimmering idea’ matte and textured so I used a plain sewing thread for quilting to create some texture whilst staying in the background and I used velvet for the dress. The finished piece is about A4 paper sized so Lara’s applique technique was ideal for creating detail on a small scale and the variation in textures shows up better in real life.

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The shimmering fabric that this piece so much depended on, however, turned out be almost invisible and, although I expected this to be the easy part, I was amazed at the variety of fabrics and beads and buttons that just blended right into the background until an antique cuff link finally came to the rescue.

And, after all that?

Less a work of art than a little order shimmering through the chaos, I fear.
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But I think, using this as a sort of test version, I could make quite a nice piece so I’m happy with it overall. I won’t use transfers + quilting + an applique method which requires a hot iron together again but all these things will, no doubt, come in useful separately on future occasions :)

Please visit the other members of Four in Art and see their interpretations of this quarter’s theme.

Bette Ayers   Camilla Cathro   Catherine Chisholm

Elizabeth Eastmond   Nancy Myers   Rachel Riley   Simone Bradford

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Happy Sewing!

Janine @Rainbow Hare

I’m linking this post with TGIFF, which is being hosted this week by Summer @ Summer Lee Quilts If you pop over, you will see she has made some adorable baby items :)

And for Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

And at OFF THE WALL FRIDAY

19 thoughts on “Shimmer: VERB [NO OBJECT] Shine with a soft, slightly wavering light.

  1. Kaja says:

    Great post! I loved this theme (and all the varied responses to it) so it is interesting that you felt stuck for so long. But you found a really excellent solution in the end – the perfect quote and such a clever way of interpreting it; you have a unique perspective on things that I very much enjoy.

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  2. Nancy Myers says:

    I am amazed after reading your blog. Your concept of shimmer took a different path from most of us. I love that you used words. And the illustration is so amazing. What did we do before we could google for inspiration? Just wonderful.

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  3. Elizabeth E. says:

    Every time I am stuck on one our themes, I wonder how you will do, for as another reader noted, your quilts are perfect compact narratives. Again, you present to us a perfect little art quilt, fragile yet sturdy and shimmering and evocative, both in the composition and in the execution. I love this one too, like all the rest–you bring so much to our group. Thank you for this wonderful quilt!

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  4. Kim Sharman says:

    You struck gold at the eleventh hour with this quote, Janine.Your creative thought process at the beginning, the middle and the end of the creation of one of your art quilts is always fascinating. It seems to me, the closer your deadline the more imaginative and ingenious your ideas become. I love everything about this quilt, it is shimmering with loveliness. You do yourself an injustice…..it is a most delightful work of art!

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  5. Rachel says:

    This is my favorite! (don’t tell the others) I saw lots of nail polish and makeup as well when I searched. This is brilliant. I think it could be right out of a children’s book. Absolutely lovely.

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  6. Camilla says:

    A beautiful illustration of the idea indeed! I totally relate to the story of the ups and downs of the creative process you describe here too; but so beautifully resolved and rendered in the end!

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  7. simone braford says:

    Oh how this little quilt sings beautiful songs of shimmering bubbles! I agree with you that deadlines definitely are a serious motivator. I do think they aid in inspiration. Your texture and colors work so well together. Their harmony is so fluid. The application of the quote on the quilt looks perfect. (can I be in your fan club?…oh, just realized I already am!)

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  8. Betty Ayers says:

    A little order shimmering through the chaos is what we really need right now so to that point you nailed this one!!!! I absolutely love everything about this piece and yes, she must be hung for you to revisit. Sometimes I find I really do better when pushing the deadline to the limit and this challenge was one of the toughest yet! Great job.

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  9. Sarah says:

    This is beautiful!!! I love your thought prossss and can relate to deadlines pushing us out of our comfort zone (and the mad googling for inspiration!) please tell me she is being framed and hung on a wall so she’ll be seen all the time!

    Liked by 1 person

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