August 1st was our most recent reveal over at The Endeavourers blog and, if you haven’t done so already, I would encourage you to hop over and see the wonderful array of art quilts the group has made in response to this quarter’s challenge.
Usually we have a group theme for the quarter but, this time, we were each allocated someone else in the group to send an inspiration package or prompt to and we each had to make a quilt based on the package or prompt we received. And so it was that on one of the darkest most joyless days in the midst of lockdown, when covid deaths were at their height and doubling every three days, I was lucky enough to receive this wonderful package from Ruth.
I don’t think I could have received a nicer and more uplifting inspiration package. The fabric is fun, Labradors have a special place in my heart (as I grew up with one and we also recently had one for fourteen years) and I adore notebooks. But my biggest inspiration was the beautiful card Ruth designed and the message she wrote about greeting each day with positivity and choosing joy over stress.
I decided at once to make ‘Choose Joy’ my motto for the quarter and to use that as the inspiration for my quilt. The stickers also made me think of automata (which I love but have never attempted to make) so I decided to try to incorporate something fun and moving into the quilt.
As usual I had the grandest of plans but it turned out that automata making isn’t so easy as it looks! And, although I was worried it was cheating, with the deadline looming, I finally bought a kit, which claimed it should take an eight year old about an hour.
I take my hat off to that genius eight year old.
By the time I had got it all together and working and covered the dog with wadding and fabric (and made accommodations for the extra thickness by begging cocktail sticks from my mother) I concluded that the kit would have been cheating if it had been a woodwork challenge but for a quilt reveal it was only an elaborate embellishment and a very time consuming one at that. For the ears and tail I used scraps of leather from a purse with a broken clasp that I have been keeping for a long time in case it turned out to be useful for something.
I decided to make the main quilt in the style of an altered envelope incorporating some of the things that have brought me joy during the pandemic. The envelope represents mail in general, whilst the present shows my package from Ruth and the dog represents all the dogs I have ever owned, who have taken such joy in running and leaping and exploring the world with unshakeable enthusiasm and optimism.
One of the stamps is The Endeavourers badge to celebrate the joy of being in this lovely group and I have also included a lighthouse because, despite its trials, my lighthouse making has given me a project to focus on, especially during the time when we couldn’t even see family members, and there’s nothing I like more than pondering and planning and problem solving a project. I set it aside to make this quilt but I can’t wait to get back to it.
And, last but not not least, the date in the postmark celebrates the birth of my first grandchild.
I mounted this quilt on a piece of hardboard and, somewhat precariously, balanced it so the dog can run in front and, as a joyful finale, my eldest son and his wife visited us and helped me make a video of it with music.
I am very thankful to Ruth for her inspiration and to Adrian and Malina for their filming and audio skills.
I’m planning to keep “Choose Joy” as my motto for the rest of the year, maybe the rest of my life…I hope you will too :)
Janine @ Rainbow Hare