The Greatest Show on Earth!

Welcome to Rainbow Hare!

Today, for one post only, I would like to introduce to you: The Greatest Show on Earth!

I will speak of no circuses, no smoke and mirrors, no conjurer’s tricks (and absolutely no animation!).

Today, I would like to share with you the Awe, the Wonder, the Amazement, the MAGIC of ‘Light in the Darkness’.

Before we go any further, I should mention that this is not The Greatest Show on Earth. This is just a little piece of Quilt Theatre and it is my tribute to The Greatest Show on Earth – and my offering for today’s Four in Art reveal. Our theme for this year is ‘Light’ and the sub-theme for this quarter is ‘Light in the darkness’. Our aim, as always, 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”.

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If you will bear with this eccentricity (for one post only), I will show this quilt as a slideshow as that seems to me to be the easiest way of displaying it (You may have to visit my actual post to see the slideshow as I don’t think it will show up in an email) and then share the inspiration behind this piece.

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The photo above is meant to show how I made flaps on the quilt and folded them over to reveal the pictures but it doesn’t do that very well :(

This quilt was inspired by Black Light Theatre, which I first encountered on a trip to Prague, where I had the wonderfully good fortune of seeing the The Wow Show. The person I was with thought it looked silly and was just something for children so, for the first time in my life, I went to the theatre by myself. When I say ‘theatre’, it was a shabby old building with peeling paint that reminded me of your average village hall and, as I sat waiting for it to begin, I did wonder if it really was going to be as good as I’d hoped. Then we were plunged into the darkest of darkness and it began and all at once we were transported into another world. A parallel universe of wondrous, beautiful, bizarre and delightful scenes where any expectation was simultaneously surpassed and confounded. Where expectation itself became obsolete, being too much rooted in ordinary, mundane, everyday things.

And, unlike most ‘magic tricks’, which make us gasp in amazement but become entirely ordinary when we learn how they were done, I found knowing that the whole effect was caused by a particular way of costuming dancers and lighting the performance made the whole thing even more incredible! One day, I would love to see Aspects of Alice…Here is a clip.

I hope you have enjoyed these clips. If you have yet to experience Black Light Theatre in real life, I must tell tell you that wonderful as they are, they are the merest shadow of seeing this extraordinary art form live and, should you ever visit Prague (or anywhere else with similar performances) I would entreat you to visit and I’m quite sure you won’t be disappointed :D

In the meantime, 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

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

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

A few of my favourite things…

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It’s time for this year’s Whims and Fancies Trunk Show

Online Quilt Trunk Show | Whims And Fancies

…and I decided I would share a few of my favourite things that I’ve made – a selection of my small quilts/wall hangings. I am always a bit daunted by the term ‘Art Quilt’ and, as my little quilts tend to be very much inspired by stories, I think of them more as fabric illustrations. The quilt above is called ‘Sasanka: Marked with the Hare’ and in its original post you can find out why the Hare in the Moon is an important figure in the ancient stories of India, China, Africa and the Celts.

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This next one is “An Old Man and the Sea’. I first introduced him in the post ‘I Saw a Fish!’ His main claim to fame is that he was featured in Home Maker Magazine! His story, such as it is, can be found in the post of the quilt below, ‘Magical Midwinter Quilt: The Words Edition’.

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This next quilt, ‘Corn Goddess’ still lives in my kitchen by the clock and was inspired by the story of Demeter and Persephone.

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And, finally, this recent quilt is a sort of illustration of  Do Re Mi from The Sound of Music, which I made in response to a challenge theme of Colour + Music. A post, which, hopefully, makes more sense of the various items in the picture can be found here.

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I hope you will join Soma’s Trunk Show and visit the other entries. You can also link up knitting and there are lots of fabulous prizes :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare