When One Door Closes: from sketch to fabric

This quilt has been incubating for a long time, partly because the 2020 show was canceled and partly because I couldn’t settle on a design. The show theme was “When One Door Closes” (after our 2020 show quilts went in waiting for their show). I’d started sketching over a year ago (here). Off and on I’d tried others.

I’d liked the new idea of the diminishing sizes to show the door closing, but was still unhappy with the larger clump of light to show a new opening. I’d also gotten the book from the library on fabric manipulation and pondered possibilities for the light fabric. But when I got the vintage kimono fabric out I decided that texturing would obscure the design, so I shifted away from that idea. Working with various textures of fabric was a good enough new technique for a show that asked us always to try a new technique. Here’s a look at the fabric.

I’d waffled between two ideas for the background. First, inspired by Rothko Chapel, I’d thought of all black or brown with only the textures changing. I wasn’t able to find enough varied same-color-different-texture fabrics to pull that off, so shifted to thinking of a progression from dark to light as the “window” got bigger. I finally decided that the decision would be made after I cut fabric–I’d just rearrange squares till I was happy. I pretty much abandoned the progression for well balanced as I rearranged.

My thinking on the theme evolved too. I’d been thinking along “Another Door/Window Opens,” then shifted to “Dreaming of an Open Window” because another window doesn’t always open. then the ah-ha moment. The title became “Do the Work” as I remembered a response I’d frequently gotten when making excuses for not doing more. And my statement will be something like this: When one door closes, do the work so as to be ready when another opens or maybe even so as to create the door to be opened.

And so the top is now finished.

24 x 36

The greens don’t stand out so much in real life, and of course the textures’ varieties show more. I abandoned controlling some of the shine as the exact angle made so much difference, and in a show the direction of light source will change it too. I figured if they showed up “too” light, they were just windows thought to be opening that didn’t. (I can rationalize most anything.)

I decided to use big stitch quilting/embroidery to signify doing the work and did a tiny test piece to see whether the white batting would bleed through and if I would be able to hide a knot in the tightly woven coat lining I was using for backing.

Luckily it didn’t bleed and the knot could be pulled in. So it would be big stitch quilting not embroidery. The next question is, of course, whether the big stitch will convey the idea of doing the work to anyone but me.

I have until about the 20th of January to finish.

6 Comments

Filed under quilting

6 responses to “When One Door Closes: from sketch to fabric

  1. mlmcspadden

    Love the quilt and your thoughts behind it!

  2. Very creative what you were doing with the When One Door Closes and creating the sense of diminishing light as a door is closing! Sounds like you will be busy with some big stitching!

  3. I love the idea, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all develops.

  4. I love how this evolved! And I like the idea that the next door/window doesn’t open automatically without work.

  5. mlmcspadden

    Love how this is developing. Can’t wait to see it finished.

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