Monday, March 17, 2014

Protesters, Sleeping

Five or six weeks ago I saw a picture in the newspaper--said the last guy in San Francisco to actually subscribe to a couple of newspapers--of the protesters in Kiev sleeping on the floor of an occupied government building. It was a big jumble of sleeping bags, blankets, quilts and coats, interspersed now and then with a peaceful face of one of the protesters sleeping. I loved the image, because the sleepers looked so angelic and because the image was mostly blankets! Blankets! I always think of what I am doing as making a blanket, which is why I always make them big enough to sleep under...big enough to wrap up in, against the coldness of the universe. The idea of these dedicated patriots, who were putting their lives on the line, that even they had to just lie down and sleep sometimes, I found unbearably poignant.

So, I decided to make my own picture of the sleeping protesters. With my robotic long arm machine, I could draw the faces into the computer and drop them into the white spaces of my jumbled up fabric. For the rest of the quilting, I studied the barricades and used as many of the same materials as I could, quilting them with free motion on the long arm, all the tires, sand bags, fences and blocks. The firewood and cables. The sticks and rocks.

In a way, the only thing I did was to take the idea of a quilt with alternate plain blocks and make it crazy style. In that way, you can see how this quilt came straight out of traditional ideas. But the quilting would never have been possible without my robotic machine, a Handi Quilter Fusion. I love getting to know it and finding out what it can do. It is a thrill every time I walk into my studio.