Every year our MIX group comes up with a theme for an exhibit in Portland. These exhibits then travel to other venues throughout the years. The theme for 2021 is “As I See It” and we could add anything we wanted to that phrase, before or after.
I decided on the title and theme “2020 – As I See It”
The year 2020 was a year of isolation, confusion, helplessness and pain, a year we do not want to repeat but also a year we should not forget.
I made this quilt with the pandemic in mind, thinking of its effects on the world and on each and every one of us. It is a quilt that I will keep for myself as a reminder to not take anybody or anything for granted.
I love to create architectural quilts of places that make a strong impact on me. Last year I also learned new skills inside and outside of my studio. Inside my studio, I learned to inset circles! I tried just about every technique I found in books, on YouTube and in blogs, and when I finally settled on the one that worked for me I made many blocks that ended up in a large children’s quilt.
So, I was ready to start my “2020 – As I See It” quilt with measurement requirements of 18”w x 40”h
My plan was to create a world in isolation, places in a bubble. The 18x40 measurements were a challenge that made the placement of those bubbles a bit tricky but then I also discovered that they could fall off the quilt, and half or partial circles were ok too. The next task was to decide which places were going in the bubbles and after going back and forth a million times I finally settled on Portland-OR, a street in France, La Boca-Argentina and a village in Venezuela. I started with a few simple sketches mainly for size and proportions.
The street in France was my first attempt followed by a grouping of houses in La Boca. Once they were pieced, I either folded or used paper templates to audition the design.
Next came Portland, a view of the city from the Ross Island bridge going from East to West, with the Tilikum Crossing bridge in the foreground. I knew I wanted to include the Koin Tower because of its interesting shape, and Big Pink. A fabric that I created during a Resist workshop with A Stitch in Dye was a perfect candidate for a yellow building.
For the Tilikum Crossing I had in mind couching a few white strings over Portland, later. Next, came a village in Venezuela with whitish houses and colorful windows.
As I finished it and auditioned the entire piece, something didn’t seem right. After staring at it for some time I decided that France was lacking the playfulness that the other bubbles had, it was too serious. What to do? I decided to send France home and bring in Portugal with the city of Porto.
The colors and shapes looked much better and it seemed more coherent.
Now that I had the places built, it was time to inset them in circles. I chose one large piece of fabric and proceeded to insert every circle, or half circle using a combination of methods described in Marie Joerger’s Circle Tutorial and in a book by Dale Fleming called Pieced Curves So Simple.
The cities/villages are slightly tilted to represent the confusion during most of the year and the many times contradicting “best practices” put in place by health organizations all over the world.
I usually decide on the quilting while I am piecing and I knew that this one required every circle to have its own quilting and then something that connected them all. My initial plan was to quilt houses in the background but I realized that there wasn’t enough room for this and it would have been way too busy. So I settled for matchstick quilting with dark thread representing the many modes of communication during this past year: Zoom, WhatsApp, Google Meet, Google Hangouts, messaging, Signal, Telegram … and so many more!
The little circles you see floating in between are a special request from our daughter, the scientist, who researches Viruses at OHSU and has kept us up-to-date with developments. They represent COronaVIrusDisease-2019.
Here is my final piece, "2020-As I See It"
2021 is looking promising as we slowly come out of our caves and start rebuilding lives and places. We (my husband and I) look forward to soon re-establishing our Tuesday-with-the-grandkids day and I am dying to teach face-to-face workshops again.