I planned early on to use the Chinese characters for harmony--printed, painted, or appliquéd onto my background fabric. Perhaps use them with the ancient Taoist Yin-Yang symbol. But how to integrate the images? Then I found some lovely Asian fabric, featuring Koi. My brother had once had Koi in a pool in his replica of a Japanese garden, so why not mix Chinese and Japanese symbols? The curves in the bodies of the fish seemed to echo the curves of the Yin-Yang. So I sketched a Yin-Yang and cut out two fish. The Koi fit neatly inside.
I was eager to try sun printing. So for the background I painted some PFD fabric with two different blue acrylic paints and mixed in a bit of black. Using freezer paper, I traced the Chinese characters and then cut stencils from craft foam. Placing the stencils on the painted fabric, I waited for the hot Texas sun to do its magic. I cut out the Yin-Yang from coral and turquoise fabric scraps. I first appliquéd it down onto the background, and then the two printed Koi, using a tiny zig-zag stitch. Broderie Perse appliqué, in other words: another technique I’ve always wanted to try!
I machine quilted around each of the Chinese characters and quilted concentric circles around the Yin-Yang symbol and concentric arcs in three corners. I used the pillowcase method for finishing the quilt. I've struggled with a name for my quilt; I finally settled on "Asian Harmonies."