Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kathy's Daydream: "Dream Catcher"

 The first thought that came to my mind when we received the "Daydream" challenge was something we'd often see in Alaska that represented the spiritual world in the Native Alaska culture.   "Dream Catchers" are available in many of the local shops throughout Alaska; the most sought after are those made by Alaska Natives (any of a number of Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, Athabaskan, etc. tribes), and other resident artisans.    Dream catchers incorporate beautiful natural materials, and often have what appears to be etherial-type webbing that represents catching (encapsulating) the dream.   Another "daydream" type structure is the Mandala, and it was from these two concepts that I made this quilt.
"Dream Catcher"  Overview
I traced my image from a Mandala coloring book, selected 7 fabrics, layered them on top of each other, then machine stitched the Mandala pattern through all 7 layers of the fabric.  I removed the paper pattern, then with my smallest (and sharpest) scissors started cutting away layer after layer of fabric to reveal the color I'd assigned to each section of the mandala.  This mandala in many ways reminds me of a stained-glass window!  I used a technique developed by one of Alaska's premier artists, Susan Schapira, called "Contemporary Reverse Applique."  This technique involves cutting and removing the fabrics from the top down rather than applying (or appliqueing) fabrics on to the top of a base fabric.  In this case, my top fabric is black.   After the cutting was finished, I free-motion machine quilted this piece using 30 wt. black rayon thread on the top, and 60 wt. mono-filament thread in my bobbin.   Starting from the center motif, I used a radiating type stitch that represents motion and movement.... perhaps the ascension of the dream into the heavens. 

"Dream Catcher" Back of Quilt


  1. Beautiful, Kathy! And the construction of this piece demanded such precision! The back is lovely too. It looks to be painted. Am I right?
    I clicked on each to feast my eyes on your always-outstanding machine quilting!

    1. Yes, lots of precision cutting, and my sharpest little scissors must now go "The Scissor Man" to be brought back to life ! The back of the quilt is a beautiful piece of batik I bought on e-bay a couple months ago... it begged and pleaded to go on the Daydream quilt. I spent a bit of extra time centering the motif with the mandala on the front. The machine quilting is always my reward to myself for having made it through the quilt construction process :-D

  2. Kathy,
    This is wonderful! Thanks for the info on the Dream Catchers. Centering the other design on the back makes a perfect two sided quilt.
    Your quilting is so beautiful! Great Job!

  3. I love this interpretation of the theme and how perfectly the backing supports the front of the quilt

  4. Wow...You really picked up on "dreams" with Dream Catchers! I am in awe of your work...the cutting and stitching. Hopefully it will inspire me!!!

  5. Kath, the dream catcher idea was brilliant and has instilled an entire series to come to mind using different approaches and materials. I miss you living nearby but you continue to inspire my creative ideas! This was quite a labor intensive endeavor and I must say, that backing fabric is to die for! Get your scissors sharpened in time for our next challenge. :)

  6. Love the Dream Catcher, Kathy. And the design on the back make it perfect. Good job!

  7. Kathy, What precise work you did on this piece - from the layering, cutting and then quilting! Stunning result!!

  8. Unique interpretation of our theme, and very cleverly executed using the reverse appliqué technique.

  9. Great quilt! This is definitely something I want to try. And thank you for your sweet comments on my work at Guild last night. Isn't this fun?