“Strong” is a wonderfully inspiring theme for a quilt. My first inclination was to use the image of a tree. Trees are very strong. I could see the huge oak tree in my father’s yard, the windswept trees clinging to a cliff or canyon wall, or the willow tree that bends with the wind. However, while I was considering the tree, we had an ice storm. It wasn’t a horrible ice storm, but it coated the limbs and broke several. Three fell on the studio roof. Many trees around town fell over and quite a number of people were left without electricity. It made me think about water. Water created the Grand Canyon and many caves. The giant Mississippi River continues to be a force to be reckoned with each spring. The frozen water can break the trees.
I had an experimental piece on my design wall begging to be finished. I started with canvas as a backing. At the time I was interested in multidimensional work, so I used alpaca fibers and yarns for the batting. It was not real batting. On top I used scrim/cheesecloth. The stream is dyed cheesecloth. I machine quilted the background minimally to take advantage of the texture in the “batting”. Then I painted the background with the gold and purple. I added some hand stitches and beads. The beads can be drops of water or pebbles in the stream. After trimming the piece to 12 x 12, I tried finishing the edge with black zigzag stitching; but I didn’t like that. I put silk ribbon over the stitching that pleased me. The silk is that scrappy sari silk ribbon that is cream colored.