While thinking about my Contrast design, I first thought about using my favorite complementary colors—blue/green and red/orange—since complements contrast so beautifully. My first quilt was pretty but too simplistic, a green tree against an orange background, and it didn't have any emotional content for me.
Meanwhile, I read the book THE INVENTION OF WINGS by Sue Monk Kidd. This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Its intricate plot is too complex to summarize here, but it involves the relationship between a young slave girl named Handful, given to the daughter of her owner as a birthday present. This book is all about the extreme contrast between the lives of slaves and that of their privileged, wealthy owners. Thus I decided to base my quilt on this book.
Handful’s mother told her about an African custom of choosing a tree to be a Spirit Tree, and so she and her mother choose such a tree. When they steal a spool of red thread from their owners, they begin to wind the thread around their chosen tree, an act symbolizing the rebellion they feel but cannot express openly. That explains the name of my quilt and why there is red thread embroidered on the tree.
Too, quilts pay an important role in this book. Handful’s mother frequently makes quilts that symbolize the legend that some of their people are able literally to fly to freedom. Her favorite colors are black and red. Thus the background for my Spirit Tree is a mini-quilt of red and black flying geese.
I felt to give further homage to the book, I needed to include some literal wings. And so, superimposed over the tree and the flying geese is an image of a goose in flight. I used a copyright free image, but I agreed to cite the source of the image.* I printed this image onto ExtraOrganza, made by Jacquard.
I fused the green batik tree onto the background with Wonder-Under. I reinforced this with tiny zigzag stitching. I hand quilted using Perle cotton threads, black around the flying geese and red for the thread around the tree and around the perimeter of the background. I made this quilt bigger than usual and then attached it onto a 11” x 14” artist’s canvas. I loved using the new rectangular format!
|a close-up of the goose in flight|
*PS For some reason, Blogger gave me an error message when I tried to do the link. So here is the citation: <ahref="http://www.geekphilosopher.com/GeekPhilosopher.com/photos/photos.aspx" target="_blank">GeekPhilosopher: Instant download of free stock photos, images, backgrounds, and desktop wallpapers. Pictures can be used for personal and commercial web sites.</a>