Saturday, January 06, 2007

Second Time, some improvement

This is a second attempt about 11 months later at making this small art quilt to make a statement about women and heart disease -- inspired by having a stent placed in my heart almost exactly a year ago. Here I've tried to show the "Hallmark valentine" idea of a woman's heart that most of us grew up with and that I think remains pervasive. I want to contrast it with an actual, anatomical heart -- in a real woman's body. The head is covered with the EKG diagram but a head, i.e., peresonality exists along with the abstracts. I'm very disapointed that the light, and perhaps my handling of the camera, doesn't show the hand stitching and that the colors are somewhat bleached. I simply have terrible light in my apartment!

Nearly all the surface work on the new one is hand quilting/applique, even on top of the printed diagram and head. It seemed appropriate for something very personal to have hand sewing instead of machine as in the earlier version. I must admit I am less than enchanted with my efforts even yet but I think it's an improvement.

I had shown the first version to the quilters at a March SAQA meeting and Lisa, the NYC rep, asked, in the summer for it for this year's trunk show from NYC. I was hesitant but flattered. At the December meeting, in the classrooom at City Quilter, this year's pieces were displayed and I disliked my piece. I expected to have time to try to do better over the holidays, and, that was what happened. I've been working on it for a couple of weeks, knowing I wanted to keep the diagram image and the EKG element and that I still like the layering of sheer fabrics since our hearts, both real and metaphoric are usually hidden behind some kinds of layers. I thought a great deal about whether to use any other embellishments, like beads or sequins on the hearts but decided against it. The background fabric which is veined with gold seems to suggest the preciousness of the work the heart does keeping all the arteries and veins of our body supplied with blood.

I'm almost hesitant to show version #1, but I think it's obvious the new one is somewhat better. I think it's also very, very obvious that I am a beginner, a learner and, ah, yes, obviously, a blunderer, that my judgement is not brilliant. An element is possibly that this was a very meaningful event for me -- heart problems run in the family and I fully expect some day to die of heart failure -- but hope to delay that day for a long, long time. Still, so many women worry about cancer and rarely think about heart diseaese although it is the number one cause of death in the US. And women's symptoms are often not taken as seriously as men's, nor are women as likely to have EKGs during general exams as are men. So I very much want to make a statement. I'm just very disappointed that I am very clumsy in what I'm doing. I doubt there'll be a verision #3, but won't rule it out if some other idea/vision comes to me.

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