This is called Autumn of My Life with Double Self-Portraits. One cannot be in the mid-70s without realizing it is the autumn of her life, even if she thinks there is a possibility of living to 100. So this quilt was complex to make, as my life is now a complex of bright and wonderful elements.
First I wove the background which I've left up on this blog too long, but that was because the making was more complex than I foresaw.
I gathered -- and a friend also helped -- the leaves which I photocopied onto fabric. I also found the full face portrait and Rachel took the profile picture. The leaves, especially the big red maple leaves lost their brightness quickly and the computer's printer did not do a good job either with the color. So I needed to rev up the color with Crayola pastels. I made many arrangements on the background - to which I added the brown batik as border and as backing
Then I realized, as I so often do, that an artistic weakness is my inability to visualize tone of color and what will blend into another, what will stand out. I thought the red leaves in the middle would be a visual draw, but instead they almost disappear into the brightness of the background. But I can say that up close, their complex coloring and even the texture of the leaf is very interesting. I made a little trek across the street to take some small bright red leaeves from a bush I had been admiring. But they, too, refused to photocopy truly red, so I used a hot pink marker which also seemed to fade into the fabric. The yellows worked and I'm pleased that they are also complex with pinks touching them. The green leaves include a purplish pink. All this complexity of both background and leaves is important to me metaphorically as a statement about the life I know which is complex and many colored, more than it ever has been in my life.
The portraits are fused to the background but the leaves "float" held by the embroidered veins, with crewel wool, they are each fused to a solid color backing that gives them body. When I finally had everything in its place it needed some final touches of color, so I was back to my Crayola boxes, especially to touch up the outside edges of the leaves and to add a bit of depth to the faces which had faded into ghosts -- totally inappropriate for the metaphor of the quilt.
The whole is 24x24 -- and, also a usual fault of mine -- it is not precisely square, it is a bit askew -- that too is part of the metaphorical (entirely unplanned and, I think, unavoidable) statement about my life as I know it this autumn ... which, by the way, is probably going to be one the warmest and loveliest (due to, alas!, global warming).
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!