Sandi of Quilt Cabana Corner and I have both completed our snow-dye challenges early--or, at least, we're both close enough to do reveals this week. Mine's completely done--hers is pretty dang close by all accounts.
If you've listened to either of our more recent podcast episodes you'll know the backstory--we're both happy snow-dyers, but often have difficulty deciding how to use the resulting fabric. So we challenged one another to do something that used at least one snow-dye, if not more.
When I took the Designing Art Quilts class with Tina Somerset on Feb 7th (which I talked about in this episode), I came home with a notebook full of sketches and stacks of hand-dyes picked out for several of them. It was so much fun, I knew I just had to stay on that roll!
For one of the exercises in the class, Tina had us listen to a few different songs she'd selected, and we sketched as we listened, making notes of what images came to mind. This is actually something I do periodically in my head when my husband and I go to the Philharmonic, but I can't tote a sketchbook into the theater with me and certainly wouldn't be able to see what I was sketching once those theater lights dim. So images dance in my head and disappear as soon as the piece is over. It was fun to do the same thing when I actually had pencil and paper in hand!
The sketch that ultimately became my snow-dye challenge project is at the left. The song it's based on is "Grace," by Michael Jones on his album Touch (1996--scroll down to find a sample of the song). If you listen to the sample, you'll hear that it's a pretty spare arrangement--lots of air. I kept seeing long rectangles, muted colors, space.
And so, that sketch became "Neume."
The background is one of my recent snow-dyes done with Camel, Old Rose, and Smokey Grey. The rectangles are all my own hand-dyes. This project just kept building--I started with the base rectangles as in my sketch, but then decided they needed more dimension so I did a second layer. I fused the rectangles and did a very simple outline quilting around them. After consulting with my daughter, we decided the best quilting design would be straight horizontal lines, which really sealed the image it had come to represent as it developed--notes on a music staff. The rectangles float over the top of the horizontal lines. I did a faced edge so there wouldn't be any visual barriers on the piece.
"Neumes" is the name given to musical notation that developed in the Middle Ages, the precursor to today's written music. (You can still find them today in some chant music.) Neumes were square and mostly represented ascending or descending pitch, but not necessarily specific notes or rhythm until later in their development. The word "neume" comes from the Greek word for breath, "pneuma." I knew about the square notation but I didn't know what it was named until I looked it up after I had the piece done--the fact that it is related to the word for breath really sealed for me what this piece came to represent--a quiet peace. And so, it became the name of the quilt.
The quilt shop where I took Tina's class is having a quilt show coming up in March--I think I'll be putting this in the show. Now it's time to get to work on some of those other sketches!