I’ve been working on another thumbnail quilt. Originally, the piece was to have two appliqués and then I’d fold the fabric in half and stuff a piece of batting between the two layers. I wanted to see not just what the appliqués looked like, but also to figure out how I want to quilt it.
The first draft of the thumbnail quilt:
Like many of my pieces, this will eventually be an autobiographical piece. As I played with the appliqué and beading, I thought about bipolar disorder and how my brain is a whole lot different from the usual brain. My brain has a mind of its own. Moods frequently have nothing to do with how I feel or what is happening around me. When I’m above center, I’m loud, unrestrained, and I feel as if a hurricane blew in when I enter a room. When I’m below center, I want to be a hermit. I withdraw. I pretend I don’t hear people so I don’t have to respond to them. My intention was to show both above and below center in a quilt.
But then I got to thinking…… What if I tried to show not just the extremes, but the places between center and each extreme. What would those places look like?
I decided I didn’t want to fold the fabric in half. I unfolded and added two more leaves.
I took out the veins for one leaf, and put subdued beads and veins in the other leaf. I don’t usually use black thread for quilting, but I like how it looked and I couldn’t find another color that I liked as well.
I needed some quilting to fill in around some of the leaves so I used a template for a smaller leaf. I’m not sure if I like it. I had intended the appliqué leaves to be gingko leaves, but that’s one leaf that I have trouble drawing. I chose a gingko leaf because gingko’s are considered to be one of the oldest species of trees. I’m not sure how that relates to bipolar disorder. I haven’t decided if I like the ambiguous shapes. I’m not sure this quilt says what I want it to say.
As for the Tree of Life quilt, I was astounded by the variety of responses. People saw everything from a tree of life to sad and depressed. Through that, I learned that art speaks to people on a deep, inner level. Whether you see what I saw or not, you do see what you need to see in any given piece.