I was honored to be invited to participate in the inspiring exhibit “Better World,” the brainchild of Susan Brubaker Knapp and Lyric Kincaid. We were each asked to create a piece honoring a hero – someone who works to make the world a better place, often without regard for their own wellbeing.
While I have several personal heroes, the one(s) who are closest to my heart are the selfless volunteers, vets and vet techs who go above and beyond to save the most vulnerable creatures among us. This time last year, an event of unimaginable cruelty was followed by a human chain of goodness and love that saved our Loki. I often think of him as, with apologies to JK Rowling, the kitten who lived…thrown from a moving car into traffic at 4 months of age. Two good samaritans ran into traffic and scooped him up…the animal control officer swiftly transferred him to the care of a no-kill shelter…a veterinarian treated him and a vet tech took him home with her for a week to begin to heal. (My friends know that, not only did he recover full use of all of his legs, he now rules the house and moves like lightning.)
With this in mind, I decided on a silhouette of a human figure representing a vet or vet tech, a cat, and a silver table to indicate an examination table. First steps as always, MistyFuse the fabrics…for the healing human, I chose one of Carol Eaton’s stunning hand-dyed pieces, planning to position the glow of orange toward the healer’s face.
Next, the feline. I tried to work with several of Loki’s pictures but could not get the right position, so I turned to my other favorite model who provides endless poses 😉 and whose silky black coat would be a better foil for the human figure.
Procreate has become my best friend for designing quilts…I was able to trace Jackson’s outline in a separate layer, isolate that layer and then work with another app to size him up. Black dupioni silk was the only choice for him :).
As he is quite…monotonal…I added an additional layer of batting to give him a bit more dimension before layering the quilt layers. For the table, I used a fantastic product sold by Cheryl Sleboda on her cosplay website – PowerShine Foil, a heat-activated shiny foil that comes in silver and gold. (If you have not tried this, DO! It is very easy to work with, stitch through and provides very cool effects.
Next, the quote. This line from the Talmud is one of my favorites and seemed perfect for this piece. To transfer the lettering onto my quilt top, I used the freezer paper resist method: cut out the letters, press onto the fabric, brush acrylic ink over the area with a large flat brush, then (after it’s dry!!) lifting off to reveal the lettering. SO much fun…and my time to nag you again – if you have not taken a class with Judy Coates Perez on working with acrylic inks, put it on your to-do list!
Peeling is definitely the most fun part! For the tiny pieces of freezer paper, having the best tweezers is key – I adore the ones sold by Heidi Proffetty on her website for delicate operations.
Because this piece was about the message and the strong silhouettes, I passed on my usual heavy thread painting style, and took a minimal approach.
Heartfelt thanks to Susan and Lyric for an incredible project!