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Saturday, March 01, 2008
Back Again
Ok, don't expect DAILY posts because I often just don't have that much too say. And, right now, what I SHOULD be doing is working on my entry for "Quilts in the Garden" in the UK (it has to BE there by April 1st) but I am almost done with the design itself and then have to move on to the quilting so I am taking a quick break. The piece I am making is not for the main theme but is in the "Special Category" the theme of which is "Water." I was sent a piece of "water" fabric to use in the piece. No where did it say how much I had to use but, as it turns out, I ended up using most of it. However, I suspect my piece will not be quite what they were expecting. I am doing a piece in tribute to a wonderful, vibrant young lady by the name of Laura Gainey who was absolutely in love with the sea and sailing. She sailed with various "tall ships" for about 9 years before being lost at sea during a storm off the coast of Cape Cod in December of 2006 at the age of 25. I never met Laura but have spoken to many who knew her and I feel such a connection to her that I had to do this piece. It has been floating around in my brain in a nebulous form ever since I heard about her disappearance. While the fabric I received reminds me more of a garden pond (which I imagine was the intent) I just could not get Laura out of my mind so the fabric will be modified somewhat (they didn't say I couldn't). I gave serious thought to over-dyeing it to make it darker but I thought the manufacturer, who is the sponsor of the exhibit, might not appreciate it and I didn't want my piece pulled. So, I will just add some shadows with tulle and paint/fabric inks. As the piece had to be made especially for this show I don't think I can show it to you but I don't see a problem with showing you pieces-parts (one of the favorite expressions of one of the trauma docs I used to work for) of in-progress work.

The title of the quilt is "The Vagrant Gypsy Life" which is a partial line from the poem "Sea Fever" by poet John Masefield who just happened to have been the poet-lauriet for the UK until his death in 1967. I fell in love with this poem as a small child- I suspect because of 1) my lifelong fascination with the sea and 2) the fact that part of it was quoted by William Shatner/ Captain Kirk on an episode of the original "Star Trek." I don't remember hearing it there but, considering that I NEVER missed an episode of the show when it was originally on, I am certain that is where I first heard it. Years later I searched for it in the library by going thru books of poetry where the first lines of poems are quoted in the index and found it in a book I think was titled "America's Best Loved Poems" which is weird since he was a Brit BUT he did live in the US and I believe the poem was published while he was in the US. Anyway, I have on order from Abe Books a 1916 printing (so first printing) of the book "Salt Water Ballads" in which the poem apparently originally appeared (if Wikipedia is accurate).

I will quote the first stanza here because I am sure many of you have heard it quoted (or misquoted) before. It often appears mistitled as :"I Must Go Down to the Sea Again" but the real title is "Sea Fever:"

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and sky.
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

The last of three stanza's begins:

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,....hence the title of the piece.

Anyway, here are some photos of a part of the process.

Kind of an overall view of what I am up to.

Photo of the "Picton Castle," the ship Laura was on. You might recognize the ship from that "Pirate Master" reality TV show (reality was used pretty loosely there- I never did watch the show- I hate reality shows....I get enough reality in my day-to-day life. The only reality I want on TV is hockey; otherwise I want pure fantasy). Anyway, the photo is being used with the permission of the association that owns the Picton Castle which, ironically enough, has it's home port in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia- about 40 minutes from my home in Chester. And yes, I have seen her in person.

I converted the photo of the Picton Castle to black and white and bumped up the contrast a bit. Unfortunately the body of the ship is in so much shadow that I am having problems "seeing" it- the detail. Now, while I want this to be abstracted I DO what to remain true to the image of a barque (which is the class of ship that the PC is). I have managed to get the number of sails visible correct but I'm just going to have to wing it on some of the details. I do have other photos to reference tho.

Anyway, I then outlined the "crucial" bits with a black sharpie and then taped the picture to my sliding glass doors (because I STILL can't find my light box) and layered a gridded sheet of velum over it; traced the sails and general outline of the ship and then used a highlighter to mark the larger squares out for enlarging. Yes, I could have done a transparency and used my overhead projector but I was not looking for THAT much accuracy and besides, I was too lazy to go down to the basement to use the projector- mostly because I still haven't put up the sheets of ceiling tile on the wall that is my design wall downstairs.....

I then divided a sheet of gridded paper into the needed number of boxes (4 wide, 6 tall) to match the tracing but, of course, the final sheet had larger squares so I was transferring the lines from one sheet to the other one box at a time and this resulted in a larger image. I gave each sail a different color so I could see where they overlapped and also tell what was sail and what was sky. I then referred back to the original photo and made corrections. Then I took another sheet of velum and, after numbering each sail, I traced the sails one at a time to make templates. I have now (not shown) cut out the templates and traced them onto a scoured but undyed/unpainted (ok, it's white) piece of 100% bamboo fabric which I am next going to do some dye painting on and then fuse to some Misty Fuse before assembling the ship on to the back ground/canvas. I refer to it as a canvas because that is what Sue Benner called it when she showed us how to do it in the abstraction class I took from her at AQT. All those 8" x 8" images of sail boats are now being put to good use in the design of this piece.

Thank you Sue!
posted by Teri Springer @ 10:21 AM  
  • At 6:24 PM, Blogger Shirley Goodwin said…

    Hmmm, look forward to seeing this in its entirety! I much prefer artwork that has a story.

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About Me

Name: Teri Springer
Home: Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada
About Me: Studio Art Quilt Associates for the Atlantic Canada Region (New Brunswick, Newfoundland/Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island). Quote:Apples and Wine: Women are like apples on trees. The best ones are at the top of the tree. Most men don't want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they sometimes take the apples from the ground that aren't as good, but easy. The apples at the top think something is wrong with them, when in reality, they're amazing. They just have to wait for the right man to come along, the one who is brave enough & smart enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree. Now Men... Men are like a fine wine. They begin as grapes, and it's up to women to stomp the hell out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with.
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