Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Despite moving house last year I did manage to finish a memory quilt called "Kayne's first 21 years", which I made for the son of dear friends of ours, part of our ex-Mt Isa "mob" as I call them. At Kayne's 21st birthday party everyone was given a signature square (siggie square) and asked to write a message on it with a black permanent marker.

After a lot of research (ordering special edition quilting magazines and books in from the United States on memory quilts) I eventually came up with my own design. I chose the red, white and blue colourway because Kayne is a very patriotic young Australian fellow and because he has a tattoo on his back of the outline of the Southern Cross constellation of stars (which feature on the Australian flag) on his back. Now, that is patriotic!

Kayne's family is very close and I had so many family photographs to choose from, that is was hard to leave any out. The photos in the corners and along the borders of the quilt (staggered to avoid being creased when the quilt was folded) are all of places where Kayne has lived: Mt Isa, Gracemere, Wondai, Perth and Caloundra.

It took me ages to make the quilt for Kayne ... a bit over two years and I felt guilty every time I would see Kayne or his parents. At least for a while I could blame the house move ...

I added a "God square" to the quilt, because both Kayne's mother and I are religious (well, in my case, not so much religious as a "pray-er", I can't say that I go to church). So I followed what I understand of the Amish tradition of deliberately adding a "mistake" square into the quilt. Their belief, from my understanding, is that only God makes perfection.
On the right-hand side border, I quilted in the Soutern Cross constellation of stars in reference to Kayne's tattoo, which I thought added a nice personal touch to his quilt.
Kayne is now 23 years old and I gave the quilt to him just before last Christmas. I wasn't too sure how Kayne would like his quilt, but I need not have worried, as Kayne just kept on repeating, "Oh, I did not think that it would be as good as this!" And then, he would apologise to me for thinking that! But ... I understood what he meant!
One of the reasons, well, really the main reason why the quilt took me so long to make was that I suffer tremendously from a lack of confidence in my own work. I can picture in my mind what I want my finished quilt or piece of work to look like but then it is translating it into the finished piece of art that I have problems with. I constantly doubt my ability to translate what is in my mind into reality! I can be like this with a quilt or piece of quilted art for weeks or months or even years! I wonder how other quilt artists deal with this lack of confidence ...


The little book of Nessie said...

Good on you for starting your blog. Love the quilt. It takes time to learn how to do things but I am sure your on your way there.
Regards, Nessie

tisme said...

I am in the learningfa with you. I think you did a tremendous job on your blog.
BUT, I love that quilt. It is awesome. And you are right about the Amish saying, so what a great thing to do.
I am never sure of my work either!
If I am sending a gift to someone, or had a swap to send, I am a nervous wreck until I hear if they like it. One time I was in an exchange for crazy quilt blocks and the lady I sent to kept coming into the chat area and then leaving. This was after I knew she had recieved it. I thought she must hate my piece and does not want me to see her online! In reality she loved the piece and the chat room kept booting her offline! I actually cried. So I have no advice, just understanding.

Janet Hartje said...

Love your cute little dog! Your blog looks great! Janet

Shirley said...

Such a nice blog Bern- I love the quilt for your young friend.

I think the best way to overcome the 'fear' is to jump in and do what you are afraid of. It sounds silly, but it has worked for me for years. Also don't expect perfection - it never happens. Some of my best work had lots of 'errors' in it. We all feel uncertain when we give a gift, but I figure - once it is given, it is out of my hands so I try not to worry about it. Insecurity is a great part of all of us. We just have to go ahead anyway. Good work!