Sweet, Sweets Memories

"Sweet, Sweets Memories", 24" x 16", mixed media on fiber, 2014

"Sweet, Sweets Memories"

February 22, 2019

This was made for a quilt guild challenge with 'My Hometown" as the theme. We were given a 4"x 42" strip of green fabric and needed to have it enter and exit the sides of the quilt at the same level. (Each person could decide the best height for her design.) When they were displayed, there was a line of green running through all of the entries.

As I pondered the theme, I sorted through assorted memories and decided on this. Here are the words I submitted with my entry:

"As kids, my brother and I would ride our bikes to the local shopping center to spend our allowance. He was more interested in the baseball cards, but I went for the candy. Sweet, sweet candy...

Okay, I'll have to concede that perhaps the suburban mode of transportation wasn't horses, and that we couldn't actually see the planets in the galaxy. And, well, I suppose the sign maybe said 'drugstore', and probably wasn't in neon. And, yeah, the candy was wrapped.

But, really, who wants to see a boring brick building with cash register candy boxes when I could layer in the experience of penny candy (yes, in jars!) from the country store near my grandparents' place and make this piece a lot more fun?!

It all makes for some 'Sweet, Sweets Memories' (whether they're real or not.)"

Once I had the idea, the next challenge was figuring out to make what I had imagined. I could draw (and did a full scale line drawing as a pattern), but my fiber management skills were very limited. I did a lot of experimenting to determine what materials to use: which pens or paints wouldn't run or bleed and what papers gave the effects I wanted without wrinkling. Then having to figure how to sew the vinyl right the first time, disguise poor sewing technique, how to layer and fuse the background, and finish the back for hanging. 

When experimenting, it is important to label everything so you know what works and if the order of application matters. Here are a few images of some of the practice bits: 

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I spent countless hours mentally assembling this art quilt since most of the steps could not be reversed. The papers (candies) were permanently attached to the single piece of blue fabric with artist medium so they had to be cut the right size, spaced correctly and the "jars" needed to have the appropriate fill level. Vinyl is not forgiving; a hole is a hole. Plus, I was doing the back at the same time as the front since I didn't know how else to finish it. (I hadn't yet heard of facing a quilt, but knew I didn't want a traditional binding on it.)

This is a corner of the finished back.

The unsewn stretches of blue fabric are merely fused to the back. Time confirms this is not a good finishing method. Fortunately, this is a purely decorative piece and just hangs around my studio.

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Would I do this again? Of course not, I've already done it.

Did I learn from it? Absolutely yes!

Would it be easier if I did it again? Sure, especially because of all the labeled experimentation bits I still have. 

Would it be better if I did it again? I expect the sewing and fiber construction would be improved since I've learned more techniques and have done more projects since making this 5 years ago.

Every piece of art has a story and a process to get it into the finished form others can see. Hope you enjoyed this sweet one.

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