Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In the Beginning Kay created The Colors Of My Life 1

This is the first quilt in The Colors Of My Life Series which consists of 20 quilts.
I had taken a 2 1/2 hour class from Jan Myers on Intersecting Fields of Color at Jinny Beyer's Hilton Head Seminar many years ago. I loved Jan's quilts made from hand dyed fabrics but didn't want to copy what she was doing. I remained on the island for a week after the seminar with a very limited amount of fabric. My fabrics were printed fabrics. There was no place to purchase fabric on the island so I "made do" with what I had brought - 50 or 60 3 inch strips of fabric.
I arranged them by value and designed on the floor. When I wanted to see what the quilt looked like I ran upstairs to the balcony and evaluated it. When I ran out of a fabric I substituted a similar fabric. I also used the wrong side of some of the fabrics. When I was pleased with what I had done I sewed the squares together. At that point the quilt was 16 squares high and 16 squares wide.
I put it on the design wall when I got home and knew it needed something more.
I added more rows on each side and was finally satisfied with it. The entire process took over a month just to make that decision and addition.

One of the questions I was asked frequently at the show was "How long does it take you to make a quilt like these?
My answer "A lifetime."

There are so many life experiences that go into how we create and what the results are. It's not like following a pattern and making an exact duplicate of something.

Quilts often remain on the design wall for a month or even several months while I am evaluating them and deciding if I am satisfied with them.

After they are sewn into the top, they may go back on the design wall for another long period of time while I make the decision of how am I going to quilt them.

Often they remain there because I am trying to come up with a simpler way to quilt them, but know in my heart they really need a very specific quilting design that is more labor intensive to make them work.

All of the quilts in this series are machine quilted and they are quilted with straight lines of stitching.

This is a case where machine quilting is the best method as these are quilts with strong graphic images. They need the hard edge created by machine quilting.

Hand quilting would soften and spoil the strong lines and shapes I created.

At this point I had no idea this would be a series. It was a year before I worked with the remaining fabrics. I was again on HHI and laid out another piece starting with the fabrics that were left from this quilt. Stay tuned and tomorrow you will see that quilt.

My solo show consists of this series and also the June series.


Exuberant Color said...

I have a checkerboardy one in my head that I am going to work on this spring. Once I get the trays of squares out I usually make more than one. I haven't quilted the last bunch I made from squares yet.

I really like your colors of your life series.

karenfae said...

I have a question - what do you mean when you say some quilts need machine quilting over hand quilting - I'm not sure I understand when you say it needs the hard edge of machine quilting?

Kay Koeper Sorensen said...

If I hand quilted these quilts the line of quilting would dip up and down creating hills and valleys along the quilting line.
This would add a soft line where I quilted by hand.

If I machine quilt the line is all at the same level – which gives a harder (or continuous) edge to the quilting.

I don’t want to do anything that destroys the lines/shapes I’ve created with the color and value placement and piecing.
The design created when I selected the colors to piece the quilt is what gives it the strong graphic images. That is what makes this series so striking and powerful.

Eva said...

It is fascinating how the dark diagonal lines turn into light ones and vice versa. The radiance that comes from this effect is overwhelming.