Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wherever the Four Winds Blow - A Commissioned Memorial Quilt

I recently had the honor of creating an original art quilt as a memorial tribute to Harold Myers, commissioned by his daughter Lauren. It was such a wonderful process. I first met with Lauren last summer to look over the materials, which were her father's silk shirts and ties, and to talk to her about who he was and the things that inspired him in his lifetime. He loved mandalas, and she had several that he had sketched. He had collected some beautiful silver pieces with lovely engravings. Paisleys were a common motif in his ties. The number 33 was significant to him. He was also an extraordinary musician, a concert pianist, and what was especially inspiring to me was the CD of his performances that Lauren gave me to listen to as I worked on the quilt. That is a CD which I treasure and will listen to often!

After pondering all of the things Lauren shared with me about his life and her memories of him, I created Wherever the Four Winds Blow, named (with permission) after one of his original musical compositions.

I created the design on my computer using my AutoCAD program, largely to simplify the process of repetition and spacing of the various motifs. A unique feature of the design is that every measurement within the quilt ties back to the number 33 or some division of it, and the overall size is 33" x 33". Another nice thing about using my CAD program was the ability to copy elements and offset them to get the seam allowances. (I would guess that EQ does that too, but my background is architectural design so I use what I have and know :) 

The ties were deconstructed and backed with fusible stabilizer and the elements of the quilt pattern were printed onto card stock to use as templates:

I also used printouts without the seam allowance as templates for pressing under the edges of each piece. Oh yes, the entire portion of the quilt within the circle is hand appliqued with silk thread. That was a lot of little stitches!

Once I got to the background and borders I was able to machine piece, still using silk thread.

One of the other unique features of the quilt is the inner border, which is a custom fabric printed with a musical score composed and handwritten by Mr. Myers. I'm not showing any close ups of that to protect it from any would be copyright infringement out there in cyber land, but it turned out really great!

I tried to keep the quilting fairly simple to show off all of the beautiful fabrics and make the paisley motifs stand out. In the background I used a metallic silk thread to quilt a filigree-like stipple, to honor his silver collection.

In the many hours that I worked on this project I feel like I got to know a remarkable man and someone who was quite a kindred spirit. I was very pleased to present the finished quilt to Lauren when she was in town for the holidays!


Lauren said...

Thank you for the beautiful quilt, Karen! It is a treasure. Over the holidays I was able to show it to many family & friends who were blown away by the artistry & beauty of it. It's so interesting to hear about your behind the scenes process, too! You were great to work with -- you took a real interest in getting to know about my dad as a person, you sensitively handled the precious materials I entrusted to you, and you were professional & timely the whole way through. Thank you!!

LynDee said...

That is a wonderful quilt and the process you shared just as wonderful. Quilters do great work!

Laura said...

Hello- I love that you put so much thought into this quilt! What a great memorial for Lauren to hand down through the generations. I was very impressed with your work. Thank you for sharing. -Laura (via quiltart)

Roxane said...

What a journey! Nice job!

Nancy said...

Great way to create a memory of a very special person. You have created a treasure. Nancy