There hasn't been much, if any, quilting in months. Instead, I've been taking a break to recharge and play with a variety of mixed media techniques: carving, stamping, and gel plate printing. It's always fun to explore new mediums and techniques. I especially enjoyed using my growing collection of hand-carved blocks to print these mandalas. For each new mandala, I challenged myself to combine different stamps to generate all new mandala designs.
SAQA's "Reflections on Spirituality" virtual art call description certianly intrigued me: "What do you do or where might you go when you seek a bit of peace and quiet introspection? Whether in a cathedral or a meadow, with a group of people or expressed in solitude, this exhibition asks makers to share the moments and rituals that nurture their souls and calm their spirit."
Inspiration finally struck 8 days before the July 31st entry deadline. Over the past 2.5 years, yoga has been a wonderful source of peace and strength. As I reflected on my yoga practice, I brainstormed a few different ways to translate this into an art quilt. One wild notion was to incorporate an actual yoga mat into my entry. This presented a whole host of technical questions and concerns which I will share, along with design inspiration, materials, and a bit of troubleshooting required along the way...
I thought it would be fun to incorporate a few smaller mandalas, but I only had one swatch of painted Evolon left. By attempting to fit three smaller mandalas onto the last swatch, I quickly realized they crowded each other and left them unusable. Luckily the Evolon is thick enough that I could turn it over and stamp a larger mandala onto the backside, starting with my favorite of the three mandala designs.
The image was traced onto a piece of Christmas wrapping paper with the white side facing out. I suspected a permanent marker was likely to bleed through the paper onto the walls and so I first started with a pencil and then transferred to a pen. Imagine my surprise when I went to take down the wrapping paper and disovered a technicolor outline of me on the wall! The pencil and pen lines transferred the colors from the Christmas design onto the white walls. While it is difficult to see in the photo below, trust me that it is defintely visible in real life. So now I have some interesting mark-making art in my front foyer!!
- literal translation: "I bow to you"
- an expression of appreciation and respect towards another
- "the divine in me honors the divine in you"
- a greeting: hello and/or good bye
A few of the mandala designs went off the edge of the mandala which required a bit of overlapping. The large purple mandala just above the bent knee was cut off at the top and bottom and really limited my design options. Instead of eliminating it from the design (especially since it was one of my favorites), I painted a larger swatch of Evolon and stamped the design again preserving all the edges!
Each mandala was layered with a fusible batting and free-motion quilted to add stitched texture without detracting from the stamped designs. As a few of the mandalas would float off the edges of the yoga mat, I fused a strip of hand-dyed fabric to that section, and then trimmed the edges of each mandala very close to the stitched line. The raw edges were then finished by applying a thin coat of Tulip dimensional paint (aka Puffy Paint).