Tuesday, March 31, 2009

brave new world or going to hell in a handbasket?

i found this the hardest challenge so far - the phrase 'brave new world' has been used so often for so long that it seems to have been drained of meaning. i thought of the original context in the tempest and drew a blank. i thought of course of huxley's novel, of test tube babies, of orwellian futures.

and drew more blanks.

the recycled element of the challenge was easier - i used the back of a jumper i knitted for my daughter that never fitted her. it was taken out of the drawer and felted in the washing machine. the second recycled element was the practice piece of 45 degree squares that i made a couple of years ago after seeing a gorgeous quilt made by annabel rainbow - she explained the technique in a now defunct blog - roughly speaking you sew ribbons along a piece of cloth (or in this case painted interfacing), doing some decorative stitching and then cut across the piece at 45 degree angles - the assembled squares make a mosaic). as it involved maths and pythagoras i found this a painful and brow knitting technique but worthwhile for the result.

i imagined things falling apart and thought of that poem by huxley's contemporary (roughly) william yeats - things fall apart the centre cannot hold. this seemed to fit the zeitgeist with the global financial crisis, the never ending wars, climate change, bushfires and the feeling of imminent apocalypse.

the quilt captures the moment when the rot has well and truly set in - the squares look ordered at the top of the quilt but the free motion quilting is rough and jagged and fade into the disorder below. the squares start to disintegrate and are consumed by the flames below. (although a friend saw it exactly the opposite way and thought that order was being born out of chaos)
techniques - i cut up the 45 degree piece (that was hard), laid the squares on top of the felted jumper, strew chopped up bits of synthetic in various colours, chopped angelina film , sequin waste and ribbon, then laid some red netting from an orange bag (third recycled element), red organza and black tulle over the top and pinned like a madwoman. then free machine quilted with variegated, orange and red rayon thread. i broke 4 needles doing this piece !

then i hopped into it with the heat gun and zapped away. the synthetics melted at different rates and added to the feeling of inchaote uncertainty - you can't really tell what was what.

a good challenge topic and fun to make. lots of detail photos over on flickr

dimensions: 11x18 inches
materials: felted wool, rayons, synthetics, ribbons, painted interfacing, plastic orange bag, Angelina film, sequin waste, rayon and polyester threads

3 comments:

WEST COUNTRY BUDDHA said...

Oh I say! What a powerful piece. I see it as order born of chaos too (like your friend) The flames rise and lead you onto the order in the squares..but there again, I always start a magazine by flicking through from the back, so perhaps I'm not the best judge! Well done also for battling with the maths thing (and thanks for the link!) I'm not sure I can remember this technique any more, so maybe I'll have to come back and ask you for instructions. I have bunnies for you btw.

Ping said...

I read it completely differently! The flames seem liberating to me, untangling the constricting lines of the grid. We have some chaos returning to free us of the strictures of a decade of conservative rule both here and in the States; of greed and obsession with commodities and consumption. There is destruction, but there is also hope and room to grow, which were not allowed by those claustrophobic squares.

Well done, clever sister. What a fantastic piece born of a much overused (and semantically drained) phrase. x

Corryna Janssen said...

This is great! I love the way it seems to fall apart, like a waterfall. The structure and colours are lovely.