Friday, May 3, 2013

Café leisure II

Two weeks ago I had hitched a ride with my husband into town to go to a doctor’s appointment, but then had to wait in the café a little while for him to pick me up.
As I was drinking tea and waiting I started thinking. I am member of a quilt group who publishes a calendar every year, and the theme for next year’s calendar is ‘light’. Except for the first time that I participated in the calendar production, the year after I joined the group, I have unfortunatley always had a bit of a problem with the topics that get chosen as a theme. One was ‘recipes’, which seemed to suggest a much more pictorial realization than is my usual approach to quilting. Last year’s theme ‘pairs’ had to be made while I was sewing for Ste. Marie-aux-Mines and left me totally uninspired before that exhibition was over. In the end, I think I did a good job with both of these topics, but they took their time to develop.

This year’s production had to be finished much earlier because the quilts are supposed to be shown in the upcoming exhibition of the group in May. To my surprise, again inspiration failed me, although ‘light’ is a very important topic in my life. Perhaps my negative experiences with ‘Illuminated’ had an influence on my mind, suggesting that this was not a good topic to deal with in quilts for me? I don’t know. (‘Illuminated’ has been removed from Beyond Comfort and is on its way back home, and I am still hoping to be able to revive it, but that’s another story.)
The café, however, helped release a bit of creativity, which had been simmering but not managed a breakthrough yet. A while ago I had bought some reflector fabric, as used in security clothing for outside workers like garbage collectors, or on safety vests for small school children, thinking that I would incorporate it in the quilt.
But how? An enlarged version of historic East German pedestrian traffic lights?

East German pedestrian traffic lights are different...

... and they come in a female version, too.

Not exactly original, really.
Give it another try with an LED-string, so that the lights would be reflected by the fabric? Problematic, because I would have to figure out a way to deal with the LED-string without integrating it too closely with the entire quilt to avoid another mishap like the one with Illuminated, which might be ruined if I have to exchange the entire string of lights.
In the days before the café I had at least got to the point where I had decided that I was going to do something on the saying “Wer als letzter geht, macht das Licht aus” (the last person to leave, turn off the lights).
Should I machine stitch the sentence onto the quilt in the colours of the rainbow? Nice, but how many people would actually associate this with ‘light’?

Finally I decided to cut the letters of the sentence from the reflector fabric and appliqué those onto the black background fabric that I had set my mind on long ago. This already felt like The Fall  – because I usually don’t like or do appliqué. Perhaps it’s the influence from so many people in England doing it? Who knows.
Although I don't usually do appliqué, I had bought
a special foot for the 820 recently - nothing is coincidental in life,
you know.

Alternating between background and foreground letters.

But I also really wanted to have some light source included. The problem was how to integrate light into the quilt without it turning too silly, too tacky, and, especially important, too vulnerable. Of course it would have been fun to have a light switch somewhere on the quilt so that viewers could turn on and off lights which would then be reflected by the reflector fabric. But I didn’t want to invite people to touch the quilt. And a cord would have put even more strain on the quilt or on the hanging. Of course, reflector fabric is most effective if you look at it in a dark situation with a light source directed at it. How could I put the quilt inside a black box and yet give people a chance to look at it, with a light source directed at it? We have two dark blue fabric storage containers in the basement, which I had wanted to throw out repeatedly because we were not using it. Perhaps this is finally the moment of glory that they have been waiting for? Now all I need is one of those flashlights with a turning handle that only light up when you are actually turning the handle, thus producing energy.

What you can't see...
is the 'aus' ('off) in the
lower right hand corner, stitched in black.

The exhibition opens next week Thursday, in the Old Jail in Freising.

Entrance to the former guard's apartment,
where the exhibition will be on display.

Come and have a look, it's pretty close to the Munich airport!

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea-I love the way it turned out! Your design is wonderful.