Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Color Journals: Mustard for Marlene

For our round-robin book project this month, I had to make a page for Marlene, who chose the color "mustard" and asked everyone to use an old black-and-white photo (from a selection that she provided in her package, already printed onto fabric) to "tell a story" of some type. I will confess that for this project, I find it more difficult to work when there is both a color and a theme. It took most of the three weeks for me to choose which photo to use. Eventually I decided on one with a scholarly looking gentleman pointing to an open book: literacy and reading seemed like a good story to tell, particularly for a book project like this one.

I began with a miniature "bookshelf" quilt segment to run across the top of the page. I pulled out some very interesting bits from the pile of fabric strings (defined by me as anything thinner than 1.5") that are neatly pressed and piled in a corner of my space. I added a wide bit of upholstery pleather with the intent of making a set of encyclopedias, and a fussy cut globe from the explorer fabric leftover from making my kids' bedroom curtains years and years ago.
Bookshelf section - before quilting
By the end, the set of books was my favorite part of the whole project:
Detail of encyclopedia set after quilting and embellishment
The next thing I did was to find an appropriate quote (from Frederick Douglass, uncredited except here on this blog), and to digitize a font so I could use my embroidery machine for most of the wording. I used a dark gold thread on a perfect mustard scrap of Sahara Cloth, which has a lovely suede-like feel to it and looks like a hand-dyed fabric. I used most of this piece last year for my sister's quilt, but I had just enough leftover for this page.
Machine embroidered text on sahara cloth
Next I used some parchment colored fabric to make a folded booklet, with a cover made from another scrap of the same upholstery pleather lined with a print that looks exactly like a marbled endpaper.
Book within a book (front cover)
Book within a book (endpapers)
I filled the book with relevant quotes by authors ranging from my favorite Rilke to Dr. Seuss.
Book within a book (text view)
At this point, I still didn't really know how to incorporate the photo, so I just decided to crop it down inside a hexagonal frame. I used a decorative stitch to applique the piece within the framework of the embroidered quote.
Hex frame for photo.
To finish it off, I appliqued the last two words of the quote, meander quilted around the hex and the book, then added some beautiful gold freshwater pearls around the stitching on the photo frame and a doodad from an old necklace clasp as a "pocketwatch" on the photo.
Finished page for Marlene, front view
For the back, I stitched out the book Urban Threads' Dark Fairytales collection, then trimmed it down to a hex shape. I cut 1, 2, and 4" triangles, diamonds, and one jewel shape in a variety of gold and mustard scraps to complete the 14 x 15" page size. I like the back of the page even better than the front.
Finished page for Marlene, back view
Detail view of embroidery and triangle piecing
Next up: A blue page for Lesa's "ocean" journal. So many ideas for this one, the challenge will be narrowing it down to just one!

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