My friend Taryn has been working hard with the Imagine Main Street initiative to enhance the public image of Manchester, CT, and earlier this spring she asked if I would submit a proposal for decorating a public bench. I submitted a few drawings of benches covered with triangles and diamonds, and I heard back from the committee in late March. John Boyle Decorating donated all of the painting supplies to the participating artists, so I had a little help choosing the brightest color of orange (of course!) paint that the paint store could mix in an outdoor formula. After that, I indulged in a fabric-buying binge to accumulate a nice stack of cheerful picnicky fabrics to chop into little triangles.
On the first Thursday in May my family and I battled the Hartford traffic so I could begin the bench project as a "public performance" activity. That evening was a fun painting session; lots of people who were enjoying the gorgeous evening in Manchester stopped to talk and ask about the program.
|A plaque! With my name! They kind of mixed up my quilting alter-ego with the name of the bench, but I'm good with it.|
|Lots of chatting during the initial painting. NoRA Cupcakes and hula hooping for everyone too!|
A few days later, the organization had the bench delivered to my house so I could work on the decoupage here, far more convenient than repeatedly crossing through Hartford. I chopped up hundreds of little 2 3/4" triangles from the new fabrics and threw in a few others from my Strategic Fabric Reserves to round out the set. The backs of the rails were a little tricky; since I used continuous lengths of the yellow paisley fabric, I had to figure out how to make the appropriate cuts to wrap it around the concrete base pieces. After that, it was just a matter of gluing. I used a bottle and a half of Mod Podge to adhere and seal the triangles, working across one slat at a time.
|Bench in progress.|
|My resident 12yo paparazzo captured the exact moment of the last piece being installed.|
|Manchester's "quilted" bench!|
|Manchester's "quilted" bench -- alternate view|
|Manchester's "quilted" bench -- close-up view of the fabrics|