My latest piece in the Special Olympics series was inspired by Adrian, an athlete I coached for about 6 years as part of the Manhattan gymnastics team. Adrian has a way of making everyone smile – especially at competitions. It was at the end of my first year coaching this team, at the State Games, that I discovered Adrian’s love of music and dance. At the victory dance following two days of competition, Adrian headed right for the dance floor and didn’t leave until the music stopped and it was time for bed. In this piece, I wanted to emphasize this joyous feeling of being one with the music.
Using the image on the left as a guide, I turned his “ta da” stance after a good vault into more of a dancer and created a silhouette out of red music fabric. (Red is his favorite color.)
Next, I created the backdrop from two different music fabrics. In the white background, I free-motion quilted G-clef symbols and other designs in red thread. And on Adrian’s figure, I had fun with free-motion quilting in black thread.
It was then time to figure out how to quilt the black floor to make it look like tiles. I took a picture, printed it out 4 times on one sheet of paper, and used a pencil to experiment with four different vanishing points for the tile. Once I had selected one, I found the approximate place on the real piece and used chalk to draw the lines I would then quilt in black thread.
The piece still needed something and I really wanted to get across Adrian’s love of sports. I found fabric with different sports equipment and cut out basketballs, baseballs, and soccer balls to use as musical notes (below left). Unfortunately, the balls got lost in the black and white background and just didn’t seem to be working. So I replaced them with musical notes cut out of the same black fabric from the floor, which worked much better in the composition. Now it’s on to the next athlete!