In my last blog post, I started explaining how my art piece about the instinct to protect our children came to life. In that post, you can read all about the inspiration and how I created the quilt with layers of black tulle that include words representing the things we want to shield our kids from. What I didn’t explain in that post was the creation of the figures that represent our family.
Just like in the Web of Guilt piece, I wanted to create three-dimensional figures for this piece that would huddle together in the bottom right. I started with photos of everyone in our family and tried to get the relative heights right in Photoshop. Then, I traced us onto tracing paper. Those outlines were put on two layers of purple batik and I sewed on the line, leaving a small hole for turning.
Once the outlines were done, I used Fray Block to make sure the edges didn’t fray and cut the figures out with a very small seam allowance.
Then it was time to turn the people right side out and stuff them with pipe cleaners and stuffing.
Once the people were stuffed, I realized that I should have used purple thread instead of the white that was in the machine. But a little purple fabric marker helped fix that mistake. And I used purple to hand stitch the hole used for turning and stuffing. At least I learn from my mistakes!
At first, I had made all the figures out of the same purple fabric, but when I put the daughter in the mother’s lap (below left), they blended together too much and it was hard to see the two separate people. So I went back and tried another child in a different fabric (below right). This worked better, but it also meant I needed four different purple batiks, which was harder to find than I thought it would be. After looking at three different fabric shops and raiding my mother’s fabric stash, I had four that worked well enough together and I made new people with the new fabric.
When I put the four people on the quilt with pins, the mom seemed a little too bright for the piece (below left), so I went back to the purple fabrics and chose a darker one and made another mom for the piece (below right).
Once I had the right four people (and the extras that my daughter likes to play with when she comes into the studio), I arranged them huddled together in the white space of the quilt where the darkness cannot reach them and hand stitched them in place.
And the piece was done! Except for a title. I’m still struggling with a title. Do you like “Shielding our Children” or “The Protective Instinct”?