Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Peace Be With You: Bloggers Quilt Festival

It's time once again for the fabulous Blogger's Quilt Festival. It's always a great opportunity to find new quilty bloggers and see everyone's lovely work.  Many thanks to Amy for hosting it!

Peace Be With you is my entry in the Art Quilt category, and you should click through to see all the other great entries.

I worked on this quilt for most of the spring and summer, but was unable to show final pictures of it because I entered it into a special exhibit called "Festival Gallery of Quilt Art: Just Sayin" at the International Quilt Festival in Houston and they had a rule about not showing the final quilt before the show opened.  Well now it's opened, so I can finally share it!!  For anyone who's able to actually go to the show, you can see it there in person.

Peace Be With You, 48" x 50", c. 2015 Shannon M. Conley

This piece is another one in my series of liturgical quilts, many of which are stylistically linked to illuminated manuscripts or texts.  The composition of this one was inspired by a really glorious piece of Arabic calligraphy.

It started with four tiles I designed earlier in the spring while at a workshop with Jenny Bowker. Once I settled on a composition for the whole piece, I made two more partial tiles to fill in the gaps.

Designing the text to fit in the circular piece was fun.  It's a bit hard to see at first glance, but there are two interlocking rings of text.  The outside of the circle reads "Peace be with you" while nestled along the inside is the response "And also with you".  This is the greeting parishioners exchange with their neighbors during an Episcopal worship service.  The letters are all cut from different synthetic gold fabrics and then appliqued down using a tiny zig zag.  While quilting, I then couched down the Ricky Tims Razzle Dazzle thread to give a little more definition.

One of my favorite parts is the border around the circular/tile parts.  I foundation pieced it using all my shiny gold fabrics and between the foundation (a leave in stabilizer) and the seam allowances under the piecing, it really puffs up nicely.

The background fabric is some sort of slightly stretchy heavyweight polyester apparel fabric, and up close it has a really nice sheen.  Unfortunately, the stretch made it a bit difficult to work with while squaring up/quilting.  The quilting was done free motion, but I did mark some of the patterns first, especially those along the very outer border an in the bottom.  In order to echo the dragons hiding in the tiles, I quilted a dragon in the bottom part.

Though I struggled a lot with this piece (from a practical-accomplishing-it) standpoint, I'm pleased with how it turned out, and I hope the message can serve as a reminder, to me at least, to reach out with kindness to those around me.  I feel like society at large is becoming increasingly polarized, and that my life in particular has been filled with stress and conflict, so that a little patience and peace might serve me well.

Thanks again to Amy for hosting the Bloggers Quilt Festival, and make sure to click through to see the other entries!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ring Around the Ranch: Bloggers Quilt Festival

It's time once again for the Blogger's Quilt Festival!  Many thanks to Amy for doing such a great job hosting it!  You should definitely check out all the other entries.

This is my entry in the original design category.  It was a commission from a couple in Texas who saw my previous mammal mandala quilt at a show in New Mexico.  They loved all the circling animals, that had animals that were meaningful to them.  The center features the brand for their ranch, and the quilt is called "Ring Around the Ranch."  They love it, so I consider it a job well done.  

After the central ranch logo comes a ring of cardinals, one of squirrels and rabbits, then one with deer, horses, and longhorns.  The deer/horses/cattle interlock with rings of chocolate labs and armadillos, and then each corner is finished with a different bird:  the red-tailed hawk, a blue heron, an owl, and a crested caracara.  Finally, the border is flanked with catfish.

One feature I really like is the secondary patterns in the quilting.  You can see them a little bit in the overall picture, but also in some of the detail shots.  Th large nine-pointed star and nonagon in the center (around the robins), and the large arcs that frame each corner.

Ring Around the Ranch, 2014, 57" x 57" c. Shannon Conley

Here are a few detailed shots of the large corner birds.  I had a good time with these birds.  They're one of my favorite parts of the piece.  I think I like the crested caracara (bottom turquoise one) best, but the owls are a close second.   I accidentally melted a couple holes in the solid white background piece, which was a total nightmare, but I was able to patch them with the bo-nash powder and quilt over them.  In the end  you really can't see them at all.  They're right above and below the beak on the left heron.

All the animals have beaded eye or face details.  On some of the larger animals it's more than one bead (to give some shape) although they're quite hard to see in the photos.  My mom said the stray green threads kept catching her eye but when she'd reach up to pluck them off, she'd realize they were catfish whiskers....

Blue Heron Detail, Ring Around the Ranch, 2014, 57" x 57" c. Shannon Conley

Red-tailed hawk detail, Ring Around the Ranch, 2014, 57" x 57" c. Shannon Conley

Crested Caracara detail, Ring Around the Ranch, 2014, 57" x 57" c. Shannon Conley

Great Horned Owl detail, Ring Around the Ranch, 2014, 57" x 57" c. Shannon Conley

Here are a few shots of the areas with most of the overlays.

Detail, Ring Around the Ranch, 2014, 57" x 57" c. Shannon Conley

Detail, Ring Around the Ranch, 2014, 57" x 57" c. Shannon Conley

Detail, Ring Around the Ranch, 2014, 57" x 57" c. Shannon Conley

 And finally, a couple of pictures of the center.  The logo in the middle is their ranch sign/brand.

Detail, Ring Around the Ranch, 2014, 57" x 57" c. Shannon Conley

Detail, Ring Around the Ranch, 2014, 57" x 57" c. Shannon Conley

And here's a picture they sent me of the quilt hanging in their home.  I love the way it looks on the rock wall, and the warm colors in those two brown birds go very well with the bench!
Ring Around the Ranch, 2014, 57" x 57" c. Shannon Conley

Many thanks to the Kanetzky's for supporting my work, and to Amy for hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Progress on Eucharistic Prayer C Quilt

Things have been a bit challenging lately and I've been feeling simultaneously unmotivated and quite busy, which has contributed to a lag in creative accomplishments, but I have been making progress on my next big quilt.

It's not really "next" since I started it back at the beginning of the year and then set it aside for the spring and summer, but I'm back working on it now.  The middle sections feature the text from one of the Eucharistic prayers in the Episcopal prayer book (prayer c for anyone who's interested) and is really an exploration of the intersection of science and religion.  It's another one of my illuminated-manuscript style quilts, with several historiated initials and large borders filled with vignettes.

Each of the initials is about 6" square and features a famous scientist surrounded by things indicative of their field, but in somewhat medieval garb to keep with the illuminated style.  I'm terrible at faces, but I hope the suggestion is good enough.  These have lots of layers and I wasn't sure how easily I'd be able to quilt them, so a lot of the stitching has already been added.  More will come later hopefully. The edges are currently floppy since the aren't stitched down to anything-  I need to get them attached to the quilt soon or I think the little letter curlicues are going to be permanently messed up.

Here's Galileo in an A

Here's Louis Pasteur in an H

Here's Marie Curie in an L

and Barbara McClintock in an A

I actually made these before my break this spring and they've been patiently waiting their turn to come out of the WIP drawer.  Lately I've been working on the border vignettes and I'll share some of them next week.

Linking up with Nina-Marie and hoping you're having a creative week!