January 15, 2012

A quilt about tai chi breathing and return to blogging

I'm going to blog this year about the art quilt and paper pieces I'm working on.  I just finished this quilt - a commission for Dr. Kesho Scott, professor at Grinnell College in Iowa.  Dr. Scott visited us in China the last 2 summers when she was teaching at east China Normal University.
I wanted to make something about the technique of 吸气  [xīqì] and  呼气 [hūqì].  In tai chi your breathing technique is very important - filling your lungs completely in the xiqi and emptying in the huqi completely.

Here is the development of the quilt:

First I draw my hands several times

Then I choose the best drawings - right hand

left hand 
I used both hands to draw and a magnifying mirror to see close up

then i pin the pictures to see how it looks with the figure

Then I pin the pictures on to dyed fabric quilt sandwiches

then I do my first outline sewing through the picture and pull off the paper so the drawing is eventually destroyed.  Almost a "Lost drawing" technique!

Now you can see the figure with hands

I use peltec as the backing of the miniquilt sandwich for each hand.  I also used peltec for the face with batting and fabric -- but I just drew the face freehand with the sewing machine - no paper and no drawing on fabric first.   

Addded in a lot of detail.  I use my own hands as models because I don't have to pay them, and I can keep them still!  Unfortunately they are aging as fast as I am.

The background I first dyed with thickened fiber reactive dye onto soda ash soaked/dried fabric with several light greens.  I then printed the lotus leaves using leaves from our tai chi park Minhang Sports Park in QiBao

This man gave me the leaves as he was thinning the beds.

Lotus and lilies are similar but different species.  I like them both.



Closeup of the face pinned on background

The finished piece - "Exhale (huqi)" meditation on the African in China. I also made the chinese buttons on his shirt.

Dr. Kesho Scott and me when I turned the piece over to her in Phoenix,AZ where we were both visiting relatives.

Close up of face finished - small yellow seed beads around the head

Close up of the lotus flower

The flower part made me very happy.  

On to the next piece.

1 comment:

  1. How did I miss this post? This may well be my favorite one of all!

    You made it look so easy to create that amazing work of art. I know that it actually takes a phenomenal amount of talent, practice and patience to do what you do! You sew a bit of your spirit and love into each stitch.

    Hurry home -- you are missed. Feel free to bring lots and lots of loved ones with you! muah