The inspiration for this quilt challenge stems from an encounter Brenda, Candace, and I had with a hideous piece of art a couple of years ago. The work was dark, obscure and featured a standing crocodile in profile along with these words, ‘It’s pretty, but is it art?’. Despite the Rudyard Kipling quotation, the piece was very obviously not pretty, and indeed it was being presented as art. We were by turns repulsed and enthralled, and spent considerable time in discussion and laughter over it. The memory of that encounter remains a source of amusement even now and the quote’s singular question something of an inside joke. More than a few times since, we’ve had occasion to remark to each other, ‘It’s pretty, but is it art?!’.
And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart, till the devil whispered behind the leaves ‘It’s pretty, but is it Art?’ – Rudyard Kipling
The first quilt I made for the challenge didn’t turn out quite the way I had hoped. I personalized the quotation somewhat and printed one of my photos on fabric to be a part of the quilt. My idea was that the devil is a small voice in (me) all of us that questions if what we have to give is ever good enough.
For the second quilt I envisioned God creating His first rough sketch of a beautiful world and the devil attempting to undermine Him in His creation. The quilt was free-motion stitched on muslin and colored with Inktense pencils.
Candace created an appliquéd garden of Eden, with a serpent entwined on a tree bearing glittering leaves. Our similar interpretations of the quote led to two uniquely different quilts…and some good-hearted teasing from the group, as this is the second quilt challenge in a row that our ideas have been in sync. 🙂
Brenda cleverly utilized the communal fabric (explained below) in her challenge quilt and thereby ended up with a double duty piece. Her interpretation has a framed “artwork” getting the side-eye from that she-devil behind the leaves!
Betty Boop detail and the tongue-in-cheek back side of Brenda’s quilt.
A bonus reveal this time comes from the communal fabric that was passed around our group this past year. Each recipient took their turn to alter the fabric in some way, until we finally divided it and gave each person a small section to use in making a quilt of their choosing. The results are all very different but the shared fabric brings a pleasing cohesiveness to the group.
Jean, who wasn’t able to attend this reveal, passed her fabric section on to Cath, who then further divided it and created a quilt of 7 columns…representing the 7 women in our group. Simple and beautiful. (And a quick shout out here – Cath and Jean spearhead an endeavor called ‘Quilt It Forward’. They coordinate the design and execution of a yearly raffled quilt, the proceeds of which help to benefit a local community kitchen. Bravo ladies!)
With no constraints other than to somehow use the fabric, Candy was bold and stepped outside the 12″x12″ box we’ve so far required of ourselves. How freeing! Lines flow across this quilt and the design is accentuated by the tactility of raised, ruffled and knotted fabric strips. Black and white buttons balance a small corner of black and white stripes and the complementary metallic orange is fabric choice perfection. I’m in love!
I fussy cut a Tula Pink fabric and raw edge appliquéd it to the background with a ‘halo’ fabric as a buffer. A little quilting and some bedazzling later…done! I’m happy that the quilt includes an alteration by each person’s hand somewhere in it.
And now on to the next challenge. We decided that the decorative piece on the back of Brenda’s quilt was all the inspiration we needed. Coming in May…
The Bird Challenge!