Monday, November 28, 2011

Shannon's Eye of the Storm: Guest Quilt

I hope everyone had a fabulous and joyful Thanksgiving.  We had such a lovely time with my parents in New Mexico; Mike got to relax in the armchair with his iPad and the football games while my Mom and I scurried around quilting and crafting as much as possible.

My blog isn't important enough to have guest posters, but today I have "guest quilt" to share with you.  My mother, Vicki Conley, is a talented potter and "real" art quilter (as opposed to I, who am an art-quilter-wannabe-who-is-still-figuring-out-how-to-have-even-free-motion-stitches).  She is super-awesome and always working on a million projects, but she doesn't blog so I've decided to feature some of her fabulous quilts occasionally so people can see them!

The lovely quilt one I have for you today is called "Shannon's Eye of the Storm".  My mom started it in 2009 at an Empty Spools quilting seminar with Janet Fogg (who also makes super-incredible art quilts).  She had several goals for the project, one of them was to incorporate traditional piecing, specifically the storm at sea block, into an art quilt.  In my non-quilting life, I'm an eye-disease researcher (in our lab we study inherited forms of macular degneration), so my mom went with an eye for the subject matter in this quilt.  We both liked the storm-at-sea -- eye of the storm -- eyeball connection.

Shannon's Eye of the Storm.  70" x 70" (c) 2010 Vicki Conley.  Hanging at the 2011 Dallas Quilt Festival
She designed the quilt so that there are curved rays radiating from the center of the eye, and each ray has storm at sea blocks pieced into it.  She hand drafted each storm at sea block to fit into the curved block spaces in the rays and chose subtly shifting shades of cream-brown-white for the sclera in order to suggest the spherical curvature of the eye.  The black background is a piece of hand dye she made, and the background is quilted with the pattern of the storm at sea block.  The pupil is an immunofluorescent micrograph of a mouse retinal section I took several years ago in which the different neurons responsible for transmitting visual signals from the eye through to the brain are labeled in red, green, and blue.  She printed the image on fabric and then added beading to emphasize the cells.

Before becoming an artist, my mom was a scientist, and still retains a love for scientific/geometrical/biological things.  This quilt wound up being the first in what I think of as her anatomical quilt series, which now has several other entries.  I was recently lucky enough to move into a small office with a large-ish wall, so now the fabulous eyeball quilt (as I call it) has a permanent home amongst other eyeball lovers!

I hope you enjoy!  Do any of you quilt with family and friends?  My mom and I have so much fun quilting, designing and brainstorming together- it's really wonderful to have someone to bounce ideas off of.