Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

DIE GOLDENE MEDINA - HER DREAMS

“Beds, three tiers high, were still not sufficient to accommodate the 5,000 immigrants who arrived daily. Many, like this young woman, were forced to sleep on benches, chairs, or on the floor.” – Lewis W. Hine

When traveling, have you ever felt bone-weary…so tired you feared the next step? Have you ever been stranded in an airport, with nothing but what seemed like unending hours until the next flight? I have. And if you are like me, I am sure all you could think of was getting somewhere, anywhere, to sleep. To lessen the discomfort of my situation, I like to visualize of my cozy bed at home, covered with a warm, colorful quilt.

My inspiration for this collage was a photograph from the Hine Collection. As an educator, Lewis W. Hine encouraged his students to use photography as a tool for social change. He often held his sociology classes at Ellis Island. In five years, 1904 to 1909, he produced 200 photographs of the immigrants passing through the Island. The young woman trying her best to get some sleep is one I thought fit perfectly with the new Artistcellar Quilt Stencils.

The new series features four quilt designs: The Bear Claw, The Star Flower, and the two I chose to use, The Ohio Star and the Amish Star. Living close to Lancaster, PA it’s nice to see the Amish star included in the series.

Going back to my Strathmore Journal, I sponged on layers of acrylic paint, letting each dry between applications. Having the stencils in both the 6” x 6” and Pocket size is really useful. In my work, I used both. Again, the quality of the stencils didn’t let me down. Even though the paint was dry between multiple layers, clean up was a snap, with each stencil back to immaculate condition. I built the background quilt layer by tiling the image as on a true cloth covering.

Completing the collage, I drew upon my collection of ephemera. I surrounded the Slavic lady with what I imagine surrounded her: mountains of paperwork as she made her way through the Ellis Island process. 

And was she like you and me, tired and sleepy, dreaming of a familiar place to rest? Did her dreams include quilts and thoughts of home?

MATERIALS USED:

Don't you just love the designs of the new stencils?! I have long admired quilters and the artistry they accomplish with fabric and thread. My husband's maternal grandmother was an accomplished quilter and I remember being amazed and humbled when watching her work and seeing her numerous finished creations. She was an artist through and through.

To me, quilting is very American. I know that quilting was around before our country was formed but history shows us it flourished after the arrival of the English and Dutch settlers. Taking fabric and piecing it together in new ways brings art to a utilitarian item and don't you think it has so much symbolism? A quilt can bring comfort, security and peace. It's texture can be warm and cozy. All the seemingly different fabrics brought together with many little stitches become a finished item that seems filled with history, stories and love.

Another thing that's been on my mind lately is my Dad. He passed a little over 4 years ago. He loved this country and considered himself a patriot. He loved, supported and was ready to defend his COUNTRY. He wanted this land to be a place his posterity could flourish in and be able to feel comfort, security and peace. Now, I'm not going to wax political on you. I just want to share what I created in my art journal this week as I needed to express some positive feelings.

Here are the supplies I used:

  • Ohio Star and Star Flower from the Quilts series stencils (6x6) 
  • Ripples stencil from the Water Series (12x12)
  • Dina Wakley Acrylic Paints
  • Gesso
  • White and Black acrylic paint pens

I started with a page in my journal that already had black and blue paint which I added red to.

I then used the Ohio Star and Star Flower stencils with gesso to create the background. When the gesso dried I added "stitches" with a black acrylic paint pen.

After sketching out where I wanted the face to go I added a layer with blue paint and the Ripples stencil so my face would have a subtle texture behind it.

Using gesso I created an underpainting for my face. When that was dry I built layers with the acrylics to create the face. I wanted both light and dark to show across the face.

A final quilt stencil layer on top of the face and a few words and I am happy with the results. I like how the quilt imagery adds a feeling of comfort and order. The bold quilt pattern contrasts with the painterly quality of the face which is partially hidden in the shadows but is emerging to the light.

I will leave you with this definition:

Patriot (noun)

    1. A person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.
    2. person who regards himself or herself as defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.