On Winter Solstice, I posted my art quilt, Metamorphosis.
I included a quote that speaks to the heart of this quilt:
There are as many pillows of illusion as there are flakes in a snow storm. We wake from one dream into another dream. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Metamorphosis tells a story about dreaming the dream. I made this quilt during a time of radical change in my life. Deciding to start a new chapter came with all kinds of emotions, and allowing myself that safe space to imagine the possibilities was paramount. This quilt celebrates my journey.
Crown Vetch grows vigorously near our house, and during the summer months I see it on my walk to the mailbox. Common. Unassuming. Humble. And at night, bowing its head to a dream much larger than itself. Moth eye spots ward off predators, protecting the sacred space held for dreaming. A necessity for survival.
Making Metamorphosis was truly enjoyable. I'd spend 12-14 hour days steadily stitching my story. My first step was to make a cartoon, a full scale ink drawing. With a road map in place, the fabrics and construction methods were decided as the quilt progressed.
Some areas, like the darkest petals of the damask flower were best done as reverse applique (they're found toward the center of the quilt, see detail). This allowed them to sink into the background in order to give the entire damask flower the appearance of coming into being from the deepest depths of a dream. The rest of the damask pattern is appliqued using the freezer paper method. The Crown Vetch, however, was best executed using fused applique. Doing so allowed exact placement of each hand cut leaf and flower petal, often with the aid of tweezers, before being fused into place. The moth eye spots were a surprise, as I didn't have a plan how to make them. I decided to cut fairly large, wonky circles from a gold piece of my hand dyed silk, followed by a smaller circle of black cotton, and then an even smaller circle of pink cotton. I stacked up the circles and with free-motion stitching, I covered each stack with as much thread as my machine would allow before getting tangled up. The dense stitching caused each eye spot to bubble outward, raising them off the surface of the quilt and giving some dimension, which I really like. The entire quilt is sparingly free-motion quilted.
Within a few months of completing Metamorphosis a second art quilt came about. I've decided I'll share Self Portrait in the spring at about the same time it was completed back in 2015. (Sneak peek on the left.) While each quilt's story stands on its own, the two quilts together tell an even larger story. Looking ahead to the new year, one of my intentions is to develop and strengthen my storytelling voice. I'll share the journey, and hope you'll share your feedback with me. We all share a love of textiles, and I value what you have to say. You can always email me or DM on IG @tierneybarden.
Going in to the New Year, I've increasingly felt the need to share my art quilts, as well as to allow more time for making art in the form of quilts and paintings. Many of you who follow me on social media are familiar with my naturally dyed fabrics and traditional quilt patterns. So, while business continues as usual, I'm also spending some time creating a body of work in the form of art quilts and paintings. Sharing this body of work with you is the end goal. Stay tuned for information about where to see this blossoming collection.
Coconut Birthday Celebration Cake
I've always loved being a December baby, and I'm celebrating my birthday with one of my most favorite cakes: Coconut Pound Cake. A few birthdays ago my very dear friend, Victoria Marsted, made it for me. This year, I decided to bake the cake, slice it up and make cake deliveries all over town! Surprising friends was a really fun way to celebrate, so this might just become a tradition. I'm sharing the recipe for this tasty, hearty, easy to make cake:
Coconut Pound Cake
- 2 cups butter
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 cups flour or spelt flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
350 F Butter and flour Bundt pan
Cream butter and sugar. Beat well after each addition: eggs, extract, flour + baking powder, coconut milk. Pour into prepared pan and bake immediately for 60-75 minutes until cake is firm, golden and pick test comes clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto plate and leave pan in place over cake until cool.
Make frosting by beating all ingredients until smooth and fluffy. Frost cake as desired and dust with shredded coconut.