In 2019 I created the first “House Rules” Mini quilt for a challenge entry with Curated Quilts Journal. (Read more about “House Rules” in that article.) The challenge was to “say something” through your quilt and it really got me thinking about what I wanted to use my art to say. Traditionally, quilting is more about the repetition of blocks, patterns, and colors than expression through words, though there are some very talented quilters who “say something” with every creation. Often the use of imagery or design communicates the commentary of the quilt, and outright words are avoided. In this challenge, words were encouraged, and I found myself drawn to creating a collection of words that expressed my house rules.
Over the summer of 2020, I was struck by all of the continued struggles of so many as a society worked its way through the pandemic, social injustice, and political strife. Again my mind returned to the house rules and I got to thinking about how many different kinds of houses there are around the world. Great people, working hard to give their lives and the lives of their families the best they can under so much pressure, points of turmoil, and prejudices. It is sad to say, but I don’t think as a society we have grown very much over the centuries in acceptance of others. We seem to be all too willing to be blinded by differences to our own collective detriment. If we are all made in God’s image do we not all represent those pieces of a magnificent whole? Though we may come in different shells, from different countries and backgrounds, love different people, and support different causes, do we not all bleed red? Yes, we do. At the core, we are all very much the same. Through the continuation of the house rules series, I just wanted to reflect on a few more of those applications of love, acceptance, kindness, honesty, and forgiveness.
To create the new iterations of the 2019 version, I returned to the original sketch for inspiration. I used the same basic layout and size, making the house focal piece from solid fabrics outlined in a thick border. To complete the background, I used colorful stripes of fabric in a ray-type formation off to the right side and finished squaring off the quilt with some subtle background prints.
The colors and fabrics used just hint at the “rules” of the quilt and reinforce the overall theme of each piece. The globes represent and reinforce a changing of the world for another iteration I will talk about in a later article, while the rainbow and heart inset reinforce the love is love theme of the Love Story quilt, which we will focus on here.
Oh, friends, love is love, and can we just accept it already? Honestly, how does someone else’s love jeopardize your own? Love is a powerful and moving force we should let all who want it experience and otherwise stay out of the way. For the eloquent inspiration behind this quilt, please view the work of paper artist Victoria Marie Calvin, particularly the episode “Our Story.”
For the Love Story art quilt, I went with a central light gray house with a small inset heart block in a pixilated red print to give a clean slate for the text and reinforce the love theme. The central house is outlined in black and white prints to further reinforce how I feel about this issue.
Of course, the rainbow stripes were used in reference to the flag of the LGBTQ community and their decades-long use of the flag to pursue equal rights. The background of the quilt is a miniature plus print, also in black and white, to represent inclusivity and valuable additions of rights to all citizens.
The rainbow theme is repeated in the strong plaid print I used to form the main block letter of the main rule of the house “live your love.” I am breaking into more mixed media and inks in my work, especially in my art quilts, and I used some custom-made fabric ink and a hand-cut stencil to create the sub-text “own story.” The entire wording of the quilt reads “Live your own love story.” Honestly, I wish I had positioned the “own” and “story” reading from top to bottom, but I didn’t think about it until the inking had begun, which was way too late! oh well, I think it still translates the message and is easy to read.
The inspiration for this art quilt was partially based off of the “Our Story” page by Victoria Marie Designs. Victoria uses a lot of what she refers to as “potty people” in her layouts and I used the same basic human shape here to depict a couple holding hands. As you will note, the gender is non-specific to represent inclusion.
To complete the “Love Story” art quilt, I quilted in place the outline of all of the fabric applique and added basic line stitching in the rainbow and background areas. The mini quilt was then bound around the entire canvas area with black and white print binding. Corner hanging pockets were added for display.
I am really happy with the way this piece turned out and the expression of thought I was able to convey through the quilt. I look forward to continuing this “house rules” series and creating pieces when inspiration strikes. Moving forward, I would like to do more to combine mixed media elements with my quilted works as well and have found that adding touches of ink not only provides a different texture, but also allows for some detailed work or interesting backgrounds I would otherwise not be able to achieve with fabric alone.
I made two twins of the “Love Story” mini art quilt, one of which sold before the ink dried to Victoria Marie herself, which was quite the ego tickler! The second quilt can be found for sale on the La Rue de Fleurs Etsy shop. Printed reproductions of the “Love Story” art quilt can be purchased on a variety of products available on Red Bubble.
Thank you so much for your continued support of my artwork and for reading, commenting, and sharing these articles.
Stay creative, friends! Janice
Inspiration and resources are linked where applicable. All written work and photographs are original content and are copyright protected; kindly give due credit by linking back to my website or source website if you use or share.
(©2021, Janice Bailor // laruedefleurs.com)