Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Studio Series: Seven Houses quilt

Seven Houses quilt © Karen Thiessen, 2012
Three words come to mind when I look at this quilt: hot, sleep deprived, and homesick. Moments after I graduated from Sheridan College's Textiles program, I packed up our house and moved to the other side of the world. Singapore was a grand, scary adventure where I was forced to learn how to cross the street without getting hit, how to buy groceries in the Wet Markets, and how to sweat. That's right: prior to living in Singapore I was unable to sweat, a trait that I inherited from my mom. My naturopath gave me a supplement that remedied that situation permanently. Prior to this, my face would turn pink or red in lieu of perspiring and on occasion I would pass out from too much heat. 

My husband and I lived in a serviced apartment on the sixteenth floor where I set up a make-shift studio in the spare bedroom. My wobbly cutting table consisted of two twin mattresses and their box springs stacked on top of each other. Not great, but it did the job. Three months into our stay, the empty restaurant at the base of the building was converted into a disco called Body Shock. Base machines pounded in sync to the music. For the remaining nine months our bed vibrated to whatever music was playing from 11 pm to 3 am. My husband could sleep through it, I could not. To preserve my sanity I shifted my work hours and went to bed when the disco turned off its torture device. In the wee hours of many a Singapore morning I pieced parts of Seven Houses with fabrics that I dyed and printed while at Sheridan and fabrics that I bought in Singapore, Bali, and Malaysia. Later in Halifax, I dyed the golden panels with Ted Hutten's onion skins and then pieced the whole thing when we moved back to Ontario. Seven Houses really is an around-the-world quilt.


Seven Houses is part of the Tangents series of quilts and measures 65” W X 87” H or 
165 cm X 221 cm.
Materials: cotton fabrics, cotton/poly binding, cotton quilt batting; cotton & polyester threads
Techniques: most cotton fabrics dyed, discharged, screen-printed, and/or hand-painted with Procion dyes, natural dyes (onion skins) and/or screen-printing textile inks; machine pieced, hand & machine stitched
• Machine quilted by Jacqueline Harris as designed by Karen Thiessen (wonky random grid)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the story of "Seven Houses". Knowing the background of a piece makes it that much more interesting. Well done!

Judy Martin said...

I'm so pleased to see this piece of yours. Thanks for showing it, and for telling its story.
Also - I like that you've given all the details at the bottom of the post - materials, techniques, and who quilted it. A lot of information, but necessary.

Karen said...

Thank you Judy!