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Monday, February 23, 2009


One of the things I do in what is laughingly called my 'spare' time is run an online list for textile artists, called Alternative Quilt List (find it here). It is very much an on topic list, with very few digressions, and it has been quiet for a while. So, to set us up for the new year, I set a challenge for the list, to make a quilt that looked ahead to the coming year. Imaginatively titled 'The Future Challenge', a number of our members did in fact make pieces for it. Just to make it interesting, I offered some of my hand dyed fabric as prizes, and we voted on our favourites. The outright winner was the beautiful quilt you see above. It was made by Eva Ahlander from Sweden; she says;

"I have thought some time about how I can stop being so hard on myself and accept that I have more than one side, the ones I like and the ones I am not so proud of. (This is not about schizophrenia, as my quilt group quickly named my piece!) It is about embracing all of me, the good and the bad. Life is not perfect and life is fragile and I need to look after all of me. I will try and do this in 2009. How to make this into a quilt?

I accidentally heard that January is named after an ancient god Janus, who is the god with two faces and the challenge began to take shape. What also attracted me to this ancient myth was that he was some sort of door keeper, and I have a fondness for doors…. So I played with old photos in Photoshop and printed them off on fabric. Then I embellished with buttons and ribbons and paint. The old lady with the pink hat is in the background of an old 60´s photo of my husband as a baby. (did that make sense?) I doubled her to make a newer version of Janus and then I doubled up an old photo of an aunt from the 40´s and made her into Janus twins with the masks. Buttons attached to give a bit of 3D. The binding is an old piece of fabric I ripped from the inside of a pair of jeans.

Well, the piece is called January- embracing both of me. I have had some thoughts after it was finished, like why I put masks on the “twins” instead of leaving the faces blank, which I think has to do with that I always have had to show a happy face, but the inside was in turmoil. My family background is also a bit complex when it comes to hiding the weakness of life, my grandmother and my mother were raised in strict Calvinistic “freechurches”. So it all came together quite nicely in the end. It is about embracing the weak and the strong and make them both visible and accepted.

I have also not used the colours I normally use. I am so thrilled with how the colours came out, I thought it would be boring with paler shades, but the quilt came out shimmering…

I was so inspired by this, I will now attempt to make one piece once a month. Same size as this one, with the base of the names of the months and where they came from, February was named after a god who was in charge of death and purging (!) and try to link it to me somehow. We will see how it goes…"

For myself, I think that if it goes as well as the first one, she will have a collection to be proud of at the end of the year! If you would like to see more of Eva's work, check out her blog

nb the first two images are details, the first is of the Janus twins, the second of Old Lady Janus, whilst the third is the complete piece.


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Marion, this is a wonderful, beautiful piece---so much to look at,all the subtleties of color, stitch, print.
What an excellent job! Will come back later when I have a bit more time to look in depth!

Connie Rose said...

I LOVE that piece, Marion. And I just applied for membership in the group.
All the best to you.

Leslie said...

Marion, it's fabulous. I am in love with it. I want to see more like this.

Rose Works Jewelry said...

Wow - that piece turned out simply incredible! Thanks for sharing it with us :)

Julie said...

What a talented artist, thank you for showing us this.

Good luck with your own challenge for this year. I think we can all identify with Eva's entreaty not to be so hard on herself.

Angie said...

That is really nice. Thanks for sharing it.

Samantha said...

Wow, that quilt is magical! She's a very talented lady. :)

Eva said...

Thank you for all your nice comments! /EVA

La Mirabelle said...

Beautiful. I love it!