‘Look behind the lines’ miniature quilt and a quilt exhibition

Me and my quilt friends at the exhibition
Me and my quilt friends at the exhibition

This weekend was the first quilt exhibition WITH MY OWN QUILT in it! Exhibitions will never be the same from this day onwards. Unless they are without my work of course, then they will be very normal.  But all joking aside, I sent my quilt in because I wanted to know how it feels to exhibit my own work and also because sharing is caring. I can tell you that it feels amazing to have my piece hanging there among other quilts as if it’s nothing. It’s a proud moment.

My part of the exhibition was organized by the national quilt guild in the Netherlands of which I am a member. Because of that, I was allowed to send in a piece fitting with the theme ‘Lineplay’ (Lijnenspel). Me and my quilting group, the MOQingbirds, decided to send in some work as a group. In the picture at the top, you see them admiring the quilt I sent in. Besides checking if they put up my quilt the right way around I, of course, also went to admire the quilts of other people and to browse the numerous shops that were attending. I’ll share some pictures of the quilts I saw and I will tell how I made my own.

A miniature quilt exhibition in Rijswijk

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This is the Nearly Insane sampler quilt by Salinda Rupp and Liz Lois. I always love to see quilts I am making myself as well.

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These are quilts by Klazien Hoomans. She told me she bought a lot of red fabric to sell in her shop, but I think we can all see what she did with that fabric…

A MASSIVE quilt. Left is my mother who joined me in this awesome exhibition experience. This is a quilt by Hilda Hoogwaerts.

Three versions of the Delilah design by Jen Kingwell. They had even more versions of this quilt and I loved to see how diverse the same pattern can look.

Some mini quilts that were particularly good in my opinion.

Behind the Lines, the story behind the quilt

Behind the Lines is what I called my quilt. A very fitting name for two reasons. This quilt is made to represent my mental health and how it is sometimes a battle between a lot of colours and cheer and darkness. I am always fighting for the sun to burst through and chase the dark thoughts away. The uneven triangle shapes signify the awesome creative chaos in my mind drifting who knows which way always surprising me. Behind the Lines in that sense means that there can be a lot behind someones cheery enthusiastic appearance.

The second reason is when I asked people what they saw in the quilt I got so many different cool interpretations that I don’t even care my own plan doesn’t come through very well. If art is creating something people have ideas or emotions about, I am very pleased to hear my quilt has that effect! In that sense, the title Behind the Lines means to look beyond the title, and the idea of the maker of the quilt, and to see in it whatever you want. Once you finish and exhibit a quilt, it is not only yours anymore but the quilt becomes part of the world for everyone to interpret. So I am wondering:

  • What do you see in this quilt and what does the title mean to you?

Look behind the lines mini quilt

Look behind the lines mini quilt

The origin story of the quilt

Before I even left for Kenya I started sewing together random scraps of triangle-shaped fabric. The picture below shows the result:

MOQ deken 40&

The idea was to create a chaotic looking blanket. How interesting that idea might be, I lost motivation to continue, so this project ended in a box. When I and the MOQingbirds started thinking about our Lineplay quilt I remembered this project. The random shapes of the triangles create an interesting ‘Lineplay’. However, it was not until after my adventure abroad that the idea for this quilt was fully matured. By then I had learned how cathartic it can be to make a quilt or embroidery about something that’s on your mind. I was looking for ways to explain to people how I felt and how my mind works.  To show that its’not only colour and happiness and cheer. Making this quilt also gave me peace of mind to accept that life is a never-ending balance between light, darkness and everything in between.

How this quilt is made

The triangles are appliqued on the dark blue background. After that, I added batting and backing and quilted through all the three layers by machine. For the triangles, I did Stitch in the Ditch, where you sew through the seams. This is a way to make the quilting invisible. In the dark blue fabric, I quilted distorted lines to signify how the mind can sometimes lose track and get messed up.

The sun rays are made by hand with the stem stitch embroidery stitch. That one creates a turn in the floss which makes the rays look alive. I used about six strands of floss in different colours. You can see the turning movement in the picture below.

MOQ sunshine detail 40% cut

The end of this story

And that’s the end of another story. As you can see, sometimes you can start with the plan for a quilt, which ends up looking different. Good, but different than expected. Personally, I notice I need to start sewing to have a better idea of the direction I am supposed to go. This always makes it a surprise where I’ll end up which keeps sewing always interesting.

The whole experience of the exhibition and sending in a quilt was so nice. It is inspiring and a lot of fun to see all the quilts of the other people. You can get so many ideas and learn so much. But also I learned a lot by sending in my quilt.  I even put a label on a quilt for the first time! But the most important lesson I learned is that it is good to share the things you make, even when it makes you nervous or when it’s not perfect. People love to see what you make and especially fellow quilters will almost always react with buckets full of encouragement and praise. And who knows, maybe your quilt is just the inspiration somebody else was looking for?

moq label 40% cut

Would you like to know more?

And to end things, the goodies I got:

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See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: bella.g.bear.art) for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blog post every Sunday or Monday.

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