Words of Comfort

Some friends from my quilt group decided to start a 12x12 quilt project inspired by this group. Basically each member would submit a word, and then we would each make a twelve inch by twelve inch quilt inspired by these words. Each time we are given a new word we have two months to complete the quilt. January 2009 was our first start date, and the word chosen was Comfort. It was MY word and I was very shocked when my word came up because I didn't really want to think about it.

The reason I submitted the word Comfort was because I couldn't think of anything else at the time I had to submit my word. I was struggling with how to comfort my sister whose close friend had recently committed suicide. Shortly after the word was drawn I was struggling again because one of the siblings of my daughters friend committed suicide as well.

I contemplated what it meant to comfort someone and the words that I try to offer. So often I have felt that the words mean so little but that they were all I had to give at times. I knew I wanted to have words on the quilt. This was something I've never done before so I researched pens for writing on fabric and found one fabulous pen: Pentel Arts Gel Roller for Fabric. It writes like butter on a hot roll. Delicious. But it only comes in black, blue and red. I really wanted brown so I also bought another marker which writes okay on fabric, but not as smoothly. I played more with the gel roller because it wrote so well. I then decided to play with some images of physically comforting someone. My girls laughed at some of these and said they looked like the people were kissing. Something that is still icky in their lives (thankfully)!

Then I played with some simple images in Photoshop and finally found one I liked. I played around with the colors a bit too, trying to decide what color comfort is. I felt like blue was a color of comfort because it seems soothing, but my dear neighbor informed me that reds and oranges were actually comforting colors because they are warm. I pondered these thoughts and continued playing around.
I really liked this image (above) but the couple of people I showed it to didn't get it,
so I played with other images.
This image got a better response so I went with it. I decided I would write the words on the embrasing arms. I'm not sure why ended up chosing the colors in my first attempt. I liked the fabrics together when I started out, however after I put the quilt together I hated it!
I quilted it to see if the quilting would make a difference but I still hated it. The image had too much contrast and was too busy and not the least bit comforting to me. I hung it on my design wall and tried to forget about it for awhile.
A few days later I was watching Quilting Arts TV. One of the artists on the show was talking about the color wheel. Listening to her reminded me about using color combinations to portray a feeling. This is when I decided that the quilt needed to be monochromatic, and that it really needed to be all warm. (I admit it, you were right dear neighbor!) At this pointed I also decided that the embrace was more important than the words, and so I wrote the words with the brown marker on the background where they could still be somewhat visible. The embrace is what I hope stands out and brings the feeling of comfort.
You might need to click on the photo to enlarge it and get a closer look as it seems to blend together a lot in the photo.
Our word for March and April is Sandstone. This word isn't as emotional for me, thankfully, but I've already started hatching a thousand different ideas. I'll post the next quilt after our reveal. Thanks for letting me share!


Anonymous said…
Thank you for sharing the development of your comfort-themed quilt. It's fascinating to see the steps and refinements you made along the way.

Let me know if your group sets up a blog and I will add a link to the "Friends of Twelve by Twelve" blogroll in the 12x12 blog side bar.
Sylvia said…
Lisa, while I am not religious, I do believe in 'it was meant to be'. Maybe Comfort came up because you needed to deal with your feelings. I had a cousin who committed suicide. It was in the early 90's. He was tall, handsome, and the last time I saw him, happy and laughing. It seemed so senseless at the time. And that he would let his sister find him, on Mother's day no less. The shock took years to wear off. Probably because I tried not to deal with it.
Another note on 'Comfort'. There were 4 of us at Bryce, and I was impressed with how well everyone came up with their own comfort theme. It seemed to hit a note with everyone. I thought it was going to be a difficult word to put in a quilt. I was wrong. On to Sandstone!

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