Can I Fix It?

Earlier this year in my February newsletter, with the Subject Line of “Can I Fix It? What is Wicking?”, I talked about my Mother Teresa project and some pigment wicking issues. (Well okay, the newsletter was mistakenly dated January 24th but it was sent out in the early am of Feb 3rd. I am still learning how to create these newsletters!! 😉 I will try to do better!)

In this newsletter I want to talk about more neat things you can do to correct aspects of your fiber art that you don’t like. Even after the fact!

The photograph in the banner above shows my final version of this piece, Mother Teresa – Let Us Begin, 24″ x 24″.  This is the piece I sent out to the world to see as my entry into the 2014 Notable Women Initiative Call for Entry by the Rogue Art Quilters of Ashland, Oregon, in January 2014. 

However, I had an earlier version of this piece that was displayed in the Fremont Center for the Arts (FCA) gallery in Canon City, CO in December 2013.  I had finished the piece (assembled, quilted & finished) in time for the show and I thought it would be fun to display it before I sent it off to be on the road for at least 2 years.

Normally I would not share this kind of information, but I want to illustrate the power of reassessing your work and correcting things so you can feel better about your work!

Mistakes happen and sometimes we have to just learn to live with them. Other times, we can actually correct them! This is one of those cases! So, I will share in good faith that you can learn from what I did!

The banner above shows my initial finished version of this piece. It is probably obvious that the hair on the child is very dark compared to the finished piece at the top of my newsletter.

Is that dark hair really an issue? It really depends on you, as the artist. I was okay with it when I created the piece, but when it was hung in the show, something about the piece really bothered me! (I actually wanted to take it down from the wall when I figured out that I didn’t like it!).

And, just so you know, I received a 2nd place ribbon in the show with this piece! You can see it in the left-hand corner of the photo from the show.

So why didn’t I just leave it as is? What bothered me was that the hair I created was too dark and full for the age of the child I had envisioned. Was that dark hair planned?  Not necessarily, but that is what I ended up with!

In hindsight, I got carried away with the dark pigment when I created the hair. When I teach my workshops, I talk about this tendency and what you can do about it. Suffice it to say, it is a situation that cannot be easily correct using some of the techniques I share. That does not mean it is the end of the world!

Did I have to just live with it?  NO!

What did I do?  Well, I simply cut off the child’s head and replaced it!! 🙂

Okay, it was a little more involved than that. This is a whole-cloth piece. In other words, the child’s head and Mother T’s hand and the background are all one piece of fabric. The blanket material was appliquéd on top (as well as Mother T’s clothing).

Removing the head took several careful steps. I took out the dimensional stitching around the child’s head, the hand holding it, and the blanket near the head.  

Then I carefully cut out the head (leaving extra fabric so I could stitch the replacement head back on). I created a new head using my master pattern and colored it. This time I was careful not to overdo the hair.

Then I fused the new head in place and restitched. So my new head became an appliqué on the piece. If you look closely, you can see my stitching.

And Voila! I corrected my piece to replace the head. Am I 100% satisfied with my new head? Well, I do see some other things that I didn’t like but these are things I can live with! After all, are we always 100% satisfied? Not necessarily! However, the other concerns become lessons learned.

Have you ever had this situation with a project yourself? What did you do about it? What lessons did you learn? I would love to hear from you!    

I think about my friends in Ukraine all of the time, hoping that everyone is safe. Stand Strong!

My testimonial this week is from Inna Bobyr who attended my 1-day Pigment Patchwork workshop in Kyiv, Ukraine in September 2019. Thank you for the wonderful feedback Inna!

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