Inspiration Song & Lyrics
trying to find an honest word to find
the truth enslaved
Uncomfortable in My Own Skin: Reclamation Project I
Viewed my feelings as weakness
Tried to be a man
I worked hard to boil my inspiration haiku down to the elements that really matter, but there is a striking omission: the pronoun. I believe that leaves the poem open to your own interpretation, especially when viewed in context with the mini quilt that accompanies the poem. However, I want to be clear that the pronoun as intended when I wrote the haiku is “I”. I am uncomfortable with the idea of being a woman, so I censored myself heavily. I viewed my feelings as a weakness, and I tried to “man up”. These were choices I actively made.
The first photograph of the quilt (above) was taken with the mini quilt on cracked stucco. As I was making the quilt, I was also thinking of others. I believe that men are asked to conform to an image or standard that is very confining and rigid, hence the extra quilted lines boxing in “MAN”. These internal struggles and stresses are hurtful and result in cracks in our facades.
I used my walking foot to quilt curved lines between the letters. On the left hand side of the quilt, I used a 50wt Aurifil #2000 (light sand) thread that blends in to the Kona Oyster background. On the right hand side, I used a 50wt Mettler #675 (imperial blue) thread. I wanted the vertical lines to interplay to evoke a sense of personal interactions and wave reflections that lead to distortions. I love the spaces left unquilted; they remind me of arches in grand cathedrals and speak to me of sacred, of space, of reflection.
The thoughts and emotions behind this process are raw, so the letters are raw edge appliqued down. I used Pellon 805 to fuse the letters to the background and applied Pellon 931TD on the backside of the fabric to help stabilize everything before blanket stitching around the letters prior to quilting.
I did not bury my threads. I chose to pull them to the top or bottom, tie them off, and clip them short. Again, I wanted this to have a slightly unfinished and raw feeling.
There are two layers of batting underneath the letters so that they puff out and away more than the rest of the quilt. I quilted pretty densely over the black line using a 50wt Mettler #003 (black) thread to smash down that area and have the “WO” puff up more and be softer around the harder lines surrounding them.
I sized the mini quilt so that it would hang on the wall just in front of my sewing machine as a reminder to embrace all of myself. The mini finished out at 19 inches wide by 16 inches tall.
- Background and Backing: Kona Oyster
- Letters and Binding: Kona Marine
- Strikeout: Kona Black
- 50wt Aurifil #2000 (light sand)
- 50wt Mettler #675 (imperial blue)
- 50wt Mettler #003 (black)