"Attempt" is another one of my story telling quilts. I know, it's only the second one - but hey, it's telling a story!
If you're following me on social media, you would have seen a few mentions of the great hexagon project. My daughter was spending some of her time during lockdown to cut out hexagons from my scrap bits and pieces. It was all done with appliqué paper.
So, this is "Attempt".
I hadn't decided on the name for this quilt until it was finished, though the theme was quite clear when I finished the fabric for the background. Does this happen to you too? You start a project, not quite knowing what it will be, but keep going until it dawns on you?
When the hexies were started, the plan was to put them on a piece of fabric, stitch them down with the longarm machine and ta-da, quilt is done. But over a few days the idea evolved.
The hand is my own - I took a photograph, and digitized the embroidery. It's all a tangle of thread, with different colours. I decided on the thread colour only at the time I stitched it out. The tester was on purple fabric using purple variations - and I liked how the fabric shows through the embroidery so I worked with the background.
Making this quilt
First of all I dyed my own fabric in yellow and then green to get an earthy effect. The hand was embroidered, and I painted the shirt sleeve using inktense blocks. A chunky zipper was stitched down half-open.
My daughter cut out all those little hexagons from appliqué paper on my leftover bits of fabric. These were ironed to the fabric.
Organza was layered over the hexagons and attached to the zipper before quilting on the longarm.
I have touched on the subject of depression before, in the quilt "Someone's War".
With "Attempt" I go there again: The attraction that suicide has when you're in a deep state of depression.
At some point, the attraction of death seems greater than the shards of glass that we call life. Life is hard, and it cut's like a knife (that's lyrics from Bryan Adams). When things fall apart, and everything seems to shatter in a million pieces, death looks attractive.
The organza covers the bright colours to give it a hint of reality. Death can't possibly be the only option, but it still looks better than all the glass shards surrounding you. Besides, the sharp edges push you closer to that relief that you're seeking. And the couching gives you such lovely comfy softness that is so soothing against the edges of the glass. This is all an illusion of relief from all the pain.
The organza also serves to give the glitzy look of a bright night out, but also the plastic toxicity that blocks life from death. The body bag that you're covered in when you've achieved your objective. But this doesn't happen without a fight. The sleeve is dirty and grimy because life is tough, and difficult, and the struggle is real.
The background colour is chosen on purpose. Yellow and light represents life, the green does too, but when you put the two together there is a degree of decay. The embroidered hand has areas where the fabric seeps through, that moment we've all seen in the ghost stories of halloween where life escapes and reality becomes a whisp of air.
The hexagons in all its multicolour glory represent the attractiveness that death may hold when you're at a point where a choice must be made between carrying on, or bringing it to an end. The darker colours closer to the zipper represents the darkness of death that isn't quite apparent until that zipper closes. The quilting is a complex arrangement of pipe channels, like getting trapped underground in this maze of beauty that just doesn't quite seem right.