Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wings to Fly (12 x12)


I finished another little quilt in my bird series. When I went to PIQF this summer I bought some fabric with images of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo on it. It also has little banners with quotes from her diaries. The banner I chose for the top translates: "Why do I need feet if I have wings to fly."

Frida has a fan-base all over the world. She was a woman who sought creativity and freedom and who battled the aftereffects of a crippling streetcar accident all her life, including infertility. The dramatic film of her life, Frida, in which she is played by Salma Hayek, is visually stunning, but it overemphasizes her relationship to her husband, the painter Diego Rivera.

In addition to the Frida cut-outs, I used a machine applique of birds that Debra gave me, and I set them on a vintage handkerchief. I attached the applique with French knots, which I also used to mark the edges of both the floral design and that nice moon-like circle in the background. I adhered Frida to the piece with good old-fashioned heat and bond. Then I embellished with beads, embroidery, and sequins.


I left the flounce of the skirt free, because it overhangs the edge of the hanky. I backed it with a scrap of fabric



and at the end I added a lace petticoat.



Frida was well known for wearing Mexican folk costumes. Adding sequins to the skirt made her outfit like the the costume of La china poblana, the national costume of Mexico, known for its elaborate embroidered and embellished skirt. The other banner in the piece says: "I feel like living, so I started to paint."


You can see how I lapped the hanky over the binding to preserve the rolled edge. This piece was a gift to my friend Leslie, a very talented painter and big Frida fan, who married her long-time partner recently. In California same-sex marriages were outlawed after the last election, so their union is not recognized by the state.

This was a fun project, very much like playing with paper dolls.

13 comments:

Libby said...

Wow, that is a really interesting piece. I love all the texture, especially the skirt detail. A special gift.

Debra said...

You made Frida proud! What a great piece (one of your best) and I so love how the birds worked into the design.

I am sure the couple loved it too!

Cheryl said...

I have really been enjoying your blog, and your Frida piece is wonderful in it's creativity and use of color. I'm looking forward to seeing more!

Judy S. said...

What a wonderful piece, Barbara. I just love the colors! We saw an exhibit of her work locally after seeing the movie. Both were great! Your friends are sure to treasure this quilt.

Kay said...

This is really wonderful. I love the skirt detail--and, of course, she has no feet!

Magpie Sue said...

What fun! First to make, and then to look at :- ) Very skillful use of the french knots and other embellishments. Way to go!

sophie said...

I especially love this one, too: the composition and the bead and embroidery embellishments. Brava!!

Granny Fran said...

Fantabulous! And very, very Frida!
I so enjoy your Mexican pieces. You put so much feeling into them.

*karendianne. said...

Wow! I'm a Frida fan. I believe it was in the movie "Intermezzo" where I noted her work a window during a particular scene.

Not the point.

What a lovely, beautiful piece you've created here. Wow!

Plays with Needles said...

This is really a great piece, Barbara! Frida looks fabulous!

Maddie Can Fly said...

Beautiful piece. I especially like using the french knots on the applique piece. Thanks for the great photos and close ups.

dee said...

I keep coming back to look at this again and again. It's so wonderful.

Allison Ann Aller said...

Just stunning, Barbara.
Debra's embroidery adds such dimension...and you integrated all the elements of this piece so elegantly.
What a pleasure to look at and read the process of how you did it, too.
Many thanks...