Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Reflections of our Fathers

I just found out yesterday that my piece "Reflections of our Fathers" was accepted into the Dinner @ Eight Exhibit called Reflections. I am so honored to be selected this year to have my work displayed as part of a collaborative group of talented artists, interpreting the theme in a unique and personal way with fiber and with different techniques.  I love to see all the different perspectives from the different artists. I love to see their individual approaches to the same theme and I love to hear the stories behind the pieces most of all! This exhibit will start in Houston in October at Quilt Market and move on from there to be exhibited in other venues. 

I thought I would share my piece with you now that we are free to show our artwork. My piece is a tribute to the men in my life that have gone off to war to protect my freedom while putting themselves in harms way. The selfless sacrifice that all these men and women make is very dear to my heart. The men in my life, my dad, my father in law, my son in law and a few of my friends all went off to war. My father in law actually was only 17 when he enlisted and was definitely shaped by the Marine Corps. He passed away in 2012 at 91 but he and left behind pictures and a diary which I poured over. I wanted to do a quilt that honored him and all these men in my life, and one that would represent all the young men and women that have left whole and often return far from that.  It still brings tears to my eyes to think that these young people are fighting for all of us, many of them not much more than boys.  My father in laws diary allowed me a glimpse into the mind of a young man on the battle field, not knowing if today was going to be his last day.

The process of creation, from inception to completion:  I had some photos that I had taken at a Veterans day celebration at a local airport. The men were dressed in vintage uniforms and there were vintage planes flying in and out. I was there painting and photographing the scene with a local art group. It was raining and I asked the men to stand in front of this puddle as I photographed them. There reflections were varied due to the variations of the water in the puddle, some were broken, some were whole but to me it reflected the way they might have returned to the states after war. I wanted to use this photo for years but was waiting for the right way to use it to tell the story I wanted to tell. This format of long and skinny allowed me to use a few of the soldiers in the photo and incorporate the reflections.  I went into Photoshop and found a flag on the internet (copyright free) and made it look old with filters, then I placed it behind the men. I then scanned in the text from my father in laws diary. I laid the text over the flag and behind the soldiers. I then inverted it so that the reflection shows the flag and a different page of the diary. I appliquéd all of the soldiers and their reflections to make them stand out off of the background. I then added details with paint and pencils. I had a old piece of linen that was yellowed with age. This fabric would have been thrown out by most quilters yet it had the character I was looking for. I took it and added the borders so that it would look like an old, aged photograph. I then added photo-holders made out of felt, the ones from those photo albums from yesteryear. That addition helped bring the whole look to life.

For me, this quilt isn't about the war, it isn't about if you believe in war or not. Its about the men in my family that were brave enough to face the unknown, to venture into hell as boys and returned as men. Leaving their families and homes behind, to be dropped into another country so that I have the freedom to live my life in the pursuit of happiness. Returning home many were broken, injured and struggled to regain all that they left behind. This quilt honors them and my father in law, that left behind his hand written journal so that we could retell his story.


Diane Perin Hock said...

Desiree, this is just stunning... A wonderful response to the theme, so beautifully executed.

"JeanneG" said...

Wonderful Desiree.

Joan Tavolott said...

First of all congratulations on this being accepted! This is just beautiful and a wonderful tribute to all those who served. It is a very moving piece. Just curious about the size of this. Well done, Desiree!

Desiree Habicht said...

Thanks everyone! I appreciate your comments. Joan it is 24"x60".

Giddings Art said...

What a stunning tribute!! This piece is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your process. Congratulations on being accepted into the Dinner @ Eight Exhibit! I would love to see it in person.

California Fiber artist and composer said...

Congratulations on your acceptance. The photo corners were a brilliant idea.

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