I have been obsessed lately with the idea of cutting up paintings and making them into quilts. Friends have been donating paintings; I have been finding them at the thrift stores; taking them off my own walls. The strange, electric shock of running a rotary cutter across someone's artwork is the kind of intense sensation hard to get in a standard quiltmaking project.
On this quilt, just out of the machine, I have combined the cut up paintings with another of my recent ideas: paying homage to the great quiltmakers of the 19th and early 20th centuries. This one contains a quilted version of the only known picture of Harriet Powers, maker of the fantastic Bible quilts that can be found in the Smithsonian and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. (http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/pictorial-quilt-116166)
In thinking of a way to honor harriet, I got thinking about the memorial arches like the Arc de Triomphe. I realized I could combine my obsessions if I just made the arch out of paintings, with all the metaphorical implications that might follow. The sky above her is lit with stars.
Harriet herself, once a slave in Georgia, is on a pedestal in the middle, in an image I drew with a digital pen and sent to my Fusion longarm:
I feel like I am starting to get where I want to go with this series. At the moment I am collecting new paintings for another quilts, but the painted canvas is so hard to work with I may give myself a break and use regular fabric for a change. I'll just have to generate my own electricity.