Friday, 28 October 2011

Through The Window

I think I mentioned before that I have recently joined a group that calls itself The International Quilt Challenge group.  Our second challenge which is due for completion and reveal on 25 November is titled 'Through The Window' and I have been giving it a lot of thought over the past few weeks.  My immediate, and probably obvious, first thought was 'Through the round window.....' as in Play School.

Similar to the last challenge, as soon as you start thinking about windows you see them everywhere (well, they are aren't they?) and you start thinking about every interpretation of 'through' and 'window'.  A window to the past, a window through time, windows of the soul, window of opportunity, looking in through the window, looking out through the window.  Window - an opening allowing a connection between one space and another, light pours in through the window, a surface that reflects light and its surroundings. A window can be many shapes; it can be clear, frosted, reinforced, mottled, distorted, etched, of many colours.

An abstract painting that I made on the subject of looking back through time which was made with a window cut from a photograph incorporated into layers of torn watercolour paper with crayon marks added and manipulated in Photoshop.

Inevitably, and to cut a long story short for the moment, my thoughts turned to stained glass windows, which I love for the light that they allow to pass into the room.  The window above is part of the stained glass in Chester Cathedral and I have used part of it previously in a watercolour sketch (still need to find that).  

In our local parish church we have a beautiful stained glass window by John Hayward entitles Christ Walks on the Water.  With the Quilt Artist's eye that I now have I can see several ways of interpreting this window.


Over the years, and particularly in the past these stained glass windows were a way through which people who could not read learned the Bible stories.  Over the years stained glass windows have become more abstract and convey their meaning in other ways.  

As a way of finding my way into this challenge I thought I would play about with cut through fabrics, especially after reading an item by Naomi Renouf in the June 2010 issue of Workshop on the Web   that I found on my computer.


I've started by layering scraps of fabrics onto a background and securing them under a layer of organza with stitching running at right angles to the run of the fabrics.  Subsequently I cut through the channels deciding as I went along how far down to cut.

The next step is to machine at right angles to the first lines of stitch opening up and catching down each cut layer to reveal what lies beneath. (detail above)


I am quite pleased with the result so far.  I feel it has some of the movement in the window in St Wulfram's church and I am excited to work it on a larger scale.  

I have been trying to decide whether this would work with a more transparent feel to it so that light can actually shine through and I've made a further piece but have not achieved that transparnecy yet.  Once you start thinking and looking there are a lot of ways of interpreting (light) through the window and I'm glad I've got a few more weeks to work on this project.

I have been trying to track down a link to a programme that brought home to me the power of stained glass some time ago and I can't find it.  I think it was  a clip of (?Rolf Harris/Michael Palin?) in a chapel with stained glass windows designed I think by Chagall or maybe Matisse.  My overriding memory is of the presenter standing in the chapel with light from the window pouring over his fingers like water.  For some reason the image took my breath away and brought a lump to my throat.  Such is the power of light through a window.


17 comments:

artymess said...

lovely work I like that technique ..x

sweetypie said...

julie, thats fantastic, can we all play?

Annabel said...

I know what you mean about the power of light coming through a stain glass window, bathing you in colour. There is the most fantastic one in Coventry cathedral, but I love the modern slant of the one in your local church...isn't it beautiful! It was good to read about your processes too Julie; a very original take and I shall definitely be tuning in to see the results in November. It's all very exciting.x

ju-north said...

Beautiful! I love this effect - can't wait to see more!

gilby said...

Hi Julie,
It is Marc Chagall All Saints' Tudeley. Colour are stunning.

Heather said...

I love your first image with the torn papers and the idea of looking back through time.
However, your samples with manipulated fabric pleats/tucks are stunning and the colours 'say' stained glass.
Whatever you do it's bound to be a success, and what a super challenge.

Annette J said...

This is going to be really special, as it is already. Very creative.

Peneller said...

Very thought provoking Julie. Your stained glass interpretation looks really good. I hope you solve your transparency problem. I've yet to try it, but Lutradur might work.

Sue Wild said...

Lovely piece of work with the layers of colours. Really good interpretation of what influences it, too. I also like your photo of the modern stained glass window in the church.

Trudi said...

Julie, this is stunning, I can't wait to see where it takes you, :)

sharon young said...

What a great starting point, Julie, it was lovely to read your thoughts on how to begin and i love what you've done so far, it's a great interpretation of the vibrant colours in the stained glass windows.
I think something translucent is a really good idea.

Wendy said...

I have had a sneak peek at your sample piece and it glows, it is gorgeous. Can't wait until I see your finished big piece :)

quilthexle said...

That looks great - something more I have to try. I love the idea of trying it with transparent fabrics !!

Downunderdale said...

looking great Julie - love the technique and colours

Ro Bruhn said...

Lovely piece and what a great technique.

Maggi said...

A lovely piece Julie. I do hope that you you get the transparency idea to work

underatopazsky said...

I've really enjoyed catching up with all your doings! I love colours of the batik strips in the Roman lines blocks and your stained glass window quilt is brilliant. It manages to convey exactly the movemnt and colour of so much modern stained glass without needing the translucency. :o)