Margaret Blank – Motion – “Dervish!”
When we received the title of this challenge, and it’s subsequent elaboration to include the idea of ‘movement’, I was glad I’d had some experience with translating the topic into textiles before — in Elizabeth Barton‘s Master Class in 2015. At that time I did it all straight from sketch to stitch and wasn’t entirely happy with the results…as in the sample below:
A year later (or so) the 15 x 15 theme, “Mono-print” came along — and that learning experience was key to my creation for this “Motion” piece.
As for inspiration behind the subject, that came more easily! I have several favourite music videos that I watch repeatedly on YouTube, and two of them had images of people in motion that simply captivated me: the “whirling” Dervish. A Dervish (or Darvesh) is a member of the Muslim sect, the Sufi, and the “whirling” is part of a ceremony called the Sama, and the type of whirling known in the West is that practiced by the Mavlevi order of Dervish from Turkey.
Though I heard about “whirling Dervishes” as a child, who they were and how or why they ‘whirled’ was unknown to me. When I saw them in Tim McGraw’s video, “Humble and Kind” and Carrie Newcomer’s “There’s Room at the Table”, I recognized them and was enthralled. Moreover, I knew just what image I wanted to recreate for my “Motion” piece.
Now, I don’t do figurative work for a reason: I don’t enjoy it, and don’t “see” well enough to do it justice. That said, I do enjoy line drawings, and found a few on the internet to inspire me, such as this one:
and this one
I really liked that one, but wanted to fill the space with a trio, so I set to work to draw out the image in my own hand. I also wanted to keep the piece simple — like a line drawing — and that’s where the mono-printing came in. After a few samples, I made a large template on paper, and printed it onto plain white fabric. I used a black acrylic paint — Golden brand “Open Acrylic” in “Bone Black” — that has a built-in ‘extender’ and was thrilled that it stayed wet enough for me to complete not only this drawing but a couple of ‘stick bushes’ pieces for miniatures, about which I’ve posted on my blog. It was still sticky — so I could have done more if I’d had the time. I’m going to have to plan to make a larger batch in my next session!
Once printed, dry and pressed, I sandwiched my drawing and free-motion quilted it with plain black thread. Then I went back in with scraps of bright red hand-dyed fabric and added a dash of colour for the hats — fused down, but not stitched.
The piece called for a black ‘frame’, so I finished it with a narrow black bias binding — et voila!
Materials: poly-cotton fabric (recycled sheet), hand-dyed cotton, commercial bias binding, fusible web, cotton blend batting, cotton and polyester thread.
Techniques: mono-printing, free-motion machine quilting.
I’ll leave you with one of the songs that inspired this piece — Carrie Newcomer’s There’s Room at the Table”. CLICK HERE …and look for the Dervishes!