Madonna of Transitions Art Quilt

The Madonna of Transitions has made several appearances at art galleries in the Detroit Metro area. Completed in 2021, this art piece started with an 8-inch by 11-inch panel sets of the Madonna of the Seven Stars I had saved for many years. The Madonna has been represented in several art quilts I have created. For this one, I wanted to show her acceptance of all who face transitions whether it is a transition from adolescence to adulthood or from life to death; whether it is a transition of working to retirement or from in the closet to out, whether it is from addiction to sobriety or from illness to health.

The small panel was machine embroidered with gold metallic thread and quilted with help from my Brother Dreamweaver.

The Dreamweaver has an amazing versatility when it comes to the number of stitches available. After 10 years, I still have not used every combination available. Love my Dreamweaver! The stitching is the star of this art quilt.

I am a scrap lover, always have been. A bag of scraps in odd shapes and sizes are inspiring and a challenge to create a mix of pattern and texture. As it went as I started to add to the Madonna panel sections of pieced blocks until I had a 20-inch composition with obtuse angles. I did not square off, I kept the odd edges and started adding ribbon and thread work skirting the Madonna central square.

Various widths and types of ribbon were used. (I am a ribbon hoarder as well as a fabric hoarder. My son told me in an exaggerating tone the other day; “Mom, I don’t think you have enough fabric.”) The ribbon and stitching followed the haphazard patterning of the fabric blocks meaning there was no distinct flow. It was fun to layer the gossamer ribbon indicating stops and starts in a transitional life. The mix of directions is a delight to the eye.

As I used a variety of ribbon and fabric, a variety of threads were used for the stitching /quilting. I have a passion for variegated thread use in fabric collage. Metallic threads provide the bit of glimmer I also love. This piece was so much fun to construct, and I honestly did not know the ultimate final shape as I worked. I had a 32-inch quilt shape with wonky edges and stepped back to determine my decision to move forward. I decided since the Madonna is used in medallions so often that I wanted an oval shape. I just happened to have a 25 inch oval embroidery hoop.

How handy was that? I had not used the hoop yet which I purchased for $5 at an estate sale. Once cut in the oval shape, I wanted to be sure the piece could be hung on the wall, so I cut a piece of Pellon #65 Extra Heavyweight Stabilizer I had in the closet from another project.

How would the piece be framed? A custom oval wood frame would be costly. As I considered my options, a black frame would be most appropriate. So back to the stash and a beautiful black and silver damask. A three-inch strip was cut and one side hemmed. The raw edge was pinned to the main oval with just enough gathering for the piece to gently fold to create a frame.

I had not bought one piece from the store to complete this piece. All items came from what I had at hand. The pictures truly do not relate the shimmer and beauty of this piece. It currently hangs in my bedroom but is for sale at my Etsy shop.

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