Monday, June 06, 2011

Two Hours at the Beach

(Above: Two Hours at the Beach, art quilt ... yup! It's more than three layers ... two of which are fabric ... held together with stitches! 51" x 38". Click on image to enlarge.)

I generally don't create work for specific competitions or juried shows. My "to do" list is already too long with my own ideas. Adding another project just seems unreasonable. So ... when the Brush Gallery's Art Quilt Lowell 2011 announced that there would be a theme for this year's event, I thought I wouldn't enter.

(Above: Two Hours at the Beach. Click on image to enlarge.)

Their theme is "the sea". I don't do "the sea" ... but a nagging idea kept haunting me. I couldn't resist the challenge. I couldn't resist the concept of using "trash" collected from the beach as the raw material for an art quilt. The piece is meant to resemble a cross section of the ocean ... from the rock floor, the plant life, and the white capped surface of the water.

(Above: Two Hours at the Beach, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

My first trips to the ocean resulted in almost no waste. South Carolina's beaches are kept very, very clean ... especially in the late winter and spring months. Then, I went to Folly Beach ... to a location with easy access to the inlet just around the bend from the wide sandy areas. Here, trash was EVERYWHERE. It took only two hours for me to pick up all this "junk". Later, I separated all my "materials", washed them, and lay out my design on a large piece of acrylic felt that had once been used as packaging material for a kayak being shipped from a distributor to the local outdoors shop. (I blogged about this HERE ... with images of all the "junk".)

(Above: Two Hours at the Beach, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

I used wedding tulle ... leftover from my I do / I don't installation ... over the top of the design. It was then placed on an over-sized piece of acid free, foam-centered board. I stitched straight through the tulle, the felt, and the foam-centered board. Some of the pieces had to be wrapped in tulle separately ... then stitched down. Some of the container tops were places on top of the tulle and held in place with a button from my stash. Most of the objects were either "couched" in place or stitched around to encapsulate them in the tulle. I trimmed the foam-board as I stitched the edge.

After it was finished ... something seemed "missing" on the top. I added the crab shells that I collected while visiting Daytona Beach last month with my parents. Since they are so fragile, I filled them with hot glue first. Since they were added after the back was complete, I can easily replace/remove them if they are damaged.

I used a piece of hot pink acrylic felt (which I have no idea why I owned) for the back ... stitching it along the edge ... straight through to the front. Black, wooden strainer bars were cut as a hanging device. I stitched it straight through the entire piece to the reverse and added a wire.

The old license plate dates to 1959, the year of my birth. It was given to me by my neighbor Gita who cleaned out her storage shed recently! I painted out the numbers using tinted shellac and added my name and the title of the piece.

Most importantly, I finished in time to enter it in this competition. Whether it is accepted or not isn't really important to me. I loved the challenge and the results. I love the message. (Can you believe that I found TWO plastic dental floss tools? Who flosses at the beach? Why do so many people leave all this trash along our seashore?)


Julie said...

I hope your 'Beach' piece is accepted Susan, it's a very strong statement about the terrible waste that washes up on our shores all around the world and it looks exciting too.

Mosaic Magpie said...

I noticed the flossers when I enlarged the photos and thought the same thing you thought. I had to laugh when I read that at the end of the post. All the handles to sand shovels and the bottles! Really neat stuff and leave it to you to make a masterpiece from them.
Another job well done. Your brain is amazing!

Lynn Cohen said...

Weird to say but I am glad you found a dirty beach because the piece is terrific. And I do hope it gets in the show, it should.

Elizabeth said...

Another wonderful piece witha great message. I know that Alot of this stuff ends up on the beach after being washed off of roads and into storm drains. most storm drains end at the beach. In my expereince at SC beaches in the charleston area, the beaches had alot of junk, especially after lots of rain!! I hope this piece is accepted!!!!!!

Wanda said...

very neat piece. I like it. It goes along with the plastic bag dress and recycled clothing too. Some of this stuff relly does have to be washed to the shores by rainwater because it doesn't make any sense. I still don't get how you attached everything. I only really know how to attach rocks when they have little holes drilled into them.

Anonymous said...

I love the layered, zonal composition of this piece. And how nice to think the beach is a little bit cleaner now!

lynda Howells said...

It is stunning and so beautifully put togetherx hope it gets exceptedx lynda

lynda Howells said...

I also meant to would have a great time on most English beaches....there is always flotsom and jetsom( think that is how you say it) floating around and deposited on our beaches. They are a LOT cleaner than they used to be 20 years ago but most of them could do better. I was amazed when in Barcalona when they had a small craft going up and down the beaches with nets catching everything before it got to the beach. Also they had cleaners on the beach within mins if anything was broken or spilt!!

grey tail said...

love it! good luck, it looks great, disturbing...but great :-)