Wednesday, January 04, 2006

American Gothic Challenge

There is a group on the quilting forum who designed quilts based on different works of art this year. It is called the ARTImage Challenge. I did not participate, but read the posts and looked at the new works of art as they were revealed. The October challenge was the famous picture American Gothic.

When this challenge was announced, I was taking a trip with my dad to the family farm. My grandmother has gotten too old to live there by herself, so we helped her move into a retirement home and auction off some of her stuff and a small parcel of land and the buildings. Part of this farm has belonged to my family since the late 1700's as payment for fighting in the Revolution. We still own that part.

Do to this coincidence of events, I decided to take on the American Gothic challenge. This piece is the first time I have worked as an artist instead of a crafter, and I can feel the difference. Making the quilt did not take very long. Designing it and getting over the hump of actually starting it with some sort of confidence took a long time for me. It was going to have more stuff on it, like a farm house, barn, silo, sheep, etc. I decided I like it better plain.

Runyan Farm
by Julie Kokan
15x15 inches

This quilt depicts my dad as a little boy feeding a lamb named Oscar Pepper. What you don't see in the picture is that as soon as the lamb finished the bottle he turned around and knocked my dad down. I found this picture in the house the night before the auction and knew I had to do something with it.

This picture was my first ever attempt at putting a picture onto fabric. I did it the expensive way with the Printed Treasures. Although it worked great, I will buy some Bubble Jet Set when I run out of the fabric sheets. However, I wanted something easy that I knew would work for my first attempt at this process.

I think this quilt will be the first in a series. I am working on getting a picture of my mom when she was little to make a similar one of her. She grew up in the city, so I am thinking of more of city background for hers. From there, I will go to my husband's parents.

I hope you all enjoy my first foray in to art.


Linda said...

Jules, this is really awesome. What a great leap into art quilts! The picture is priceless, as is the story with it. The info about your family's land history is great. I hope ya'll hang onto the plot for a long time.

Micki said...

what a nice way to memorialize a piece of family history.

Pat/SWquilter said...

It's a wonderful piece Jules! I love those old family photos anyway - and your story about what happened to your dad after the picture was snapped is priceless!

Debra Spincic said...

Jules, you stinker! How about joining us this year for the AIC??

I had something similiar with Wes's picture & story for my AG. After the picture was taken of him with his mom, he went into the kitchen and sawed the leg off the wedding reception table. All the food went crashing to the floor.

"That will teach you to get married, Mom!" (an angry 4 year old boy!)

Jane Ann said...

Wonderful commemoration, Jules. My first husband's father finally had to let go of the Revolutionary War land grant farm in his family, and it just killed me, even though I knew no one was interested in living there or even visiting any more.

PaigeTurner said...

The photo and story are priceless--I am sure you'll treasure this piece forever! I like the way your quilting echoes the rolling hills feeling of the "landscape" you've created.

I agree that adding a barn and animals etc. etc. would be too much. Let your dad's photo be the star!!!!!

After you've set this piece aside for a while, you might change your mind and decide you want to enhance your piece with something small. It would be totally cool if you had some small pieces of family memorabilia (medals/dog tags? vintage buttons or charms?) to coordinate with your piece. Even something like an old "skeleton" style key. Sorry, just having fun brainstorming....

Great work! I look forward to seeing more!
Beth a.k.a Paige Turner

Rian said...

Jules, I love it and can see it as a series. It will be a wonderful thing to commemorate your family's history in fabric.

Jules said...

Thanks for all the wonderful comments. I am so glad you all like it.


The Calico Cat said...

I love the quilt! (I want to do something similar (use photo transfer/expressive yet simple background), but the plan has not been completed in my brain yet....)

Deb Geyer said...

Nice piece Jules! I have been wanting to do similar work for some time. Your work is inspiration to do it.

Samantha said...

This is lovely- what a great fisrt foray! I love the combination of phot and background, and look forward to seeing the one for your mom.