Monday, July 16, 2012

Surfing the Planet of the Apes

This is the quilt in my header. I call it, "After the Fall: Surfing the Planet of the Apes."

It started out with a book by mixed media artist Sherrill Kahn, who writes about how to creatively paint, stamp and stencil on fabric. This particular technique involved a lot of wet fabric, masking tape stripes, cream and regular acrylic paints, and serendipity, my favorite thing.

I wound up with the central large rectangle, tan on the upper left, Caribbean blue elsewhere, with numerous  stripes. It looked like a beach, so I plopped a fish or two (cut from novelty fabric) on the blue side. And then I kept thinking that it needed a Statue of Liberty on the beach, which seemed very odd, until a few weeks later I woke up and realized that it was because of the final  scene in the first Planet of the Apes movie, when (spoiler alert) Charlton Heston, earth astronaut, shot into space in suspended animation, awakens several thousand years later on a planet where literate but cruel apes rule. At the movie's end, he is on the beach, and encounters the head and torch of the Statue of Liberty in the sand. That is the moment that he, and we, realize that they are not on an alien planet; they are on Earth, after an ape-friendly apocolypse.

Naturally, that got me thinking about the apocalypse we may face in the not-so-distant future, not from primates with British accents, but from climate change.

So I put the surfer in the sand.

If our waterways dry up, the next generation will need to invent recreational desert surfing. 

As for saving the environment, I had just learned to use Adobe Illustrator's multi-step 'blend' tool, which allows you to morph shapes from one to another in the number of steps you designate. I morphed the shape of the Statue of Liberty's torch, from its place on the upper left, first into old-fashioned lighbulbs, down the side borders, then into newer eco-friendly spiral lightbulbs, and then, further down  the sides and along the bottom border, some kind of fantastical bulb that has not yet been invented, but which we hope someone develops very soon, which will save enough energy to save the world.

I also extended some of the stencilled lines onto the black border, to unify the piece.

I had a lot of fun quilting waves, rocks, and some kind of radiating sea urchin-like circles into the water.
I wasn't sure what I was going to do with this admittedly odd piece, but fortunately, my teenage son took a liking to it, and now it hangs in his room. He tells me he's going to bring it to college with him next month! (Update: It now hangs over his bed at college!)

Wouldn't it be great if one of the fabric companies came out with Planet of the Apes fabric? I would definitely buy some of that! The only thing this quilt is missing is a kitchen sink, and a literate primate with a British accent.

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