10 November 2015

Wonderful Light

I am thrilled and happy to announce that my latest art quilt, Ex Tenebris Lux ("Out of darkness comes light"), was awarded first prize in the modern series in Finn Quilt's (the national quilt association of Finland) national competition this autumn. The theme was "Ihana Valo", which is Finnish for "wonderful light" – a topic that is always current in a country so far north, where we either have light in abundance in the summer, or hardly any in the winter. The return of the light in early spring is the return of life in many ways. Not only as an awakening of nature, but also of the spirit. The dusty winter curtains of the mind are pulled back and light floods in. Hope grows. Energy levels rise. Eyes are opened to a new world in colour.

This is the first time I've entered a juried competition and although I did it with the serious intention of doing my very best to win an award, I didn't dare hope to actually win. I was overwhelmed, overjoyed and grateful when I had the news of the judges' decision. A lot of work (blood, sweat and tears – not only metaphorically, but quite literally!) went into the making of the quilt. A small ink drawing I did almost two years ago, at the end of winter (likewise a spiritual winter) was the inspiration. A good reason to keep an art journal!

As you can see, I developed this black and white sketch quite a lot by changing the angle of the head and stretching out the neck to emphasize the way the woman stretches herself like a flower towards the sun, and I made her hair blonde to counterpoint darkness and light throughout the quilt.

Below are some detail shots of the quilt, and in my next blog entry I'll describe the process of making it. I created all the fabrics myself by dyeing, painting and printing cotton and silk organza, so it would be too much information to cram into one blog entry. This is the amount of thread colours that went into the quilt:

I do have an extensive collection of embroidery threads that I have built up over the years. I love to be able to spill out my threads on the floor and pick out the rainbow that I need for a particular project. I spend a lot of time auditioning colours to find the one that is exactly right, or at least as close as possible to what I want. This obsession with colour and excessive amounts of art supplies in all the colours of the rainbow has been called "rainbowitis" – a word I learned from Jane Davenport. (Check her out!)

Here are some close-ups of the face and hair decoration:

And the four corners of the quilt:

Thanks for visiting my blog and stay tuned for the next entry, where I will show you more process images.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Melly! I hope there will be more to come. I have some plans. It feels good. :-)

  2. I agree with Melly. It is absolutely gorgeous and so moving. I can relate to the figure since we have daylight for about 8 hours in the winter and 18 hours in the summer. Not nearly what you have to endure, but bad enough. I can feel the warm sunshine on her face. The quilting and hand stitching add so much to the over all effect. Congrats!

    1. Thank you Jeannie! And I can't image what it's like in Lapland, where they have 3 months without daylight! Apparently the snow and moon make up for some of the loss. It's funny, what you said about the warm sunshine is almost exactly what the judges said in their statement. :-)