Came this year’s Canfield Fair Fine Arts newest specialty category: Textile Tapestry: “An art quilt is a stitched and layered textile incorporating any material and employing any technique. Explore the many options of felting, weaving, embroidery, quilting or needlework using non-traditional, creative techniques.”
Tapestries. Of a manageable size, and more useful than a bed-sized quilt. I decided to quilt portraits of Tristan and Elisena. I used the fabric I’d collected—and I created some. I had heat-set fabric crayons. I sketched pieces for the portraits, Tristan and Elisena of course—but also Thomas. I had a stash of quilting fabric and samples of drapery fabric—sheer silk/metallic cloth that I could layer over other pieces. I used hand-dyed fleece to needlefelt a full moon. One of my hand-cut stencils is a unicorn. There are two unicorns stenciled on the tapestry—the first, gold one is hidden, because I decided it should be white pearl, and on a square of green silk. There’s dupioni silk too, and silver tissue, and dried laced-out leaves and some fresh-cut lavender.
Tristan has the moon and the unicorn—That’s for Moonshine, his early adventure when he and Thomas first met. Thomas is there, and Minstrel. And chickens, carefully cut from farm-theme fabric. There’s Valadan, the Warhorse of Esdragon. Tristan’s pouch of magic stones and feathers, with a real quartz crystal. There’s a beach, for his beach-combing habit. There’s mended denim there, and shortbread. There’s cloud batik fabric, because Tristan’s a weather-witch. The Sword of Calandra is there, in silver lame and dupioni silk.
Elisena is surrounded by botanicals, because that is her power. Her drop spindle with the flying birds is there, because it’s terribly important to her, even though she isn’t seen spinning in any of the books. There lavender stitched in, as well as lavender-print fabric, because lavender is her signature scent. And the Ten Rings of Allaire are there, every one of them, painted on silk and embellished with dyed wool. Yarn, hand-spun on my dealgan, a Scottish drop spindle, roams over all and binds it together.
Tristan’s portrait is covered with drapery silk tissue, and when I pulled it from the sample header, it tore. I chose to regard that rip as a happy accident, and placed it over Tristan’s left cheekbone, where Polassar punched him when they went into Radak. Where he met Elisena. Tristan’s face is veiled with the silk tissue—because he’s been hidden his whole life.
No one casually wandering through Fine Arts knew any of this. You have to have read the books. These are character tapestries.
They pleased the judges, though. Tristan got the blue ribbon, and Elisena the red. Now the Fair’s done, the tapestries are home, and I have to decide where to hang them!to edit.