October 24, 2022

Cosmic Curves

My latest quilt was inspired by the iconic mosaic at First Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama.

I designed the quilt using computer drawing software, drawing various large ellipses and capturing their overlaps. The resulting pattern shapes were printed on 36"x72" paper by PDF Plotting.

The fabrics in the quilt are all yarn dyes. I used a number of Allison Glass Kaleidoscope and Kaffe Fassett shot cottons. There are also two Kona Sheen (Dazzling Blue and Green Shimmer), plus Essex Speckle in Aqua; these provide some textural contrast.

(When I first saw Kona Sheen in a shop I thought there were metallic threads interwoven in the fabric; they are actually standard Kona solids printed with a metallic overlay.)

The quilt is finished with a facing, using a tutorial by Audrey Esarey at Cotton & Bourbon.

I generally use wool batting for my quilts -- I like how the puffiness gives definition to the quilting. But for this quilt, because of the need for heavy pressing to complete the facing, I wanted to avoid wool. Instead, I used two layers of cotton batting (Quilters Dream Select). I like how well the quilting shows; the drawback is the quilt feels relatively stiff.

I quilted different designs in each segment of the quilt.

The backing, facing, and hanging sleeve are an ombre by P&B.

The mosaic at First Baptist Church was completed in 1973 and depicts the Cosmic Christ as described in Revelation 1.  The original installation did not weather well, and a complete restoration was begun in 2017; the restoration was completed just this year.

The mosaic is sometimes affectionately referred to as Eggbeater Jesus.

While the artwork of the mosaic is based on Biblical references, influence of the Rocket City's ties to NASA and the space program are apparent as well, as are the influences of the time (1960s-70s).

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