“Pass It On” Challenge: My First Dream-Inspired Textile Painting

"Dream #1 - Alchemy" (c)2010 Ayn Hanna, 18"x24", Textile Painting (cotton fabric, cotton thread, cotton batting)

I completed this textile painting back in Jan this year. It is for an invitational quilt challenge sponsored by Machine Quilting Unlimited Magazine which I participated in along with 11 other artists.  I had to wait to show this piece until the whole group of 12 art quilts were published together in an article in the Sept issue of MQU magazine.

The challenge was titled “Pass it On” and was a fabric art version of the children’s game, “Telephone”.  In the game, one person whispers a sentence into the ear of another, who in turn then whispers what she heard to another, and so on until the final person repeats the sentence out loud (and it rarely resembles the original sentence).

Our fabric challenge consisted of 2 groups of six artists.  The first artist in each group started with the same photograph (“Ironton” by Aaron Angert posted below) as initial inspiration and each made an art quilt based on this photo.

"Ironton" (c) Aaron Angert (original color photograph)

Then each of them sent their quilts to the 2nd person in their respective groups but did not show them the original photograph.  The 2nd quilters then created their own original designs based only on seeing the 1st person’s quilt.  When finished they each “passed on” their quilts to the 3rd person in their group, who made a quilt inspired only by seeing the 2nd person’s quilt.  This process was followed through 6 artists in each group.

We each made a quilt which was inspired purely by seeing the quilt of the person before us and none of us saw any other person’s quilt, nor the original photo used for inspiration until the end of the challenge, when we got together as a group to see all 12 quilts and the original photo.

I was 4th in line in my group, and the quilt I was inspired by was “Nostalgic Moon” by Nora Jones:

"Nostalgic Moon" (c) Nora Jones, 18"x24", Art Quilt

When I first saw Nora’s quilt, it triggered a flashback to a very vivid dream I’d had and I knew right away what I was going to do for my quilt.  I sat down and sketched out a drawing, based on a powerful scene from my dream:

"Dream #1 - Alchemy" (c)2010 Ayn Hanna, 18"x24", Ink drawing

Here is my statement about “Dream #1 – Alchemy”:

Dream #1: Alchemy (Jan 2010) – MQU Pass it On Challenge Quilt

(Cotton fabrics, fusing, machine appliqué, cotton threads, machine quilting and embroidery, hand embroidery, paint sticks.)

When I received Nora’s quilt, I was struck with a vivid reminder of a very powerful dream I had about a year ago, and I knew immediately the image I was going to make for my quilt.  In Nora’s quilt, the black birds, mountainous landscape, and the dreamlike atmosphere all brought my dream right back to me.

In my dream I was on a journey, hiking through the mountains and valleys on a sad desperate search.  As I came over the top of a hill, I saw what I had been looking for – the scene of the “crash site”.  Under a huge golden vibrant tree, there it was – a big black bird that had crashed and died, a pile of feathers – my wreckage.  I had come to repair my bird.  I knelt down and started putting the pieces back together again, reconstructing my bird (myself).  While I worked, I felt a resurgent sense of energy within – not only was I rebuilding my bird, but this time, I was giving it rocket boosters!

As I watched my bird take flight, thrust so powerfully and confidently up into the air and headed for distant adventures, I felt the same rush of energy within me, my spirit healed and flying again.

Something I love about the finished quilt is that because of the size, shape, and color, the dead bird/pile of feathers can be read not only as intended (dead bird), but also on another level as an energized shadow of the living vibrant tree above.  And read on this level, the “tree of life” ultimately aids in alchemically transforming this pile of feathers into a living flying bird again.  This quilt carries messages on multiple levels for me personally, metaphorically, and pictorially.

The 12 artists who participated in the challenge are: Vicki Anderson, Kay Jones, Stephanie Patterson, Janet Pugh, Denise Labadie, Claudia Martin, Kit Robinson, Julie Hallquist, Nora Jones, Maxine Carlstedt, Vicki Carlson, and myself.

The full group of 12 quilts is displayed in the Sept issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine.  The group of quilts is also traveling throughout summer of 2011 and can be seen at the following venues:

Milwaukee Machine Quilting Show, Milwaukee, WI (Aug 3-7); Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival, Loveland, CO (Aug 20-22); Quilting With Machines in Ohio (Sept); The Firehouse Gallery in Longmont, CO (Jan 14 – Feb 19, 2011); Denver National Quilt Festival (April, 2011); and HMQS in Salt Lake City (May, 2011).


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6 Responses to ““Pass It On” Challenge: My First Dream-Inspired Textile Painting”

  1. Floor Lines Says:

    Floor Lines…

    […]“Pass It On” Challenge: My First Dream-Inspired Textile Painting « Ayn Hanna[…]…

  2. Nora Says:

    I’m amazed and honored that my quilt inspired your dream memories. What an amazing artist you are.

    • Ayn Hanna Says:

      Nora, thank you – your quilt is wonderful and when I sat with it to take it all in and ask what I should do next, it spoke to me quite clearly. I’m thankful for the quick clear path it sent me along, as I needed that whole month to get my piece done 🙂

  3. Ayn Hanna Says:

    Thanks you guys! It was interesting both to do the challenge and to do a piece based on a dream. It’s been awhile since doing this one, but I think there will be more dream-inspired works yet to come 🙂

  4. Joyce Meyer Says:

    Ayn, that is so interesting and beautiful. Congratulations to you and the other participants.

  5. Mom Says:

    There is hardly anything quite as significant as our dream world; this is a very strong piece; I have been watching in amazement as this has come together and I feel it speaks volumes. You should be extremely pleased.

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