Songs In My Head

My father-in-law, Bruce, was a wonderful improvisational piano player. I have fond memories of his visits to our home or our visits to his home, where he would sit at the piano and play some of the classic old hymns at all times of the day. While he did take piano lessons and did learn to read music, he realized early on that he preferred to play pieces “his way”. As an adult, he did not use sheet music, but rather, he would play by ear.

Even though Bruce passed away over ten years ago, we are fortunate that he gifted each of the family members with a CD of him playing the piano. Listening to this CD brings back memories that seem like they were just yesterday.

When my youngest son moved into his own apartment last year, I was left with a room with blank walls. What art should I put up in this additional guest room? I played with many ideas in my head. None seemed to “strike a cord” with me until this spring when I was listening to some classical music. Since I hadn’t listened to Bruce’s CD in a while, I pulled it out to play. While looking at the cover, I realized that the cover work would make a beautiful wall quilt that I could hang above the bed. And, since the bed in this new guest room was covered with a guitar quilt that I made years ago, a piano wall quilt would go well in the room.

I played around with the design for a while. And, once I had something that looked good on my computer, I projected the image onto the wall above the bed to see if I liked it – I did.

For the background, I cut an adhesive stencil featuring with some music from the song that Bruce wrote for my wedding, and a few stray notes (because life always have moments that don’t “follow the path”). The stencil was filled with Color Magnet and the fabric was dyed with Antique Gold dye.

All of the fabrics were custom dyed cotton to match the colors of the graphic, and the pieces appliqued with needle-turn technique. For the “leading” of the stained glass image, I considered several ideas. I finally settled upon couching with a hand dyed wool yarn dyed grey to give the illusion of leading that I was looking for. Machine quilting and a piped binding then finished off the quilt. The result matched my design very well.

To fill the space on another blank wall in the room, I made a strip guitar quilt using scraps of batik in my stash. I do have one more blank wall to add some art to – perhaps a pine needle weaving art piece.

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