One evening, as I noticed the challenge kit from the La Conner Quilt Museum on top of my quilting to-do pile, a flicker of an idea passed through my brain. Then, as I awoke the next morning, the flicker became a small flame, which in turn lead me to accept an invitation to spend an afternoon quilting with some friends, which (in order to have something to work on) got me rooting through my fabric stash.
Now, quilters, beaders, and artists of all types, will recognize the phenomenon caused by physically touching your materials, supplies, and tools. Suddenly your wearisome thoughts of the election (or whatever else got you down) are gone! You fondle your stuff lovingly, and with great anticipation, you make the first cuts, fanning the flame, turning it into a nice warm fire. Ah, saved from the chilly fog, at last!
Every year the Museum has a challenge as a fundraiser, showcasing the entries at the annual Quilt Festival. For 2017, the challenge theme is "Time" and the material provided in the kit is one of the vintage blocks from their collection. The block above is the one I picked. It is just so cheerful... how could I resist? Hand pieced, it wasn't perfectly sewn, but still I fell instantly in love with it. Mine for a $10 contribution!
Of course, it was just the block. In the photo above, I have already layered it with backing and batting, and then hand quilted it.
My idea is two-fold. (1) Since the "time" theme can be portrayed by a transition from these early fabrics to modern fabrics, I decided to repeat the block using Kaffe Fassett fabric scraps left over from my shimmer quilt. (2) Feeling powerless in the face of impending doom after the election, I had to find some ways to assert my beliefs, and this quilt was to be one of them. I've long been concerned about the ever-increasing world population, about all the small, yet constant ways overpopulation is damaging and destroying the natural systems of the planet. So the title will be: Under the Quilts, Time Flies, and the Population GROWS. My idea is to illustrate this concept using both color and beads. You'll see.
First though, a few words about making the modern block. At first I tried to make a pattern for the "flower/star" by tracing one of the triangles from the back side. I hand-stitched the required 16 pieces together FOUR different times, varying the seam allowances each time, trying to get it to lie down flat. Obviously, I did not correctly copy the original, because when I finally sewed it so it was nice and flat, it was also too small. Grrr.
A smart quilt friend (thanks Tori) suggested I trace a section from the right side of the block and add 1/4 inch seam allowances all around. Good idea, but there were small differences between the sections... which one to trace? Trying to answer that question, looking at the block, I finally saw how the pattern was derived! (Light bulb!!!)
Here is how they look with the binding.
Thus, the quilt also becomes darker as the eye travels from top to bottom. Here is how it looks with the two blocks on the background quilt, the transitioning colors from light to dark, representing about 70 years in time passing (estimating the date of the fabrics in the vintage block at approximately 1946). This is a relatively tiny period of world history, but one in which world population accelerated from 2.3 billion to 7.4 billion.
Now, here's a question for you loyal readers who have come so far with me on this thing. The quilt looks really pretty the way it is. But originally, I had planned to do more beading on it. I planned to bead several vines circling the outer border of the quilt (not the binding). Across the top of the quilt, the vine would be light green, with many green leaves, bright-colored flowers, and some critter beads/charms (bees, birds, bears, fish). As it trailed down the sides, it would become darker, until at the bottom it was beaded with dark brown, black, and darkest greens, with no critters, and only a few dark flowers. The message would be, "this is what happens when we overpopulate the world." What do you think... leave it like it is now or bead the borders?
Global Population InformationGlobal Footprint Network data shows that humanity currently uses the equivalent of 1.6 planet Earths to provide the renewable resources we use.. If all 7.8 billion of us were to enjoy a European standard of living (which is only HALF the consumption rate of the average American), the Earth could sustainably support only about 2 billion people (about a fourth of the world's current population).
Bottom line? The current population is more than THREE times the sustainable level.
Think of it this way. Every single month increasing world population adds another Los Angeles AND another Chicago to the planet. That's 24 gigantic cities worth of people every year.
Evidence of heavy population demand on resources is all around us. Global aquifers are being pumped 3.5 times faster than rainfall can naturally recharge them. Eventually they will run dry, perhaps as soon as 75 years. Topsoil is being lost 10-40 times faster than it is formed. Feeding all 7.8 billion of us is increasingly difficult, impossible actually. There is no technology solution to accommodate the increasing demand of uncontrolled global population growth. The only solution is voluntary one child per couple for a couple of generations, on a Global participation level. If all countries followed the lead of countries with the lowest birth rates (Taiwan, Spain, Portugal, South Korea, and Poland), we could reach a Global population of 3 billion by 2100!
Please, talk about this with your child-bearing-aged kids, grand kids, students, etc. We teach environmentally sound practices in most schools, write books and make documentary films about issues like clean water, over-fishing, fracking, etc. But rarely does the topic center on overpopulation. Be proactive. Make it happen.
If you are willing to read (or listen to an audio book) to learn more about Global population, Count Down is an excellent read.
Here is a link to the previous bead embroidery pieces I've made concerning population growth.Thank you for reading all the way to the end, and for anything you can do to help people understand what we need to do.