Speaking of time whizzing by, that's how it feels to me when I look back over the last year & a half I spent being part of the Secret Society of Barn Builders. When I got the email from Julie on Christmas Day of 2014 inviting me to come along on this journey it was pretty exciting. (It was also pretty good for my ego but the fact that I wasn't allowed to tell anyone about it kept my head from exploding and my feet on the ground.)
I started with a rough sketch and a fabric pull; even though The Stashpocalypse wasn't even a blip on my fabric hoarding radar back then I was happy to have lots of choices already in my stash to chose from.
When Chris Ballard quilted this one she added in some great details...like for example, the stove pipe chimney I forgot to add during my piecing frenzy but was too lazy to revisit with a seam ripper once I realized it. She did a great job giving life to the piece, the quilting took my design to a whole new level.
The second piece was an imaginative barn, The Purple Post Ranch. I'm not sure if I sketched this one or not, if I did I didn't take a photo of the sketch. A trip to Avonport Discount Fabrics in the Valley yielded some great fresh fabrics to add to my stashed bits for this piece.
The day The Enabler and I went fabric shopping it was a total retail therapy day as I had whacked my index finger a couple days earlier with my rotary cutter making free pieced fishes. I remember gazing at this wintery barn out the window while we were eating lunch thinking it would make a great jumping off place for a snowy farm scene but I couldn't share my thoughts. I had a tonne of fun with the building of this barn...minus the wounded finger, of course. It's ended up a bit of a statement piece, I suppose, in so many ways.
The lady in the blue dress driving the giant tractor? Well...what Julie was too polite to tell you in the write up on the books blog was that everytime I looked at her I saw a gutsy, hardworking country girl flipping her finger to the boys in the barn...."Look at me! I can do anything!" I'm a little like that I guess...gutsy, outspoken, a bit defiant. She resonated with me on some level. If you look carefully at the process pictures you'll see that I did some colour touching up on and around the skyline of her square too...her sky had a yellow tone that wasn't present in the other blues of my sky fabrics so I blended some yellows in here and there as well with my trusty pencils. Hindsight being what it is, I probably could've rubbed in a little more.
And the purple posts? Why not! I don't have to tell any of my regular readers how much I love purple. Way back in my early free piecing adventures I was able to build a Purple Cow so it stands to reason that somewhere there should be a farm with purple fencing, right?
Oh...and the words? Pretty self explanatory, right? I free pieced those on to complete my social statement before I knew that Julie wanted both barns. In the beginning, I thought I was just sending one barn for the gallery. There is a big movement here in Nova Scotia that is trying to encourage people to support small farms, to think about sustainability and to preserve a way of life.
I decided to applique the Buy Local sign to the side of the barn as it isn't at all uncommon to see big advertising signs and billboards stuck up on otherwise bare walls. I recall memories of driving past a certain barn on the way to Malagash every summer that has a giant sign proclaiming the date for "The Annual Steer Bbq". I remember looking into the fields wondering which of the beautiful beasts was going to be the unlucky one. The sign is still there, apparently we've not run out of good beef here yet...sustainability is the key!
These two hangings, along with the gallery works of all my fellow SSOBB's are going to hang in at least 3 public shows beginning in the fall: AQS Chattanooga: Sept 14-17, 2016, AQS Des Moines: Oct 5-8, 2016, and at the annual Davies Manor Quilt Show in Memphis: Nov 4-6, 2016.
Since I've got the whole week to share my Build-A-Barn adventures with you later in the week I'll show you a couple more projects that were inspired by my SSOBB experience.
Oh...and I almost forgot...
There'll be a signed copy of the Build-A-Barn book to give away so stay tuned!