The phoenix image is just one that keeps coming back to me. A few months ago, I sold the phoenix quilt I made last year and felt I was in a different place in my life and wouldn’t use that image again. I thought about how I felt stronger and how maybe I was ready for imagery about power and already being strong, not still rising from the ashes. And then, I was hit hard by a few things in my personal life. Really hard. I realized that this idea of rising is recurrent. We don’t rise just once. It is a constant journey. A constant battle to leave behind the things, and sometimes the people, that pull us down and make us feel like we have no where to go, and that rising is not within our capabilities. Some people make us feel that way deliberately. Others do it in much more subtle ways. One of my biggest battles this year has been fighting the fear of insignificance.
We all want to matter. I want to matter. I want to feel like I’m worth a phone call, a kind word, a quick message to ask how I am or if I’d like to grab lunch and catch up. Something. Anything. And, don’t lecture me on how a healthy self-esteem would cure me of needing that reassurance from others and how I need to just know I am valuable deep within. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all of that. Sometimes, though….sometimes I want to FEEL it from another person. And that made me realize that I am still in the process of rising. Of peeling off whatever it is that holds my spirit down. I am still that phoenix looking up and lifting my wings and flying while part of me is still dripping flames and ash and all the things I’m trying to leave behind.
And that led me to this latest phoenix design using a very different technique. My first phoenix quilt, entitled “My Unconquerable Soul”, pictured on the left, was built entirely as appliqués. Every piece was cut and the edges were turned under and stitched down on top of a base batik. In my newest design, the background is a piecing extravaganza! (which is code for nightmare…) There is no way to cut out a bunch of one shape because the same shapes and sizes rarely exist in this piece. Once I piece together the background, I will build the phoenix as I did before, through a series of appliquéd feathers and layers that make up her body. And then the whole thing will be stitched, and most likely I won’t be able to resist adding lots and lots of Swarovski Crystals, though I’m not exactly sure where they will be placed just yet. She’ll let me know, though. When she’s good and ready.