Today is What's Leah Working On Wednesday and I'm super happy to say that I'm working on a new goddess quilt design!
This pretty girl is called Hot Cast. I saw the image of this quilt while in the trenches of Sinkhole and she has stayed on my mind constantly ever since. Note: This is a pretty rough, early drawing. Scroll down for the most current version.
This goddess embodies everything about how I feel right now: molten, freshly made, recast into a new skin and mental awareness, but also slightly unfinished (I haven't completely finished Sinkhole), not yet entirely whole.
So the inspiration for this piece is my current emotional state, which is pretty much the base of all of my goddesses, but this time the symbolism I'm using in this goddess is also based on a previous experience.
About 11 years ago, I worked at a bronze foundry casting clay sculptures into bronze using lost wax casting. I participated in many pours over those two years where we would pour molten bronze into a plaster cast which would harden into the pieces for a sculpture.
After the metal had been poured, the plaster would glow bright orange and my job was to blow pressurized air onto the plaster to try to cool it so the metal wouldn't blow out and ruin the piece (a very time consuming and costly mistake).
When thinking about Hot Cast, I remembered this experience and especially the excitement of seeing this hot, liquid metal flowing into these strange plaster shapes, only to harden into the metal pieces that would eventually become a sculpture.
Of course, after the metal had cooled, all of the pieces have to be sand blasted, ground smooth, then welded together, then ground smooth again. It's a labor intensive process to put a bronze sculpture together, but like the time it takes to make a quilt, it's absolutely worth every hour of work to produce something so beautiful.
So this goddess is really one of a pair because the same time I thought of Hot Cast, I also thought of Forged & Welded, a goddess who has been poured in pieces, but also forged and welded back together.
This second goddess will also carry a bit of my memories. As a little girl, my dad's blacksmith shop was my favorite place to hang out and even now, if I smell that right combination of coal, metal, dirt, and oil, I immediately get transported back to being 6 years old sitting on a stool watching my dad hammer metal in front of his hot forge.
This mental picture has stuck with me, and while working on Sinkhole I have literally felt some days that I have cast myself a new body and mind, but that it still needs to be welded, heated and hammered, and ultimately shaped into the form I want it to take.
You might be wondering why I've got such a focus on all this metal work jargon and memories?
I'm not really sure, but I think it has something to do with the malleability of metal. I can cut fabric once and if it's cut wrong, I will not be able to use it for what it was intended.
But metal is never a one-shot-deal. If you cast something wrong, metal can always be melted back down to cast a new piece. If a piece is slightly bent or warped, all you have to do is heat it and beat it back into shape to get it right.
This works really well with my line of thinking right now. I feel that I've taken a few bits of my original cast, chucked all the scrap and corroded crap into Sinkhole, and now I've been re-cast into a new form with a bigger heart and stronger spirit.
But this new cast is still hot, and this molten metal can still be shaped according to the choices I make and the habits I fall back into.
I realized just this weekend what a habit self hatred can be. It is a habit to cut yourself down on a daily basis, and just like brushing your teeth or combing your hair if you do it long enough, it starts to feel pretty comfortable.
So Hot Cast is really a quilt I need to make to get used to this open, molten feeling. I need to get used to not having a nasty INV bouncing around in my head and allow my heart to fill in and expand into this new body and mindset.
And after it is done, Forged & Welded will help me to seal this new cast into a solid foundation of self love and strength. What thoughts do I want to have dominate my mind? What habits do I need to form in order to make this happen? I'll hammer out those details in that quilt for sure!
As you can see, I'm still tinkering around with the design of this goddess. Even as I wrote this blog post, I made the decision to add the heart into the center. I realized that it really has to be there because that is where all this molten new metal, and change, is flowing from.
Okay, that's enough metal analogies for the day!
Let's go quilt,