Sugar's Dinner Party, Black Tie Optional

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Sugar's Dinner Party, Black Tie Optional
42.5 in
32.5 in
0 in
Photo Credit
Diane Powers-Harris
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Deep to the south of Miami is an area known as The Redlands. It is primarily an agricultural community on the edge of the Everglades where I lived at the time. Sugar's Dinner Party is the 2nd in what was to eventually become my 3-part Redlands Rapture Series. A series paying homage to The Redlands and as a remembrance of my father who taught me a great appreciation and respect for both The Redlands and the Everglades.

After Hurricane Andrew devastated this small corner of the world on August 24, 1992, much of the flamboyant beauty was lost as a result of the inordinate amount of new construction that commenced. For me, this was a sinful waste of South Florida's true appeal.

Just a side note, the first quilt was a testament to the grandeur of the region and all that has vanished due to both nature's wrath and mankind's need for expansion. Being inspired by the 1999 Hoffman Challenge fabric (see Bowtie Block), with this quilt Sugar and I have attempted to capture a pocket view of that special Florida loveliness by highlighting the re-growth of some of the lost beauty which can still be found in many older backyards.

While I had been printing labels created in the computer onto fabric for several years, this was my first venture into taking photos to be included in a specific quilt. Sugar, featured in the lower right corner, is enjoying her dinner party surrounded by her guests. The invitations went out to many different birds and, not to be left out, numerous squirrels. The setting showcases several indigenous flora such as the palmetto fronds (left side) and on the opposite side, sawgrass - a tall grass with fine "saw" like edges found in the Everglades. Also of interest is the old coral rock wall built in the 1930's to delineate property boundaries.

Playing with block size for the bowtie trellis, I found my first attempt at 6" was entirely out of proportion. Deciding on a 4" block left me with no home for the larger blocks. Not one to let things linger about in hope of some future use, I pieced them together, added setting triangles and strips to make it large enough for the quilt backing.

As a puppy, Sugar had gone through Hurricane Andrew with my husband and myself. Due to this experience, she was terrified of thunderstorms and lightening. Trying to get a good photo of her, proved difficult. After taking several photos, I realized it needed to be of her in the grass not the Saltillo tiled porch! So we embarked on another round of picture taking. This was even more grueling for both of us as Sugar now knew the flash would go off, creating the illusion of fearful lightening. For several days, I stealthily stalked her hoping for that perfect photo op. However, every time I would get near her, she'd run away. At last, just as she caught sight of me, she was a tad too slow and I was just quick enough to snap a great photo of her. Mission accomplished, with Sugar finally in attendance at her party, the quilt was finished.

In conclusion, I would like to mention how interesting and fun it has been to take a look at my older works with new eyes which are perhaps more refined and educated. This quilt looks almost traditional in retrospect. At the time is was a fairly innovative foray into the early world of pictorial quilts. Through the years by learning liberating new techniques in conjunction with the fabulous tools, materials, and products now available, I (like so many of us) have grown as an art quilter. The various and sometimes circuitous paths traveled have led to the artistic voice with which I currently speak, one so different from this earlier time period. The old commercial says it best - We've come a long way baby!

Sugar and I invite you to take party photos, but please try not to startle her, scaring her away!


Juried into Hoffman Challenge Traveling Exhibit, 1999
Gables QuiltFest, Coral Gables FL, 2001
NQA Special Exhibit, Ellicott City MD, 2001
VQF Guild Special Exhibit featuring the Oxbee Quilt Guild, Northfield VT 2004
SkyDye by Mickey Lawler, 100% cottons, linen, organza, prismatic foil, Warm & Natural batting. Various cotton, rayon and metallic threads
Photos enlarged/reduced & printed on fabric, fussy cut fused raw edge applique, scrunching

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