Every year the Quilt Alliance has a contest and auction to raise money for their nonprofit organization. They were established in 1993 with the intention of documenting, preserving and sharing the American quilting heritage.
I have participated in their contest every year since I first discovered it in 2010. Creating a quilt based on their theme always invigorates me and brings me back into quilting. This year the theme was, "The Animals We Love." Recently we have frequently watched the Mexico themed movie, "Book of Life". After chatting with my husband, who is of Mexican ancestry, we came up with the idea of a sugar skull bull, a Muerto Toro.
I started the quilts with improvisational piecing of black and white fabric. I wanted the background to be neutral, but also have contrast to the bright colors that would be placed next.
Then I freehand cut the basic shape and large shaded areas of the bull face in bright, fanciful colors.
Once I was happy with the general layout, the large pieces were machine appliqued on with matching thread. Then I freehand cut the small applique accents to the bull face.
That linear flying geese looked incredibly abrupt placed into the improved back. I did more chopping and moving so that it flowed better. The color shapes became representative of fans cheering the Toro on in the ring. Since marigolds are traditional at Dia de los Muertos, there is a giant bloom on Toro and petals thrown from the crowd. It is now realized that Toro is no longer a fighting hero, but has fallen and moved into the next world.
All the small applique bits are hand embroidered on with perle cotton in unique touches.
Large Swarvoski beads are couched on to Toro's eye and falling tears.
Bright and in your face graffiti machine quilting covers his face and the crowd.
I am entering this quilt and blog post into the Blogger's Quilt Festival on Amy's Creative Side. If this quilt is one that you love, please consider voting for it. XO