“Bruce, the Barbarian Athlete” was the first face I ever did in quilting. I had seen an ad in one of the quilting magazines for a quilting workshop in Tuscany, Italy that was taught by Esterita Austin. My husband was not keen on going to Italy with me, so he suggested I ask my sister-in-law to come along. She is not a quilter, but we soon learned that there was not only a quilting workshop, but cooking classes and painting classes.
Mary took the cooking classes while I learned how to fuse fabrics. It was a great beginning to a whole new level of quilting for me.
Mary and I spent 3 days in Rome before heading to the villa in Tuscany. There, we visited the National Gallery of Art and found a bronze sculpture from the 4th – 2nd Century B.C .named “The Defeated Boxer”/”Boxer at Rest”/”The Defeated Warrior” – artist is unknown. The only reason this sculpture is still in existence is because it was buried. Otherwise, it would have been melted down and used for ammunition someplace in history.
Ms. Austin had many landscapes to choose from when she began teaching her class in fusing. I don’t do other people’s work and I don’t do patterns, so this was going to be a real struggle. I did, however, really like the photos I’d taken of the statue in Rome. Ms. Austin was not too pleased about my choice; she didn’t think I could do it. I only wanted to do his face – he has such a fantastic face. By the end of the first day, I’d almost caught up to the rest of the class (there were some pre-steps I had to do to catch up to them).
I wasn’t sure I could really do this face. By the end of the second day, things were looking up and the boxer’s face was starting to take shape. A little glitch in the plan occurred on the second day: I was using the picture on my camera for reference. I was on the second battery for this camera and it was starting to fail. Having 3 more days’ work to do on this face, I really needed the picture. Without the charger for my camera, I was going to lose the picture shortly. Solution: have my sister-in-law, Mary, take a picture of the picture on my camera on her I phone (she had the charger for the phone with her). It worked.
I am please with the outcome of Bruce. He got his name because of the first piece of fabric I fused for his face – it was his cheek – which had a nice green dot in the fabric. Ms. Austin remarked, “Oh look, he has a beauty mark”. My remark – “Well, then his name has to be Bruce”.
The fused pieces were then stitched down to withstand the test of time (Unfortunately, I did not stitch down all the pieces). Once the face was done, the composition needed a reference point, so that’s when I stitched in the Colosseum. Feel free to zoom in to the partial pictures for details.
I’ve done several faces since Bruce and will have several more to put on my website by the end of the year (2015). Enjoy.