I Dabbled in Erotica, Or: A Commemorative “Celebration of Greece” Quilt for Obscura

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Boxer At Rest, 2016. (We’d had windy day after windy day that week… this was the best I could do!)

As you may know, Hubby and I were fortunate enough to travel to Greece in September on a wonderful tour led by our own lovely Obscura, and after the tour, I spent yet another fun-filled week in her company, along with several other like-minded ladies, dubbed AHA (Armitage Hellenic Association). When we returned, having been gone for a stretch of 19 days (officially my longest vacation ever!), I hit the ground running at work, with so much catching-up to do, that I never found the time to blog about it. Oh, and I was also feverishly working on another quilting project. =)

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Richard Armitage as John Proctor (2014), and detail of head (Boxer at Rest). Look at those muscular necks!

I wanted to create a commemorative “thank you” quilt for Obscura, celebrating our time together in Greece. I thought about a theme that involved stunt-driving, but ultimately I got my inspiration from this post on Obscura’s blog, Ancient Armitage, where she discussed her appreciation for the art of the Hellenistic period (323 BC – 30 BC) and its evocative, emotional impact on her. Naturally, she compared one of her favorite examples of that era, Boxer at Rest, with our (also quite sexily gorgeous) Richard Armitage. Obscura’s post was written prior to 2014, when John Proctor came into fruition, but I couldn’t help but notice a striking similarity between The Boxer and our favorite Puritan farmer, myself!

Perfect, then! Of course, no such fabric celebrating the brawny male nudity beauty of the famous Greek sculpture existed, so using several HD images of Boxer at Rest, I created the fabric myself using my favorite design-your-own fabric site, Spoonflower.com. Once I had a nice layout celebrating some of the best bits, I ordered 5 panels of the Boxer fabric, and with Hubby’s help, I also created a background fabric for the back of the quilt using a kaleidoscopic repeat of a small area of the Boxer’s beard. For this quilt, which I hoped to get out by Christmas, I needed blocks that would be fast and simple, so I chose to do a pattern called a “Four Patch Posie“, where 4 repeats of squares cut from the fabric are put together into  kaleidoscope blocks to create interesting new patterns. Because one such block contained a 4-way kaleidoscopic view of the, ah, genitalia, Mom dubbed this quilt “The Porn Quilt.” LOL

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What I had failed to predict ahead of time was that, while the panels themselves are really beautiful representations of a splendid, ancient work of art, my efforts at erotica blocks were destined to turn out alarmingly drab, having nothing but tones of black and bronze. Too dark! Too dull! Not at all feminine, and just completely unappealing! Whoops. Looking at just the blocks together on the design wall, I was dreadfully disappointed, and just about scrapped the whole project, but later I decided maybe I could brighten it up by adding a more colorful fabric in the sashing between the blocks and in the border.

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That did improve the overall appearance, and, well, if Obscura isn’t crazy about the front, then at least I think she will appreciate the back of the quilt, which shows the very alluring Boxer in all his glory. I chose a Greek-themed overall pattern for the quilting stitches, and after a few missteps trying to embroider a label for Obscura, Mom and I managed to get it quilted the weekend after Thanksgiving. Then, while I was off gallivanting in New York City, my long-suffering Mom was kind enough to do the binding for me. (Thanks, Mom!) She’d probably kill me if she knew I posted her picture, but the last step was to obtain pictures of the finished product, and we had a terrible time of it fighting gusts of wind!

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I had a bit of a scare after finally shipping it off, when I heard not a word from Obscura for over 2 weeks. Because the quilt is really a bit on the weird side, and I myself had moments of extreme doubt as to whether it was attractive enough to gift to its intended recipient, I was a little paranoid that maybe Obscura was struggling with the awkwardness of receiving a well-intentioned but fugly-as-hell quilt, so hadn’t gotten up the resolve to respond in any way… but then there were the holidays and a mention of an ER visit, so I thought maybe she just hadn’t had any time to respond. When I finally located my shipping receipt and tracked the package the other day, it turned out it had reached her general vicinity but hadn’t been confirmed as delivered, so next I worried that the package was lost or that some other unsuspecting person may have received a porn quilt! LOL! Finally, I just had to contact Obscura, who had to schlep off to the Post Office and track down my dubious offering. =)

I had a lot of laughs, Obscura, while making you this “Porn Quilt”… between enduring Mom’s ribbing about the nudity, my initial dismay when I saw the blocks looking all kinds of blah on the design wall, my multiple really craptastic efforts at making the label, and even while persevering against the gusting wind when I was ready for final photographs before wiping my hands of it shipping it off! Maybe not quite as many laughs as we had together during our goat bell misadventures and our many trips across the Corinth Canal… but close! Enjoy!

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34 comments

  1. obscura · December 31

    I would give this post 100 likes if WP would let me!! I can’t begin to express how delighted (and honored) I am to be the recipient of such an amazing piece of handcrafted art! You couldn’t know this, but my house is decorated in all manners of brown and grey (with occasional pops of color thrown in) so the color palette of this piece is actually perfect – I totally love the sections of teal (like the bronze patina) and copper that picks up the copper details on the original sculpture…you are a master!!

    I love every bit of this…I’m so sorry that my unshoveled front walk (my hubs insisted that it would be 40 the next day, so why shovel) and a slightly underperforming postal crew delayed it’s arrival and caused you angst!!

    I’m dying laughing about the wind kicking up as you tried to photograph it – it reminded me of that monster storm our first morning on the AHA mountain where I was frantically trying to pull panties off the clothesline before they blew all over the Achaea!! 😀

    I will remember you laughing in that little white car everytime I look at this gorgeous gift you’ve bestowed upon me!!!

    Like

    • jholland · December 31

      Ha! I had forgotten (or blocked the mortifying memory) of my own tramping around the yard collecting my pants and underwear! LOL- it was fitting that the project ended in huge gusts of wind and laughter! I am so glad you are happy with it… I have been fretting off and on and debating what to do next for at least a week!! I was really hoping you would like the color choices I made- I eyeballed every shirt you wore in Greece trying to get a read on your color preferences, and then to try to incorporate something that would actually compliment the patinas on the lovely Boxer. I LOVE him, by the way… it was no hardship staring at him the past couple of months!

      Liked by 2 people

      • obscura · December 31

        Oh dear – I’m sure I didn’t really give much to work with…I’m very happy you didn’t come away with the memory of a constant olive oil stain somewhere in the vicinity of my chest!

        Like

        • jholland · December 31

          LOL! I had more than a few of those on MY chest! I admit when I saw your pink backpack I was concerned that there was no compatible color scheme… luckily as the days wore on it was evident that pink was not your one true love. =)

          Liked by 1 person

        • obscura · December 31

          *Snort* The “clearance” tag on that pink Swiss Gear back pack was my true love 🙂

          I’m trying to think back to what I brought…It seems like there was a lot of black…and a favorite blueish sleeveless that I love because the fabric repels oil stains :p

          Like

        • jholland · December 31

          Yes, all the black shirts were very reassuring…. and so was the blueish one, a reddish one, and some greys and whites and lightly patterned ones. I could work with those!

          Liked by 1 person

    • Servetus · January 1

      BTW, I can confirm this “it will be 40 tomorrow so why clear the snow” discussion occurred in my household as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • jholland · January 1

        Makes me nostalgic for the snows of my youth. Here in Oklahoma there is almost never a call for snow shoveling, though so much as an inch of snow is enough for all the local broadcast channels to joyfully preempt all commercial breaks with “Winter Storm Coverage”… *rolls eyes*

        Liked by 1 person

        • Servetus · January 2

          In general it’s a good argument, although possibly less so when there are 8 inches piled up … most of it is gone now but not all by any means.

          Like

  2. Pingback: Look what Jenn did for me!!!: I Dabbled in Erotica, Or: A Commemorative “Celebration of Greece” Quilt for Obscura — preoccupiedwitharmitage | Ancient Armitage
  3. Guylty · December 31

    This is just brilliant, Jenn – just another one of your gems and fantastic handcrafts. The idea alone, to have this particular image printed and then turned into quarters for the quilt, is ingenious. (I will resist the temptation to say anything about the amount of balls it took to do this. Oooops.)
    BTW – big shout-out to your mum, the partner in your crime. I laughed at the “porn quilt” quip – and I think it is just fab that the two of you can laugh about such things together.
    As for the recipient – she so is worthy of a unique priceless gift such as this. My favourite archeologist/art historian/tour guide ever, despite absolutely deplorable sense of direction, at least when it comes to Corinth.

    Like

    • jholland · December 31

      LOL! It took exactly one set of balls to do this! My mom is a gem… of course the whole family loved the “Porn Quilt” moniker, and it really stuck. Even the kids were saying it. Thanks, Grandma! LOL And yes, she is entirely worthy, which is why I was so conflicted because I wasn’t sure it was good enough! And I really don’t think we can blame Obscura entirely for Corinth… I think I have an innate magnetism that pulls me there time and again. Obscura was helpless against it.

      Like

      • Guylty · December 31

        None of your quilts could ever be “not good enough”!!! It’s beautiful, it’s unique, it reflects friendship. I don’t think anyone could or would want to reject a gift such as this.
        I really think you need to make a Corinth quilt for yourself, btw. Maybe prints of maps? I also have a couple of photos, including one of the famous little white car, driving into the sunrise… Such a quilt would be essential as an emergency blanket for the car. You never know when it might come handy…

        Liked by 1 person

        • jholland · December 31

          Oh, a Corinth Quilt… there’s a great idea! As you know, the Corinth Canal is totally my destination of choice on any given day, and sometimes I like to cross it several times per day. And the photo of the little white car driving off (in the direction of Corinth, no less) would be perfect! LOL

          Liked by 1 person

        • obscura · December 31

          This is truly an inspired idea!! (BTW…I have traveled throughout Greece many a time, but never with so much gravitational pull to the canal. I think Jenn’s canal magnetism was definitely a factor!)

          Like

        • jholland · December 31

          Seeing as how nobody else crossed as many times as *I* did, I’m quite confidant that my innate isthmustism was a strong (VERY strong) factor.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Guylty · January 1

          Canal magnetism. Sounds like a medical condition.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. obscura · December 31

    Back again – having now been able to lay it out flat in good light, I have two new observations: 1. you quilted it with an acanthus leaf stitching – so gorgeous (my daughter just told me to stop geeking out) 2. I finally found the porn block. LOL – you really would need to know it was there to find it. I can’t wait to show this off far and wide. 2a. the squares highlighting his hands and his luscious coppered lips…fabulous. (Ok…even *I* think I’m geeking out now!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • jholland · December 31

      Acanthus leaf!? See, I learn something every day with you. That pattern was named “Greek Pano” and the design did look very characteristically Greek, but I didn’t know they were leaves. Just thought it was a fanciful design element popular throughout the region. =) And I loved those hands a lot… had to use a close-up in my panel of 4 images because they were just compelling. Lips block totally luscious, I agree. Yay! She’s geeking out! Mission accomplished. =)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Esther · December 31

    Wow, what a great job!! How so very sweet and generous of you to do this!! You rock, J.

    Like

    • jholland · December 31

      Thanks, Esther! This one had its ups and downs, but most quilts do. At least for me. I stumble through, though! LOL

      Like

      • Esther · January 1

        You may be stumbling through but truly, I really think the end results, your quilts, are extraordinary and beautiful!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hariclea · December 31

    Ohhhh another great gem! Just frustrated at my stupid phone’s lack oh shockwave or smth which doesn’t give me the slides grrr Must drag out work laptop which i lugged with me on travel as still away until Friday and can’t wait to see it!! 😊😊

    Like

    • jholland · December 31

      Oh, you missed Mom’s epic battle with the quilt in the wind, and my favorite, where only her feet are showing as she suggests she just stand behind it and try to hold it down, and I edit out her feet later. *Snorts* As if!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Mezz · December 31

    What a beautiful quilt! I am so envious of your talent. I’ve tried over the years, but really, I can’t sew to save myself lol.

    Like

    • jholland · December 31

      Thanks, Mezz. I have a pretty high tolerance for imperfections. My sewing would win no awards from any type of experts, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I don’t know how to repair a lost button. And I still don’t really know how to do the final binding (because Mom is an enabler and I exchange veterinary products for binding)… but the creative process I do really enjoy!

      Like

  8. Gratiana Lovelace · January 1

    Breathtakingly beautiful quilt! And a labor of love! You are an artiste! I’m in awe! Happy New Year!

    Like

    • jholland · January 1

      Thank you, Gratiana. Isn’t he a looker? LOL Happy New Year to you as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Servetus · January 1

    Along with everyone else I can say only: what a beautiful, beautiful quilt!

    Like

    • jholland · January 2

      I have this love/hate relationship with the quilt, LOL. I adore the Boxer and enjoyed the humor of that porn block… just funny memories as Mom and I both make a grab for the genitalia set fresh from the cutting table and begin auditioning block options… balls to the inside or balls to the outside… later as it’s on the quilter and the needle goes along over the privates, Hubby mutters “Ouch.” LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. SueBC · January 1

    That is really beautiful. The pic of it blowing in the wind makes me think of a magic carpet about to take off.

    Like

    • jholland · January 2

      LOL! If only it was a magic carpet, might have made its way to Obscura more efficiently than via postal system! Thanks, SueBC. =)

      Like

  11. Pingback: My own ξενία sandwich… « Ancient Armitage

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