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20P Challenge Literary Allusions "Damaged" - Paula Rafferty


"Damaged" by Paula Rafferty 24" x 32" Finished Quilt


The first part of my process when starting a new project is to brain storm and do a mind map in my sketchbook. Usually they are a variety of options and routes that I can explore, normally one aspect, work, phrase or visual image with keep popping its head up looking for recognition.

The phrase I choose for this challenge is “Damaged people are dangerous, they know they can survive”. These words resonate with me on a deeply personal level. They were transformative for me, in that they inspired me at a certain part of my life..

I did not remember where I had read or heard them, naturally, I googledand turns out they are a quote from a book called “Damage” by Josephine Hart which was made into a film. The book was published in 1991 and the film released in 1992.

I think I must have seen the movie but I don’t remember.

I listened to the book on Audible and rented the movie to watch as part of my research then started sketching and thinking, letting it stew.



Images of the Film advertising image and the book cover


I’ve always loved lettering and text, how it can be used, the variety of styles and the impact it can have.

Starting to think about telling stories, getting messages across.

Reading Thomas Knauer’s book “Quilt Out Loud: Activism, Language & the Art of Quilting” convinced me to use lettering in my piece.



The images traced using a water soluble marker and the first quilting



I wanted a romantic big and bold cursive feel to my text. Time to shake it up a little as I wanted a gritty hand-drawn feel, I wanted to put my marks on the fabric. I haven’t produced a piece this way in a long time and the process was intense and focused. I felt on edge wondering what my next mark would be and tottering on the edge of “Have I gone too far yet?”

I photographed my daughter as research for the poses I wanted to use and took a scary selfie for the eyes, I had my visuals!

To construct the quilt, I traced my text and outline of my images onto white cotton for the quilt top and quilted around my drawn lines. Next step was painting and colouring the fabric using fabric paint and Derwent Inktense Watercolour pencil and blocks.



Adding the paint and watercolour pencils

I bonded some Angelina fibres and fused them to a black fabric, quilted some heart feather wreaths onto it, then cut it into the superwoman shadow shape.



Detail of face and appliquéd piece








The background was then intensely quilting using a pared back impression of water, there’s even a lone swimmer in their!

Some more paint added and them the finishing steps.

I’m reasonably happy with the piece, I’m glad I didn’t add colour, tempted as I was though, black and white are opposites, nothing more is needed.



Background is quilted and more paint added

"Damaged" by Paula Rafferty 24" x 32" Finished Quilt

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