Hot Cast was a unique goddess quilt I made after starting Sinkhole, but before I set that dark quilt on fire. Similar to Emergence, this was a quilt that needed a bit of time put away before I could pull her out and enjoy the finished effect of the quilt.
I’ve shared the story of Hot Cast and the lessons she taught me in Episode #74 of the Hello My Quilting Friends podcast:
Or you can listen to the podcast or download it to your computer using this player:
Quick links to things I mentioned in this podcast:
Hot Cast Quilt Design
The design process for Hot Cast was really fun. I pulled out several books on signs and symbols and my favorite was a book on the history and symbolism of the Free Masons. I decided to use several iconic symbols from the Masons including the black and white checkerboard floor, stair steps, blazing sunshine, columns, and archway.
The design of the goddess was greatly inspired by my work casting bronze sculptures. I worked at a foundry in 11th and 12th grade and learned the lost wax casting process. Typically when casting a statue of a woman, we would cut off her arms, legs, and head to cast those pieces separately so the metal would flow easily through the entire torso.
I loved this idea and it’s also the inspiration for the name – Hot Cast – though I did decide to leave her head on to make the quilt more pretty.
Constructing the Quilt
For Hot Cast, I returned to the method I’d used to construct Release Your Light. I hand appliqued the goddess’s body and hair onto a white background, then used paint to add the color to the stairs, columns, and background.
Here is the quilt before painting:
My favorite part of this painting process was painting the vein lines that run through the goddess’s body from her heart. That was a mixture of gold, bronze, and crimson Jacquard Lumiere Textile paints and it turned out 100% perfect.
My least favorite part of the painting process was the columns where I made a mistake in the paint and then quickly found this type of paint doesn’t blend or layer well.
I agonized over fixing this mistake and it definitely colored my love of the quilt towards the end. I ultimately had to put the quilt away for a few months before I could pull it out and appreciate the finished effect.
Like most of my goddess quilts, the back is almost prettier than the front:
How Do I Love Myself?
The main goal with this quilt was to learn how to love myself. In the blog posts I shared at the time, I mentioned looking for a “love myself button” and being unable to find it. You can read more about this process and my mentality at the time by checking out these older posts:
While it’s not that I think this was a bad goal, I don’t think this is a very healthy question to ask. It’s sort of like searching for the recipe for a happy life by doing things you really don’t like to do.
You cannot demand you love yourself, just as you can’t demand for other people to love you. Love is freely given without strings attached or even the need to earn the affection. Love is so much bigger and more enduring than petty demands can fathom.
Which is why demanding love, barking at it – why can’t I love myself? – just scares it away.
A better way to live is to focus on the joy and gratitude of living. If you are happy and joyful, love will flow your way as freely as water flows downhill.
If you wake up thankful for the life you’ve built and the people you have the privilege to share it with, loving yourself will never be a question in your mind. It will be the force that flows through your ever word, action, and thought.
It's interesting how I can look back on that time given the perspective of several years. I can remember when I made Hot Cast, I felt heavy and very old. I don't remember having a lot of fun back then or laughing very much.
Love likes laughter. These days I firmly believe in keeping a folder of funny photos just to page through and get a good chuckle every day.
Overcoming the Need for Perfection
One of the biggest lessons from Hot Cast was about perfection and how dangerous the pursuit can be. In a lot of ways I was wanting this quilt to prove something to myself. I was hoping by working hard and slaving away at the quilt, I would somehow earn my own respect and love.
But then when mistakes happened and the quilt wasn’t perfect, what do you think happened? Instead of being a journey of positive growth, this quilt became another thing I could berate myself with. See? Look how imperfect you are! You can’t even make a quilt right!
Yes, I found ways to cover up my painting mistake, but I also damaged myself with my own unreachable expectations and willingness to nitpick over every single detail.
We can be our own worst enemies. We can choose to look at every flaw and obsess about every missed stitch.
Or we can choose a different path. I choose to be grateful now. I’m so lucky to be able to make this quilt and have these experiences and design this interesting quilt. I’m so thankful I was able to stitch my way out of that dark time and to stop seeking perfection in things that cannot ever be perfect.
It wasn’t perfect and yes, a lot of this insight came many years after finishing Hot Cast.
Every quilt is a journey and this was just another lesson I needed to learn in this process.
Let's go quilt,