Introducing Hilu-uli, what would have been my sixth journal quilt in the very first first Bead Journal Project (she's really not that off kilter; the picture was taken at an angle):
One of the things that had me stumped back when I began this quilt was that image of the woman with the fish on her head. I took time out from putting the sequins in the background to do some research into general symbolism. That led me to Hawaiian folklore. Turns out there's a story about a pair of twins, a boy, Hilu-ula, and a girl, Hilu-uli. They were humans but had the power to change themselves into other forms. When the girl grew up she did just that and went to live as a fish in the ocean. Everywhere she went the population of the hilu exploded such that the sea was red with them. Naturally the islanders caught and cooked them for food since they were so abundant. When her brother discovered what was going on he turned himself into a whirlwind and blew all the fish back into the sea. Since then the hilu-uli have had dark scales.
This fish is pink and navy blue rather than red and black but that's close enough for me! I outline stitched Hilu-uli's face and the fish with number 8 perle cotton and added a flat sequin for the fish eye. The sun in the upper left corner is beaded with stacks of seed beads and star sequins in varying heights.
Here's what the ocean floor looks like (at least most of it!). Getting that binding on was a bit tricky but working slowly and on Phoebe, my machine with the narrower feed dogs, it turned out okay. I actually sewed over a bead up in the sun area, not down here as I expected I might.
I've been storing these journal quilts in a 9 x 12 portfolio. This quilt has so much dimensionality that I don't think it will fit into a sleeve. And the portolio was already bulging to the point it just about wouldn't shut.
I took out the quilts, stacked them, and measured the stack. A little over two inches, allowing for the depth of the sequin stacks on this most recent quilt. Plus there are a couple of other journal-size quilts I've also been keeping in this portfolio.
I think it's time to look for a box to keep these in instead. And I think Ive found just the thing here!