Monday, September 27, 2010

The stitching begins...

I got some time to begin the decorative stitching this weekend:

I'm using free-motion stitching to create the branches, twigs, shading, etc. I don't like to rush this step because it adds a lot to the overall composition if done right, or looks like a scribble session if not! Overall, I'm pleased so far with the way this piece is taking shape. There are some areas I probably won't do much stitching or quilting on, mainly the sky and the mountain... should make for a nice contrast to the trees and shrubs. More to come...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Foundation for new landscape quilt

I finished the first layer on my new landscape quilt today:

To begin with, I transferred the line drawing shown in my previous post to a piece of unbleached muslin by laying the fabric over the line drawingt and tracing over the lines with permanent marker. Then I traced each section onto the rough side of a piece of wonder under fusible interfacing. I should mention that I had already pulled fabrics from my stash for the different sections, all but the piece on the bottom. I hand dyed that piece today... all other pieces are hand-dyed as well.
Starting from the top of the design, I fused the interfacing to the back of each piece, then cut out the design using the lines drawn on the interfacing. Then I scored across the paper backing of the interfacing and peeled off the paper. Then I placed the fabric in the proper section and used a damp pressing cloth to press over the fabric to fuse it to the muslin. In cases where I had pieces that were going to be placed on another piece, such as the tree or shrub pieces, I went ahead and cut out all the pieces for an area first before fusing any of the larger pieces that would cover my lines, then I made sure the pieces would cover the muslin completely. Once I had verified that, I removed all but the next layer to be fused, and continued to fuse in the proper order. That sounds confusing, but I go by the design I'm using as a reference to determine which piece goes down before the other pieces. For instance, sky comes first, then mountain, then background trees, then foreground trees, shrubs, grass, etc.
My next step will be to do some free-motion decorative stitching to create tree branches, grass, shadows, etc. Then I will make my 'quilt sandwich' which is the quilt top, batting, and backing, and then I will quilt through the three layers. I may need to go back and add some more decorative stitching after that, but if not, the final step will be to add the quilt sleeve and binding. I would love to have this piece done by the end of the month so I can include it in my exhibit at the Artists' Coalition Gallery, but I don't want to rush it. I'll post again when I have made more progress.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Batik

I just finished a new Autumn Leaves batik, similar to the first one I did last year which just sold. I love this design, and batik is the ideal technique to create the varigated colors that are so typical of leaves that turn colors in the fall:

This one is a little smaller than the first one I did, only 10 1/2 X 23 1/4 inches, but it doesn't need to be very large to be noticed! I could do these from now until the cows come home, and not grow tired of the colors, the theme or the feeling I get when I look at them! I have always had a passionate love of autumn leaves, so to find a way to create art that represents them is a real joy for me!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Anatomy of a Landscape Quilt

I have mentioned in previous posts that I like to work from photographs - usually my own - to create my landscape quilts. Recently, I paid a visit to the blog of a very talented photographer, Chris Schutz, and fell in love with a photograph she had taken outside of Taos, NM, a place I have wanted to visit for awhile, but haven't made it yet. I contacted Chris to see if she would allow me to use her image as inspiration for a landscape quilt, and she very graciously granted me permission to do so! Well, I'm just in the design stage now, but thought I would try to document my process as I go, so here is the first shot:

I printed a copy of the image and used it to help me plot out the different areas of the design. I plan to fuse hand-dyed fabric onto a foundation piece where I trace out the design elements, then I will make the 'quilt sandwich' with lightweight batting and a backing piece, then finish up with free-motion quilting and embellishing. I really love this composition... the lights and darks, the colors and the organic shapes should lend themselves well to quilting! Stay tuned...