August 26, 2010

Progress on an Art Quilt Triptych

I am pleased to report some progress on my latest project - an art quilt in triptych form with three very large panels. This quilt is for a very special friend of mine, and I wanted it to be perfect! So of course I began struggling with the design...I knew she wanted a large tree that swirled and curved which would spread over the three panels. I decided to work on the "main character" of the scene (the tree!) first, since it would be the largest focus of attention. As you see in a previous post, I roughly sketched in my idea for the tree on batting, just to get the scale and size in my mind. I decided it would be easier to work against a wall instead of on a table, so I taped up large pieces of freezer paper to begin sketching the tree again. It was much easier to work this way, because I could stand back and analyze, then go back to the wall and work again. After almost completely rubbing off the paper side of the freezer paper with my drawing and erasing (LOL!) I finally ended up with the large, swirling tree I had envisioned. I traced over it with black sharpie marker to allow for more contrast for a photograph, as this will be my template. I plan to iron these large pieces onto fabric to use as a template for cutting. I have some gorgeous deep blue variegated silk that drapes beautifully and has a lot of texture already with its shading - this might be perfect for the tree, but we'll see! : )

I've also made progress on the background!! I was up all night one night, happily working on this project - cutting, chopping, sprinkling fabrics...but as I grew more and more tired, I grew more and more frustrated. Nothing seemed to be working - the color combinations for the backgrounds just weren't "playing nice" with each other! I kept scraping up the little pieces and rearranging them - (have you ever tried to scoop up little pieces of fabric off of batting? They simply don't *like* to move!) - but nothing was helping. Either everything seemed too choppy or too boring. Finally I was about to give up for the evening to try again the next night, and I looked out my window. I live on a 3rd floor, and my view of the sky is amazing - there was the most *gorgeous* sunrise I had ever seen. Right in front of my very eyes!! It was so colorful, intense, but somehow calming...I quickly grabbed a piece of scratch paper and some crayons, because since I'm not really gifted when it comes to drawing, I knew I had to just capture the colors and their order vertically in the sky and their scale width-wise...I scribbled and scribbled madly for about 15 minutes before the sunrise completely changed. But I managed to document at least something close to that beautiful scene!! (In retrospect, I should have grabbed my digital camera!!) Anyway - the bottom of the sky looked blueish-purplish, then in the middle there was the softest pink which blended up into the most intense bright orange-pink - then almost gold, on up to orange-yellow, finally topped off with a soft pale yellow. It was really beautiful - and felt like a personalized gift from nature - "Here is your inspiration!"

The photo you see here only shows the chopped up fabrics on batting - this is only the beginning. The tulle layer and then the many many layers of stitching and overstitching will blend them all together into one cohesive piece. But - having this part finished is a huge amount of progress - and just seeing it come this far is inspiring me to work even harder!! : )

I'll be posting more progress soon! : )

August 21, 2010

Stitched & Quilted Bird - Experiment #1

I am currently working on a very large art quilt - a commisioned piece for a wonderful lady in Australia. This will be another of the "Impressionistic Style" art quilts which I really love to create. She wants a forest type scene, with gorgeous birds, and some other "characters" such as dragonflies, toadstools, happy flowers, and a large swirling tree. This will be an extremely large piece (for me), and will be in the form of a triptych or a series of 3 art quilts which will hang side-by-side. The total width will be around 60" and the height will be around 30", so I will have two smaller rectanges on the sides measuring 17" x 30" and one in the center measuring approximately 22" x 30". It is going to turn out to be absolutely amazing  - my Australian friend has such a gift for creative vision!

So far I have done the prep-work for this quilt - researched for possible images, preparing the large pieces of cotton batting fused to backing fabric (for stability), and marking out a 3" x 3" grid on the batting.
Here is a photograph which shows the batting, on which I have sketched out the initial design for the large swirling tree.

I have altered some of the branches since this photo - making them swirl down more on the center panel to allow for a pair of birds to perch. The birds will be Australian Blue Wrens - which are absolutely beautiful!! I haven't come across any images of these birds that I didn't fall in love with, so choosing just one image was pretty difficult - the most difficult part however, was deciding HOW to create the birds for this quilt. I consulted my stack of art quilting books and magazines - and came across my copy of "Quilting Arts" Issue #34.  (I *love* Quilting Arts Magazine!!! Here is a link to their website: )

In this issue, there is a wonderful article by Karin Winter called "Quilted Pet Portraits" - I decided to try creating a bird from several different layered scraps of fabric combined with thread painting, as her how-to article describes.

Here are my "blues" - fabrics and threads! (You'll see I love to collect fabric and thread!!)

Here are the results of my first try - or "Experiment #1" - I love this style!! : ) You'll see my "inspiration" photograph along with the finished bird. This quilted and stitched bird will be cut out and applied as an applique to the larger art quilt later on - the background fabric showing was only used for stability while stitching, and to serve as a foundation to build up the layers of fabric on during the creation process.

It will look much different when it has been cut out and applied to the planned background scene.

A Close-Up photo of all of the stitching:

This one little bird took about 6 hours of cutting, stitching, layering, and stitching again...and again...and again!! I just kept using different variegated threads, filling in areas and going back over lines - adding texture - it was amazingly fun - I really love this style of art quilting.

This art quilt project is so inspiring - I completely love the colors and the scene, the whimsical style of images my friend selected - it has been a joy to work on so far. : )

I'll be posting more photos of this project soon!

August 2, 2010

I was published! August/September 2010 Quilting Arts Challenge - "How Entertaining!"

I was delighted to receive my very own copy of August/September 2010 Quilting Arts in the mail today, along with a letter from Pokey. I'm absolutely thrilled to have one of my pieces published in the magazine!! It has been a long-time dream for me, and I'm especially happy that my first piece was a very sentimental one in honor of my grandmother's 80th birthday. I look forward to having my Poppies piece published as well! : )

I am posting a photograph of the cover of this magazine, along with a link of where to purchase it.

Here is the front cover (beautiful art quilt on the front!!):

Please visit Interweave's Store to purchase this issue of Quilting Arts - it is a *wonderful* magazine!!

Here is another picture of the quilt I had published in this magazine - please visit My Previous Post to read the full description on my blog of how I went about choosing this theme (The Little Prince) and how I went about making this quilt.

I am offering replicas of this quilt (the original is a gift to my grandmother for her 80th birthday) and custom-made art quilts (choose your theme or quote!) on etsy in my store. 

Feel free to stop by and have a look!

Here is the link:   "heathers3stars" etsy store page


Thank you so much for visiting - I appreciate your comments very much! : )