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!

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