This art quilt is named Moon Grass. It’s another one of those images that has been hanging out in my head for awhile.
I finished and listed this quilt yesterday and posted photos of it on social media last night. It sold this morning and I also got an inquiry from a magazine about publishing photos of this quilt. I must confess I don’t always get what makes a quilt speak to people. I guess I pay attention to and collect images that speak to me and I just try to create my own version of those many images.
Blue has been my color of choice since childhood. Deep blue says, ” calm, serene, devoid of conflict, and restful”, to me. For Kandinsky, blue is the colour of spirituality: the darker the blue, the more it awakens human desire for the eternal. (see his 1911 book On the Spiritual in Art).
I was asked by someone how long it took to make this quilt. I thought I’d write about some of the details that go into making a quilt like this. It’s less about the quilting than you might think. So here we go.
I hand sketched a grouping of swamp grass early last week. I used my Sharpie Pen to make a dark drawing and made this image to scan into Photoshop.
I had planned to use this image to cut out Evolon (a non woven paper-like product) with my Cricut cutting machine. I soon realized that this image was too wide to scale up to the size I would need for my quilt. I did a little Photoshop magic (painstaking work is more like it) and came up with individual images like this.
These were much easier to elongate, flip and widen to create a real impact. I set these images aside for later use.
I painted a couple of sheets of Evolon with black textile paint and added a little pearlescent paint to the mix. Since the swamp grass would be back lit by the moon I knew it had to be very dark. While I let that dry overnight I worked on the landscape background.
I chose Vicki Welsh’s (ColorwaysbyVicki) hand dyed gradient “Bay of Campeche” for the sky. I used only the dark and medium portion of that gradient since I wanted a very deep blue. I found a hand dyed yellow/taupe cotton in my stash which I thought would work for the moon reflection in the water. I also found a yellow dupioni silk for the moon that looked good with the yellow of the reflection hand dye without overpowering it. For the water I chose a commercial striped batik in shades of deep blue, teal and grey.
I fused the moon and the reflection onto the background with Mistyfuse, stitched the moon on with a blanket stitch and then loaded the quilt on the longarm machine and quilted it before adding the swamp grass. Quilting this way was so much easier than maneuvering around obstructions.
I pinned the quilt back up on my design wall and started measuring for the size of swamp grass I would need to cut. I fused Mistyfuse to the back of my sheets of Evolon and then ran them through the cutting machine. I had to enlarge and splice pieces of grass to get them long enough to reach the moon. When I achieved an arrangement of grass with which I was satisfied I fused them to the surface with an iron.
I loaded the quilt back onto my longarm machine and proceeded to stitch all the grass with a dark silver metallic thread.
You can see a little of the metallic sparkle of the thread in these images.
I am finding more and more that I like images which are uncluttered. When I find the right fabrics, as in the sky and the moon reflection for this piece, I find they do so much of the work for me. Of course, the swamp grass in the foreground has a lot of detail but it is very graceful.
This quilt was created in less than a week and actual sewing and quilting time was quite a bit less than that. Much of the time I spent in creating this work was in gathering images of reflections on water and swamp grass, sketching, manipulating in Photoshop, painting, scanning, cutting and fusing.
It’s a new way of creating which I find very energizing. I no longer have to spend hours on turned edge or satin stitch applique as I would have if the swamp grass had been created with fabric. This has taken the drudgery out of the process so that I can spend more time on the creative aspects of the work. It also helps bring the price point down to a more customer friendly level. We’re all for that, right?
Thanks for reading about my process.