Monday, October 28, 2013

More thread art

I am a huge fan of challenges because they force one to work with "challenging" fabrics. My Guild held a fabric challenge in 2009. The kit included three fat quarters from Northcott, a black ground with huge blue and mauve hydrangeas, a blue/mauve Stonehenge print and a black and white patchwork. The rules permitted the addition of six fabrics. The theme for the challenge was "Earth's Blessings" and were asked to provide the inspiration for our piece and an artist's statement.

On my own I would never have purchased any of these fabrics because I didn't like the prints and they weren't in my preferred colours. In addition I had difficulty with the them "blessings". All of this made for a true challenge. The piece I entered is titled "Renewal" and it measures 19" x 17".

Renewal, 2009   19" x 17"

My artist's statement read "Forest fires are destructive events that damage huge swaths of land but the genetic material that makes up our planet is indomitable and after a fire the forest immediately begins to renew itself. My piece "Renewal" depicts the event of a forest fire, the ensuing enrichment of the soil and the regrowth of plant life. As an atheist I had difficulty with the religious connotation of the theme "Earth's Blessings" and opted instead to interpret blessings to mean a fortunate state of affairs. In my opinion the Earth's ability to renew itself is indeed a fortunate state of affairs".

Each of the six fabrics I added were selected for a specific reason.

Swatches of six fabrics added to challenge fabrics

I started off with a large piece of slate coloured Northcott Stonehenge fabric as the base (the fabric on the left). I chopped up the hydrangeas and the blue/mauve Stonehenge challenge fabrics and layered them on my base. I also added bits of the black and white patchwork challenge fabric. They formed the sky. To this I added little patches of teal silk  (fourth from the left) and bits of two drapery sheers. One had a gold sheen to it (third from the left) and a second drapery sheer that had squares embroidered on it (second from the left).

Close-up of sky
The Northcott fabrics were cool colours and I needed warm colours for the fire. My last two additional fabrics were Elaine Quehl's hand-dyed fabrics, an orange/red/yellow cotton and a red/burgundy velveteen. They are the two swatches on the right in the picture of the swatches. I used them to make the fire. I added lots of red and orange threads, plus a little blue, to make the forest fire flames.

I used a long strip of the black and white patchwork challenge print across the centre of the quilt to separate the earth from the sky. I layered bits of this fabric with the drapery sheers to create the earth. The drapery sheer with the embroidered squares is terrific for filing in with different threads to create depth.
For a little interest I quilted a fossil fish in the earth!

From the hydrangea fabric I cut out the green leaves and placed them so that they appeared to be growing from the earth. I fussy cut some of the black and white patchwork fabrics and used them as flowers in the new growth.

I used my Sakura pens to shade different parts of the piece including the flower below. I started out with a piece of the black and white patchwork. I layered a piece of drapery sheer over it and quilted. Once the quilting was completed I shaded the flower with a Sakura Pigma pen to give it the rosy colour.

 Notice the quilted roots in the enriched soil.

I didn't like the challenge fabrics and wanted to change or disguise them as much as possible. I accomplished this with non-traditional fabrics, lots of different threads and Sakura Pigma pens. While it is not my favourite quilt, I learned a great deal about machine quilting, experimenting with threads adding non-traditional fabrics to good effect.

Until I post again, happy experimenting!


  1. you are so imaginitave Karen, I would never have thought of doing any of that in a million years. You'd love the mini quilt challenge at our local quilt shop, some of the entries are as artistic as the ones you shared. This years the topic is "Movies/films" which starts in a couple of weeks, I am so looking forward to it.
    Last year it was " book" and the year before "fruit". you can view them here if you are interested.

  2. This is just so beautiful and you are for sure a great artist and quilter. These are my favourite colours too. Bunny

  3. Oh my goodness sakes! This is amazing. I am so in awe of your multitude of talents!