When auditioning fabrics to choose from when creating an art quilt, I start with a large pile of pieces to consider. My fabric is my paint that I’m going to use, and since I revel in the use of color, I like to have lots of possibilities. This new Meditation Garden piece that I’m working on is called “A Garden for a Sky Warrior”. The man whose energy that I tapped into for its image, I’ve seen as fighting for the greater good across the galaxies many lifetimes, so of course, I had lots of celestial theme fabrics in my stack. The problem with blue and purple is that they’re probably the hardest colors to get true color accuracy when photographing. This photo shown is from the web site where I bought the piece and is actually much lighter in color than the actual fabric that arrived. There were also a lot more purple dots on the fabric than what show up here in the photo, but I didn’t feel that those would pose a problem, as I could always cover them up with beads. This was one of the first fabrics to be chosen and was actually used in the piece.
This next fabric I bought because I knew that I wanted to have the illusion of a sky map in the piece. The photo is pretty accurate with regard to the actual color of the piece. I originally thought that the fabric shown above would be the base fabric, but this one on the left ended up as the main material. Given that the at work is only 16″ x 20″ ( 40.5 cm x 50.5 cm), each swatch of fabric has to work harder to have the composition work than when I have a larger area and lots of room in which to spread out fabrics and embellishments.
The tie dye center of the circle on this batik fabric I thought looked like a big star or could be made into a super nova when I bought it on-line. The motifs are spaced pretty far apart, and so in a yard of fabric, I only got five motifs which came out to about $1.50 US for each motif. They were also too big to use in quantity on such a small scale art quilt, but one was the perfect circle to put behind the portal entrance. The circle ended up being extensively beaded, and detailed shots will appear in future postings about this piece of art. The rest of the fabric is a beautiful hazy design, but while I’ll save it for something, nothing immediately comes to mind, as there are none of the distinct delineations between colors that I like to use to keep one area separate from another when I’m doing extensive beading.
Finally, this last piece of fabric that was ordered specifically for my concept of what this piece was going to look like ended up not being used at all. The circles I thought would be a great way to show a concentration of stars in part of the night sky in the scene, but they were really too small to use any but the smallest size 15 seed beads. While I love the details you can get with those itty, bitty beads, the needles that will go easily through the 3 layers of a quilt sandwich, are too large to go through the beads. While I have found some hand sewing needles, John James milner needles from England, it often takes too many pokes with my fingers and strain on my aging eyes to get the stiff quilting thread that I like to go through the eye. I’m sure that I will use this fabric on something else.
For me, when beginning an art quilt, I pull out way more than I know that I’ll actually use, as I like to have choices…. LOTS of choices! After all, as I said, my fabrics and embellishments are my paints, and while I don’t like to the mess of creating my own fabrics, I do like playing with commerical ones. I probably have several lifetimes worth of fabric in my tiny studio, yet I still get seduced by just one more addition to my stash. The trouble is that I rarely discipline myself to just one new acquisition.
How do you go about choosing what will appear in your art work. Is there a particular type of supply materials that you just can’t resist when you’re on-line or in a store. Now that I’m not married, I can purchase with wild abandon and admit to my weaknesses, so we’re all wondering what’s yours?
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I am doodling right now with Copic Markers. I almost can’t resist them, like candy. Allowing myself to be “shy” about showing my work yet, but moving in that direction at my own pace. You are a great inspiration! Still play with “old” buttons and beads, which I have a lot of! Yes, it helps to be single. I follow my own heart where money is concerned.
Dear Maureen, Copic markers…O-O-Oh! I’ve seen them in art stores and haven’t dared to buy one.less I get seduced my yet another must have toy. I kust went to their web site and found oodles of eye candy offerings and contests that they have. Sounds like a world where you could play…:) a LOT!
I usually begin with a piece of fabric that inspires me. Then I pull out piles and piles of other fabrics that I think MIGHT go with it. The process of elimination begins next and sometimes it takes a while to get down to a manageable number of colors and textures and patterns. But every artist needs a full palette from which to start, so there is always a need to pick up another fabric or two or three or dye a new shade…and then we add stuff!!!
O-O-Oh, Kathy…great minds think alike! You should see the piles of fabric I have laying around my small studio as I try to make room for the ironing board and me to fit. A just saw a 4″ x 4″ challenge in “Quilting Arts” magazine that I think that I’m going to enter to see what it’s like to have a REALLY limited amount of space in which to create…;)