The latest quilt challenge for members of the Cranwell group is A Walk in the Forest and this is my interpretation.
A Walk in the Forest
With each challenge we are also given a particular technique to use somewhere within our work, for this particular piece we were asked to include painted Bondaweb. This could be used over a large area or just included as a tiny piece, it was entirely at our discretion. Those of you with a keen eye might be wondering where my Bondaweb is…….it’s so insignificant it’s not even worth me pointing it out!
When the subject was given out I immediately had this image in my mind of the trees and forest floor cut out of several pieces of Lutradur and stitched to create the illusion of depth. I also knew that I wanted a shimmering backdrop to represent the daylight glistening at the edge of the woods. After auditioning several fabrics, and not being happy with any of them, I decided to go with wallpaper for my background. I had a sample of paper that was just large enough and created exactly the effect I was seeing in my mind.
The Lutradur trees were coloured from dark to light to suggest that the viewer is walking from inside the forest towards the light at the edge of the woods. I figured the Bondaweb would be used fairly discretely to create shadow on the forest floor. Unfortunately, as I had coloured the Lutradur with wax crayons, there was no way that the Bondaweb was going to bond! Having said that, a tiny piece is clinging on, allowing me to say I have included Bondaweb in my work……..just not a lot of it!
At the beginning of the Summer members of the Cranwell Group were all asked to submit ideas for future quilt challenges. Although not exactly in sync with the current season, the theme to be drawn out the hat for our latest challenge was “Summer Garden” and for this quilt we were asked to create a quilt with fabric scraps no larger than 3″.
I recently discovered Wendy Dolan’s book Layer, Paint and Stitch and particularly liked the heavily textured project that features on the front cover. I decided to use a similar method to create my Summer Garden quilt.
Layer Paint and Stitch by Wendy Dolan
I sketched out a rough design for the foreground on tracing paper before making a start on the base layer.
The base layer consists of forty eight 3″ squares of cotton fabric which I pinned to a thin vilene ground and roughly machined in place.
Next I added small pieces of different natural fabrics and some flower heads cut from lace and free machined these in place.
The scraps of fabric that make up the background of the quilt.
More texture was built up by adding flower stems, using a thick thread such as crochet cotton in the bobbin and sewing from the reverse side of the fabric. I found this a particularly useful tip as in the past if I have needed thick stitching I’ve either hand sewn or couched……this method is so much quicker and easier!
I began colouring the fabric with blue acrylic paint but wasn’t happy with the result so changed to procion dye for the grass and gave the sky a once over with the green to dull it down. When it had dried I began building up the foreground using sheers for the flower heads and wool for the stems.
I’ve done a lot more work to it since this last photo so will post an update within a couple of days once it’s completely finished.
After attending the Eco Dyeing workshop at Artvango I came home all fired up and eager to start my own experiments with plants and dyeing. My first attempt wasn’t a huge success but I did manage to make a few marks and dye some fabric which I then incorporated in a quilt for the Cranwell Contemporary Textiles challenge “Flora & Fauna”. In this challenge we had to include “stamping and printing” so Eco printing was the obvious choice combined with some really nice dragon fly stamps from Papermania which I have had for ages but hardly used.
My two Eco dyed cotton fabrics
The fabric on the left of the photo was covered with eucalyptus leaves, tiny ferns and onion skins before being wrapped around a copper pipe and boiled. When I turned off the heat I added a tiny pinch of ferrous sulphate and left it to cool.
The fabric on the right turned out very grey (very, very grey!) after being tied around a large rusty drill bit before boiling. The leaves included a vine of some sort which grows over from my neighbours garden and some miniature rose leaves. Although the colour was a lot darker than I had envisaged at least some of the leaves can be seen.
Close up of my Eco dyed cotton fabric showing marks left by the leaves
I decided to combine these two fabrics with one of those I dyed at Artvango and these would form the background for the quilt.
Three strips of Eco dyed fabric which form the background of my Flora & Fauna quilt
I played around with the layout adding stamped Papermania dragonflies and a selection of leaves which I had dried and preserved with glyserine. I preserved a whole load of these leaves two years ago for an Autumnal workshop I did with adults with special needs. They were so beautiful I couldn’t bare to throw them away and this seemed like the ideal opportunity to use some of them.
Trying different layouts incorporating dried leaves and stamped dragonflies
In keeping with the “natural” theme of this quilt it didn’t feel right to use my machine so I decided to do all the stitching by hand.
The finished quilt
This is the finished Flora & Fauna quilt, complete with frayed edges and wonky stitching.
At today’s session of the Cranwell Contemporary Textile group some of us played around with acrylic paints, applying colour to gelli plates, glass placemats or an acetate sheet before transferring the colour to our fabrics and paper to create backgrounds for stitching onto.
Each quarter we are set a challenge and within that challenge we are asked to use two particular techniques. Our latest challenge is to design and make a quilt with the title Flora and Fauna. The two specified techniques to use are printing and stamping, hence the ‘play day’. Although we were all using a similar technique the results were very different.
I took along a small seam roller which I used to spread the paint onto my glass platemat. Once printed I found that the roller had created texture and, (in my mind, if no-one else’s) two of my pieces have the look of distressed wooden planks similar to those you might see on an old house somewhere in the Mediteranean. I am thinking of adding moss, lichen, wild flowers, etc to create the look of an old door or boarded up window, overgrown and disused. A quick look on Google has confirmed that I can get away with adding insects as my ‘Fauna’ so one of these could be the basis of my challenge quilt sorted!