Sunday, October 7, 2018

Experimenting, mistakes, learning

How I create an animal quilt is all about experimentation! I think I know how I'm going to go about it but that's not always what happens.
 Here I'm trying out different greens for the background trees. I've drawn the outline of my next animal, a bear, onto the muslin. Everything behind him will be trees or what passes as them!

 My first idea was to cut out individual leaf shapes but I decided I didn't like this.
Next idea was a confetti background. I liked it and thought I was being really original with that idea but its everywhere! Look at other art quilt backgrounds to see more ways to use this technique. What I wish I could do over? Make the leaf confetti larger pieces. Always something to learn!
 How to make confetti leaf pieces for the background? My method was to fuse Misty Fuse to the back of batik fabrics, layer smaller fabric pieces, and then freehand rotary cut into random shapes. A good way to use up scraps! I separated the pieces by fabric and then ...
 ... to create the background, I picked up each piece with a tweezer and positioned it being careful to have the adhesive side down. Unfortunately, the adhesive side wasn't always down and I fused pieces to my iron quite a few times.
 I thought of this quilt as 3 steps - the background trees, the bear's body, and his head. Here I've filled in his body but not fused yet so pins are holding his body pieces onto the muslin which is pinned onto my design wall.
 This is the bear's visible eye which even though I'm already in the thread painting stage, I'm still struggling with. I feel an animal or human's eyes are the most expressive and important in an art or portrait quilt. Just pinned and not fused yet in this photo.

I like his eye but if you look at it from a few feet away, it all melts into one brown shape so I'm still thinking about possible fixes.
 Have you ever wanted a do over? That's how I feel about the orange fabric on the top of the bear's head. This area of his fur will be a rusty brown when finished. My idea was that if I started with an orange fabric, I wouldn't have to do as much thread painting in that area. Wrong. The best way for me to learn is to make mistakes and I'm learning a lot lately!

Next time: Thread, thread, and more threadwork


Bear (no official name yet) is inspired by Original Photo Grizzly Bear Portrait, copyright David Drew


Evie Bernier said...

Mayleen, your work is always inspiring. Thank you for being so generous with the techniques you use for creating your quilts. I especially like that you share what doesn't work as well as what is more successful. Of course, we always are our own worst critics, and what doesn't look right to you, looks perfect to me.

Rebecca said...

oh wow... thanks for the step by step!!
Love to see the build and thought behind each creation.

Nana said...

Thanks for the great step/step that you shared. I have never attempted art, just did not know how to start.You are doing a beautiful job of the bear.

Jan Hutchison said...

Who cares if the confetti technique has been done before - it looks great! I think the orange adds needed contrast and will blend in more as you add the thread. Can’t wait to see this completed!

Mayleen said...

Thank you all for your comments! I hope that by sharing some of my "mistakes" and progress, others will be encouraged to try new techniques.

My computer has hiccuped once again and sent all my email to my husbands regular account, not even the gmail account which is where it had been going. If you're reading this and I haven't responded to you, I appreciate your comments. Maybe someday all will be right in comment land again!