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