Saturday, January 28, 2012

A collage quilt: "from nowhere to noticeable"

While I was without a computer, my reading turned to sewing magazines, like Cloth, Paper, Scissors, Quilting Arts, and Sew Somerset. It's no wonder fabric took over my art interests once I was able to photograph and scan my projects again. Unfortunately, I am having trouble with my computer because it doesn't recognize any of my external or auxiliary drives. Luckily, I already had these photos (except for the scans) stored on my hard drive, so am able to share these today.

I apologize for these photos being so large. If you click on an image, they will fit better on the screen.

I read an article on how to make collage quilts in the August/September 2011 edition of Quilting Arts magazine (Edition 52) that piqued my interest. Of course, I had practically none of the materials needed to make this art quilt. So here you find me in my basement studio searching for materials I can use for this project. Just like so often happens, I improvised, using what I had on hand.

Materials I began with (from left):
dictionary pages and bits of sheet music
hand dyed fabric (green)
commercial fabric (brown)
off white felt, cut to size of finished art quilt
Pellon (Wonder Under)
black fabric of unknown type
more fabric, all hand dyed
green fabric left over from latest batch of monoprints

I cut the Wonder Under to size using some kitchen shears I have in my basement studio. (Note to self: find some scissors that actually cut fabric and take them to the basement). Sometimes you must cut, rather than tear!

I laid all the fabric and paper bits I planned to use over the Wonder Under, propped the black fabric under my scissors, since it wanted to curl, made a few adjustments, then started to iron the fabric and book pages in place.

What a disaster!!! What in the world happened? I have NO idea, but the black fabric of unknown type had melted to the bottom of my iron and was now also all over the green fabric on the top right. I grabbed some of the green football fabric I found so offensive in my quiltlet from a couple of weeks ago, and quickly ironed it to the base, not even aware I was still spreading spewing that black goo all over the collage. At least I decided this football fabric was the perfect addition to this now primarily green and brown quilt.

After a few adjustments due to the size of the new fabric, I continued ironing everything in place. When the fabric and collage materials had cooled, I made a few cuts, primarily to remove the black goo laden fabric, then added a few bits of fabric to the mix, and proceeded to my main floor craft room to sew the entire collage using straight or zig zag stitches. I changed threads from variegated brown to black, then green, and finally a very heavy white. I used the collage materials to guide my color choices.

According to the QA magazine instructions, the next thing I was supposed to do was seal the quilt before I added paint, oil pastels, etc. So here is the quilt right after I applied a mixture of two gel mediums to the piece. Also according to the instructions, you should mix matte and gloss gel medium to get a satin finish. When this photo was taken, it was difficult to see that satin finish! However, you should be able to see all the lines I made with thread on the collage. What the sewing machine didn't catch, the gel medium did!

Once dry, I was struck by how much the brown fabric felt and looked like leather. In fact, I was so impressed with the fabric, I thought it was the perfect addition to the football fabric I had shunned earlier this month. A great flopportunity had transformed this piece from dull to daring, or as I named it, "From Nowhere to Noticeable." In case you can't read it, these are the header words on the dictionary page and I named the quilt accordingly.

Originally, when the black fabric was in place, I had planned for this to be the first of several layers. I had planned to use various paints, oil pastels, and Shiva Paintstiks, materials I actually had that the instructions called for in the next layers I would add. With the addition of the football fabric, the entire game changed (pun actually intended there!).

Instead of oil pastels or Paintstiks, I reached for the rub-n-buff. The beautiful metallic blues and raw umber

were the perfect additions I needed to color the dictionary page and bits of the dyed and monoprinted fabric.

Here it is in all its glory after it had dried. I think it will be the absolute perfect quilt or even a table centerpiece for Super Bowl Sunday, February 5. The size of this piece is approximately 15 inches by 15 inches and it is completely covered in a thick layer of protective gel medium. So, should I (or my Super Bowl Party guests) spill something on the collage quilt, it will quickly and easily wipe up.

I can't wait to make another one of these collage quilts. The next one will incorporate some of the paint supplies I didn't use this time. Are you using your existing art supplies instead of buying new supplies? I keep seeing "use it up" and "finish those UFOs" posts on my blogging journeys, so it seems to be the perfect year to do it.

14 thoughtful remarks:

Diana said...

I love your word "floppertunity"! It describes so many of my activities, lol.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I am a casual sewer, quilter, painter, etc--but one thing I never would have thought to pair with wonder under is Paper!!! Fun quilt for superbowl.

Yes, I am among those trying to use up some of the massive stash I have before adding to it!

Marilyn Rock said...

This collage quilt is fantastic! I wish I could touch it! xxoo

Dianne said...

fabulous work! the iron must have been too hot for the type of black fabric that you had...but you did a fantastic job of saving it, and the quilting is terrific. hope you can get the iron clean...maybe you have some steel wool? can't wait to see the next one...

elle said...

whew! I wonder what the black fabric was? But you have done a great salvage job!

Halle said...

Even with your troubles with melting fabric...this turned out really well! Awesome job powering through and making the best of things in the face of adversity.

Anonymous said...

Cool piece and thanks for the entertaining commentary on the process :). Did you manage to clean the goop off the iron? I've had similar mishaps and while it's still warm I just used crunched up fabric dryer sheet to clean it off. Careful you don't burn your fingers though! (I found that tip somewhere online) After reading this post, I may even get brave and finish the small art quilt I started a couple years ago. Thanks
Stay inspired!

Steph said...

I love your work with fabric and wonder under something which bonds fabric together?

see you there! said...

Perfect for the Superbowl. I love your step by step instuctions. Yes, I'm using what I have. I only have a few blank pages left in my sketchbook and I'm out of blank cards so a trip to the art store is in my future.



Ok sorry british alert - wonder under? is that like a type of interfacing? Do enjoy reading about your off the wall makings :) Hope your computer is sorted soon.

WrightStuff said...

This looks like a mammoth project. Well done you!

Dosfishes at Sparkle Days Studios said...

This came out really great, I love painting right onto fabric with whatever and the mix of fabric and paper really sings.!!!! xox Corrine

priti.lisa said...

There are no mistakes are there? Only discoveries, and in this case a happy one!
I love this "use-it-up" journey you are on...

voodoo vixen said...

Floppertunity!! I love your newly created word along with your newly created quiltlet table mat thingimebob!! I think one of the many things I admire about your work is your ability to make a success from stuff us lesser mortals would throw in the bin and always use things you have on hand and just do something rather than wait until you have bought the list of ingredients!! ;)