WIP Wednesday: Fall Frolic begins

My next art quilt project is officially underway! This piece is for the themed competition at the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show, and this year’s theme is Fall Frolic.

I started picking out fabrics last week. The competition requires the use of one particular fabric which must be incorporated in some way.

Working on my next art quilt - themed Fall Frolic, for the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival Quilt Show competition

You can see that required fabric on top of the stack on the right side of that photo – it’s a leaf print which has a lot of red, yellow, and green in it.

My concept for this image is a scene featuring a witch (gotta go with inspiration from one of my favorite parts of fall: Halloween!) in the woods, frolicking in some way as the sun sets. I’m still figuring out what I want to do for the figure and trees, but I have started working on the background.

Looking at some photos for reference, I tried to get a sense for what sunset usually looks like in Michigan, if you’re in a place where you can really see it. Sunset tends to be orange at the horizon, then move into gold and yellow and then as you get toward the ‘top’ of the sky, fades into blues. There are often clouds in Michigan in fall, so I’ll use those as well but they’ll go on top of the background layer.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

I cut strips and started lining up the fabrics for the orange/gold/yellow section of the sky.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

I’m sewing these strips together unevenly – meaning that each strip will not necessarily be the same height as the strips above and below it, and wont’ necessarily be the same width all the way across, either.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

I’m once again trying to use fabrics from my stash almost if not completely exclusively, so I haven’t purchased anything for this project – just shopping my stash to find what I want. So far so good! Next I will work on the upper/blue portion of the sky, and then the land at the horizon and foreground. I’m so excited to be working on a new project!

Share

Figure and Flock – complete!

It’s done! It’s done! Hoorah and huzzah!

Figure and Flock -  art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I’m so happy that I finally finished it! I had so much fun and learned so much while putting this project together and I’m anxious to move on to the next one. Figure and Flock turned out to be 32×43.5″.

Figure and Flock -  art quilt by Anne Heidemann

Learning how to use the free motion quilting foot was quite fun and I know I’ll use it a lot in the future. I’m so pleased with the texture of her hair. I also love the dragonfly-inspired fabric I used for her eyes.

Figure and Flock -  art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I love the way these thread-painted birds came out. The look of thread painting is so pleasing, especially on a bird where it can mimic the texture of feathers. I wanted the birds to appear to be disturbing the air around them, so I did some free motion quilting around each one. My goal was also to have the birds appear slightly menacing and I think that the button and bead combination I used for their eyes helped this come through. Birds have often been used as symbols in paintings and other works of art, and I drew on that here. Sparrows are sometimes used to represent the souls of the deceased and robins symbolize change and new growth, both of which I was thinking of here.

Figure and Flock -  art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I’m quite pleased with the way the quilting worked out, too. I did free-hand grass-esque shapes in the grass and radiating curved lines in the sky. To me it feels effective in conveying the difference between the two areas.

Figure and Flock -  art quilt by Anne Heidemann

In the interest of adding more dimension to the piece, I also added some thread-painted birds that I sewed separately and then fussy-cut. They’re a little rougher around the edges, purposely, to carry on that subtle sense that all is not quite right with them.

Figure and Flock -  art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I’m still very pleased with my Dresden Plate-inspired dress, too. The sections radiate out from the figure’s heart, where a bird also lives. In designing this figure, I was inspired by Blythe and I feel like my interpretation of her came out effectively. You can tell (if you’re familiar with Blythe) that it’s her, but it’s not so literal as to scream, “I’m a doll!”

Figure and Flock -  art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I chose a wood-grain-esque fabric for the binding (it’s not the same fabric as I used for her hair – you can tell the difference better up close), which I finished by invisible stitch on the back. I thought that the wood grain look seemed apropos to frame on a piece of art. I also added a channel so that it’s easy to display (that channel is in the same fabric as the quilt back, which is lilac with tiny white polka dots). I used only fabrics that were in my stash to make this quilt, with the exception of the bird fabric which I purposely selected and purchased with this intention. In case you wondered, I didn’t even make a dent in the stash! I probably need to do some really big projects in order to achieve that. 🙂

I haven’t figured out yet what my next project will be, but I think that I will rely more on piecing than on applique for that one (though of course I always change things around a lot during the process of making a project, so we shall see). Another art quilt is for sure on the docket, though I may opt for something smaller this time. Having made a lot of very-small-scale doll clothes, I’m interested in the applications for very-small-scale in quilting. In the future I’d also really like to make a useful quilt for our bedroom, though I will probably wait for that until we find our next house, so I can use the room as inspiration.

Now I need to find some quilt shows in which to enter Figure and Flock. I just missed the deadline for the big one happening in Grand Rapids later this year, which is a bummer, but I’m sure there are other shows out there.

Share

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival Quilt Show

Last weekend we went to the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival to check out the syrup, arts and crafts, and quilt show. I had considered entering a quilt myself, but didn’t get to it in time to make the deadline. Next year!

Odd as it seems, despite having lived in the area for close to 15 years in the 90s and 00s, this was my first time attending this festival. We got some syrup, of course, but skipped the really, really, really long lines for the all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage meal.

The quilt show was small but a nice mix of types of quilts by a few different quilters (some quilters had multiple pieces on display). As usual, I was most interested in the original quilts, but those made from commercial patterns were also very nicely made.

Some of the quilts had been made long ago, in some cases by older or now-deceased relatives of the person who entered the quilt in the show.

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show

This one, which was one of the largest on display (96×68″), was hand-pieced by the owner’s mother, who used fabrics from the owner’s childhood. The dimensional quality of this design is really impressive.

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show

I liked the nature/fantasy subject of this quilt (62×46″) by Carol Griffin. It is called Flower Belles and I suppose one could see the women as just that, but I thought they seemed to be flower fairies. I’ve been reading the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series by Susan Wittig Albert, which has probably put fairies at the forefront of my mind.

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show

I’m interested in portraits and depictions of figures in quilts and this was a nice example of a relatively simple approach that is realistic but still fun.

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show

Another one of my favorites was this dog quilt, titled Moochas Pooches (57×46″).

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show

While of course I would’ve liked it even more if it had included a Boston Terrier, this pug was cute enough to almost make up for it.

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show

The smallest piece (10×8″) on display was this framed fabric art, titled Lake Michigan and made by Carrie Dunn. To make it, she used raw edge applique, a technique that I have been reading a lot about since seeing it used on some of the art quilts in Lenore Crawford’s exhibit at Art Reach in February.

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show

One of my favorites of the day was this horse wall hanging (36×47.5″), pieced by Carol Griffin. I’m not particularly interested in horses as a subject, but the piecing and construction of the quilt caught my eye.

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show

I like the combination of fabrics the artist used, as well as the variety of stitch techniques she used to create the impression of texture and movement.

One thing I found notable was that, with the exception of the tied and vintage or antique quilts, very few of the pieces on display had been quilted by the same person who pieced them. I suppose that most of the folks doing the piecing take their quilt sandwich to a professional machine quilter and pay them to do the machine quilting. I’m not opposed to this on principle, but I definitely feel like, for me, it would take something away from the overall achievement of having completed a quilt. The same is true for using pre-made quilt patterns, as I prefer to make it up myself, or at least make up most of it in the cases where I might use a well-known quilt block design as inspiration. I want to do it all myself! (This is probably why it takes me ages to finish anything.)

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show

One of the things that I was excited to see was the chance to participate in a contest in next year’s show! The challenge is called Spring Fling 15. It cost $1 to sign up, which provided a small piece of fabric that should be incorporated into the entry. The finished piece can be any shape and size as long as the perimeter is between 60 and 100″ total. All the entries will be displayed in next year’s festival and awards will be given for the best representation of the theme, best use of color, and best workmanship in piecing and/or applique. I’m excited to plan my piece.

Share