At the beginning of January I took the first part of a quilting workshop called “Landscape Studio”. From the advertising it looked like something that contained techniques I could apply to my felt work, especially the threadpainting.
Turns out I was right. And to top it off the teacher, who is a superb teacher as well as phenomenal quilter, was just fine with my disinterest in quilting. She immediately understood how I wanted to adapt her techniques to my felt work. Pam Druhen works with very realistic images. She knows I tend towards abstractions. So we made a deal, deciding that her job was to push me to stretch. So every time I started getting too abstract she insisted that my piece have at least some traits of a realistic landscape.
During the first half of the workshop we made “maps” from photographs we took.
Here’s my photo:
Making a map entails enlarging the photo and then tracing the main, non-negotiable lines. Think “quilt pieces”. So the lines need to be such that they can be transposed into pieces of a quilt. Not too much curve because they need to be sewn together. Not needing to sew my pieces together gave me more freedom. But, of course I transposed my pieces into rather basic geometric shapes. As always.
Here’s part of my “map”. It’s a little difficult to see, but I think you can get the idea.
Very carefully I started to cut out each of the shapes shown above (on my map) in different silks: chiffon, paj, etc. It was a pain, and nothing came out properly. So I decided to change my course and do as my friend Dianne does. No pattern, just snip, snip, snip. Pam, the instructor, did keep insisting I try and make the picture look somewhat like a realistic landscape. I bowed to her wishes. After all, I had asked her to make me stretch.
I went home and over the course of the last month I laid out my landscape. I started with a white prefelt the size of the full piece. Over that I laid a beautiful piece of a very fine weight silk chiffon that I’d dyed a blue-green. Then I lightly applied wisps of merino, shapes cut out of all kinds of silk (chiffon, paj, devore), synthetic tulle, and even some hand-dyed cotton cheesecloth.
Here’s what it looked like at that stage:
To that I added yarns. I wet it out and massaged it some. Today I finished massaging it, rolling it and fulling it. The first half is completed!
Here it is:
Are you surprised? I was. It turned out so much more colorful than I thought it might. Too colorful for a winter scene? Perhaps for some realists, but not for me. I was fearful it was going to be too drab and boring. I’m quite pleased with the soft colors.
Here’s another shot of it with the photo above for comparison:
Next step will be to add surface design in the form of thread painting. Thread painting is a kind of free-hand machine embroidery. It can add texture, color, light, shadow and all sorts of other interesting details.
To be continued…….