Punkin in the sun art quilt

12″ x 12″ Art Quilt (click on image to enlarge)

This is a 12″ x 12″ art quilt I attempted in response to a contest in Quilting Arts August/September 2010 issue. The contest was to submit a 12″ x 12″ art quilt with the theme “Feeling Pet-ty” for the 2012 Calendar. They asked that a 12 x 12 square art quilt based on the theme, original design, with some form of embellishment to be submitted. The only other art quilt I have attempted was the Pyramid Quilt that I have talked about before in this blog, and thought this would be a good starting point, it gave me a reason and a theme to start from. I based Punkin off of a picture I had taken of her with my cell phone. I had taken her outside and when she turned to look into the sun I took the picture and it turned out to be such a beautiful picture of her I wanted to try to recreate it into the art quilt. I started with the picture of her, which I laid out on a light board and broke down all her shadows and colors into small pieces. I then transferred those pieces over to the colors of her fur and made her base color white. On punkin I used fusible backing on the fabric and then cut it out and ironed her all together to get the basic colors in the right spots. I then did some fabric painting for her eyes, nose and mouth. At this point I still didn’t have a background for her, so I went in search of the right background fabric and finally found a neutral color that is to the right of the barn. I then decided that I should put the barn in the picture because when I took the picture she was in front of the barn, even though in the original picture you can’t see the barn. The grass, the flowers, the barn, and the leaves all were fabrics either that I had, my mom had, or I found on the stash pile at a retreat I went to. Other than the background fabric, I didn’t go looking for any special fabrics, and just used what I could find.

Close picture of Punkin’s thread painting (click on image to enlarge)

Once I started finding the fabrics I wanted to use, I just started cutting them up and placing them and cutting some more and moving them around until I was satisfied with what I saw.. I really didn’t have much of a plan other than to build Punkin. I experimented with a lot of fabrics that did not make it into the final picture because they weren’t the right size or the color wasn’t right. Before I added the tree to the picture I took her along to a sewing retreat and while I was working on her there I got some really nice comments from everyone there about the little art quilt. It was a this retreat that I found the tree material in my Mom’s stash and I found the batik fabric in the leaves to build the tree at this point. This same weekend I came across the red flowers and the bed of flowers in my Mom’s stash also.. she ended up giving me all her landscaping materials to use that weekend! (YEA!.. thanks MOM). Once I had the tree on, I did the scariest part of this whole quilt and put the fur on Punkin by using thread and just “thread painting” it on. She is black and white and orange, but she has a lot of white fur that spills into her black and orange and I tried to pick that up with the white thread and thread painting.

I then brought her home and hung her up and every time I went in the room I would look at her and try to decide what else she needed. Over the course of the next month, I thread painted some grass, and the barn, but I still didn’t feel like it was done.. at the next retreat in November, I came across some material in my landscaping materials that had some blue flowers that fit perfectly on the left side of the barn, so I added those in. At this point, I felt the picture was colorful and balanced. I then added some metallic thread to the leaves so it would give the appearance of light shining and some movement. Then I put a back on her, satin stitched around the whole picture at 12 x 12 inches and finished her up.

I am happy with this little quilt.. it was one of my first attempts at an original piece of art, and I really enjoyed working on this quilt and thinking about how I could make it better. It was finally Jason (the graphic artist) who walked in and said I think she’s done, you can’t do anymore. Thank goodness, because I have absolutely no art training and was beginning to doubt that I knew what I was doing or how far I should go. I appreciate all the really nice comments I have received about this and wanted to share my experience with all of you.

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