Finished Project: Batik Art Quilt
I don’t often share the projects that I work on for commissions, but in this case I thought that I would make an exception!
For the last week I have been working away on an art quilt to showcase a new collection of batik print cottons – it’s a lot of fun to be given a huge bundle of fabrics and to be told to go to town and make it look as great as you can!
One thing I love about taking on commission work is that the choices of fabrics or design are often led by someone else. Not that I don’t enjoy the process of creating a design brief, working up some sketches, picking out fabrics and planning a design, but it does open up my eyes things that I might not have previously considered to chosen to work on.
Art quilts are something that have fascinated me for a long time. There is something magical about the finished piece – some tell a story, some are graphic, while others look like a paintings rendered in fabrics. For me the precision of quilting – the careful selection of fabrics, the creation of the blocks and the piecing together of a repeated pattern – is a very satisfying process. Each small cut and then each small seam gradually comes together, little by little to create a finished piece that, at first, seemed like a huge undertaking.
I have been toying with the idea of working on a quilt that was a little more artistic and a little less, well, formulaic, and this was just the perfect opportunity for me to get stuck in.
With a huge stash of batik prints, in every colour under the sun, I was instantly struck by the wide range of colours, the way the batik prints helped to blend the shades together. As any girl who received a huge hamper of fabrics in the post would do, I quickly began pulling them out and looking through each and every piece, it wasn’t long before I was sat on the floor surrounded by a sea of glorious colours.
Sounds like bliss, right? Well, actually it was rather daunting, if I’m going to be honest about things. I mean, there was just so many colours, so many! It is hard to shake my instant desire to begin sorting them out into neat little bundles, to assign each shade, colour and design into sections to be added into neat little repeated blocks. But, I wanted to do something a little different. I wanted to try something a little more artistic with this selection of fabrics. So, I headed for my Quilter Utility Belt (not literally) and grabbed my colour wheel.
This handy little colourwheel £3.25, CottonPatch is a great addition to your sewing and quilting supplies, I find that I refer to this neat little colour guide frequently when I am selecting different colours of fabrics for quilting – not to mention, yarns when knitting and threads when working on embroidery, in fact, I bet that this would come in super handy for a number of different creative projects. This simple little tool helps when selecting colours, and explains primary, secondary, intermediate and harmonies in colour – pretty rad when you’re looking for something to team with your new all time fave shade!
When I started spinning through the colour wheel hoping for inspiration to strike, I realised that it had already – it was staring me in the face! This stunning rainbow of colours would be just perfect to create a circular blend of colours – much in the same way as the colours appear on a colour wheel!
I began setting out the fabrics in to piles based on colours – deep purples fading to light lilacs, ruby red blending to blush pinks, fir greens washing into teal and jade, petrol blues lightening to cornflower and a bundle of natural light, bright creams and whites.
I think it is safe to say that just working thorough the fabrics I realised that I was falling in love!
Unlike most of the quilts I work on, where each block is carefully mapped out and it placement planned, I simple calculated the number of the squares required for the block. Then, off I went cutting 400 4in squares. While I wanted this to be a far more organic process, I decided that I wanted to work the quilt in quarters – after all, the piecing together of the squares would need to follow the structure of construction of a standard quilt to achieve a neat and precise finish.
I began to set out the fabrics for each quarter, positioning the darker shades in one corner and fading though to light creams and white fabrics at the centre.
Now, that the quilt top is finished it is all packed up and shipped out to it’s new home. I have to say, I’m pretty sad about saying goodbye to this one. Working on something out of my usual style, trying something completely different and new to me, has pushed me to think differently about fabrics and colours, about the presentation and construction.
While I’m happy that this little beauty is now going off into the world on a new adventure, I’m sure going to miss having this glorious fabric rainbow about the place…even thought at 70 x 70 inches it was a way too big for little old me to hold up for a photograph and I had to enlist the help of my husband and a roll of tape to be able to capture it in all it’s glory! As they say, parting is such sweet sorrow, thank you Colour Wheel Quilt for taking me on this awesome (and colourful) journey!