Sunday, June 29, 2008

Exercise Two

Heavy rain on Quilt Island this morning permitted me to sew to my heart's content. I worked on my daughter's portrait quilt. I'm working on Chapter 3 of Art Quilt Workshop; this exercise follows the pear quilt but you work with your own drawing from a photo. The example showed a young boy's face and after looking at some of my photos, I decided to try to capture my daughter's likeness in fabric. The photo is of her when she was about four, so sweet!

In deciding where to place her on the background fabric I kept in mind the rule of thirds. I folded the background fabric in thirds vertically and then horizontally. Anywhere the folds intersect (four places) would make a good place to put the focal point, in this case I used her eyes as that point. It makes the portrait more interesting, she's not dead center and so the background spaces are not exactly the same, giving the viewer more to look at.

I only used two colors for her hair, but added two more colors with the thread. I used a shiny brown and a shiny maroon red rayon thread to add highlights. I am quite happy with my first attempt at doing a fabric portrait. It really takes a lot of thought. the Art Quilt Workshop authors give some suggestions for further exploration in this area and one quilt artist they mention is Susan Carlson. I was pleased to see her as I have her book and used it several years ago. Susan lives in Harpswell, I think.

I mostly think of fish and underwater sea worlds when I think of Susan Carlson, so I was surprised when I opened her book and saw all of her fabric portraits. What an inspiration! I may try this again .

After ironing the fabrics to make up the portrait I began quilting in different colored threads. I started with the top of the nose in light pink thread. Then I did the cheeks and around the eyes. I added the dark brown at the top of the eyes afterwards and am pleased with how that came out. I am not so pleased with how the quilting around the mouth and cheeks came out. That's hard to do! I wanted her to look smiling and happy, not all wrinkly. I did take out a line of stitches and immediately saw that the needle holes were really going to show. I spritzed it with my water sprayer and rubbed a bit, then ironed it and it looks fine. Whew!

Lastly, I decided to put a facing on the back rather than a binding. I have done this before and I've seen a video of how one person does this, but I kind of fudged this. I don't know why it was so difficult, but eventually I got it right. I really like the way it looks on the front, nice and flat. I just didn't want a binding on this one.

I'm not ready to start another photo quilt just yet. We have a family picnic on Quilt Island every year and I have to get ready for that. DH and I are going to Baxter State Park afterwards for a mini-vacation. We used to go every year with the kids from the time they were very young until high school. This will be our first summer up there without them. It will be fun, but we will be remembering all those happy times, I'm sure. Swimming, hiking, canoeing, lazing around the campfire. Ahhh......Have a happy 4th of July America!


Barb D said...

WOW! That is awesome! I have never attempted a potrait quilt - it looks very challenging - maybe when I finish a few of my UFO's I'll give it a try! Love your blog!!

Sue R said...

I saw some of Susan Carlson's work a couple years ago at a quilt show, a rhino, I think. Her work is pretty amazing. I took a class with Charlotte Warr Anderson long time ago, and we worked on a portrait of a woman. It was pretty challenging, but it turned out okay. It helped that she created the pattern for us, so it was sort of like paint by number. Yours looks good too.