Tuesday, July 13, 2010

From Concept to Finish

I am in the process of going through my studio in preparation for a potential move.  My husband graduates in November, and we are not sure where his next job will be.  We’ve lived here for 17 years, which means there is a lot to go through.  As part of the winnowing process, and to help support the family while he finishes his education, I have decided to offer a “Feature Quilt of the Month” for sale here on the blog.
This month’s quilt is my piece “Elephants in the Garden”, which was designed as part of a project proposal for Lark Books.  I like working with this whimsical style of creating animal images, and relished the opportunity to return to my old stomping grounds to create this piece.
elephants in the garden of good and evil
Most of the time a piece begins as a sketch in my journal.  I play with colors and composition before scissors come near fabric.  This is a sketch for “Elephants in the Garden”, done with Crayola Pipsqueak markers.  I used my trusty black Pilot pen to outline the figures and to indicate the lines of the patchwork, etc.  This is the image I submitted to Lark to propose a piece for the book “Pretty Little Mini Quilts.”
11 elephants pinned to quilt background
When the proposal was accepted, I began the quilt.  Here you can see it in process.  The background has already been pieced and the elephants appliqued in place.  The metal yardstick is in place to help me confirm that the piece fits in with the 36” dimension requirement.  You can see the sketchbook with the initial concept in the background, and my Iris carts full of pieces parts under my working table.
17 elephant and tree on quilt
Elephants wearing their blankets and ears now, and the tree trunk is in place.  I won’t bind the quilt until all of the pieces are appliqued into place.  I embellish once the piece is bound, so as to not catch the threads from the binding process on the bulky embellishments.
elephants in the garden detail one
Detail of the eye, which is a larger button layered with a smaller button, and the tusk, which is a dentallium shell sewn to the piece.
elephants in the garden detail two Detail of the palm tree.  The shiny fabric in the leaves is cotton lame, and the dates in the center are three-dimensional, made with hand-dyed fabric from Judy Robertson of Just Imagination.
elephants in the garden detail three
Detail of one of the feet, with a detail of the machine quilting and hand stitches using embroidery floss.
elephants in the garden
The finished piece, which measures 20.5” x 35.5”.  After completion, I sent the piece to Lark, where it was photographed for the book.  It returned home to me earlier this year, about the same time the book was available for sale. 
This piece can be yours for $425.00, which includes hanging rod and shipping within the US.

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