Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weaving Fabrics for Art Quilts

Butterfly Garden
The idea of weaving strips of fabric together to make backgrounds for art quilts intrigued me. The first art quilt I constructed with this method was Butterfly Garden, which I made in 1999.

The two shades of green in the background are hand-dyed batik fabrics which I cut into strips and wove together. The technique is to cut one of the fabrics into vertical strips and the other fabric into horizonal strips. I made a point of cutting curved strips because, surprisingly, they weave together beautifully and are more interesting than straight cuts. I used silk flowers, bumblebees, and frogs to embellish this art quilt. Here's a detail image from Butterfly Garden. You can click on any of my images to see an enlarged version.

This technique of weaving fabric strips was also used in "Purple Flowers" (2003), and for the clothing in "Picasso's Harlequin" (2000).

This was an interesting art quilt to do because it started out to be a watery landscape. (Don't ask!) It began with a blue and pink batik fabric. I sliced that fabric into vertical strips and wove it with two other fabrics - cut into horizontal strips - a pink batik on the top half, and an aqua batik on the bottom half of the background.

If you look at the detail picture, you'll have a close-up view of the flowers I used. As I was cutting them out of the fabric they were printed on, I noticed that what I had left over was also shaped like a flower, but in the negative. That was intriguing, and that was when I decided to try for a vase of flowers instead of that watery landscape. I fused on leaves from another fabric, and finished the quilt with some buttons for the centers of a few of the "negative" flowers.

This quilt is an adaptation of the Picasso painting. Old clothing from the thrift shop was used for the fabrics. The harlequin's outfit was made from strips of two fabrics that were woven together. The figure was constructed separately and then attached to the background. The pieces of lace were the cuffs and collar of an old blouse. The "hair" is from a black velvet bolero jacket.

I enjoyed weaving fabrics for these art quilts, and was really pleased with the effect produced. May do it again sometime!

No comments: