GREY CROWNED CRANES (FAMILY LIFE)
MY INSPIRATION FOR THIS ART QUILT
I get my inspiration mostly from nature so when I saw one of these majestic birds on a golf course years ago, I knew I had to create it from fabric. It wasn’t till a couple of years ago that I discovered a wonderful photographer, Johann Harmse and asked him if he has a photo that I can use so that I could fulfil that wish!
HOW I DESIGNED MY GREY CROWNED CRANES QUILT.
The photograph was perfect, all I had to do was to enlarge it. Here I used the block method. Johann’s composition was perfect so I didn’t have to change anything there. The way the birds posed, reminded me of a family hence the name in brackets, FAMILY LIFE. This work will be published in Maria Zielman’s book on birds in textile and it will travel for two years with the SAQA exhibition from the second half of 2024 through December 2027.
A very important thing to remember when doing fabric collage and thread painting, is to have a wide variety of fabrics and threads. If you have a fabric stash, go through it and select fabrics that are suitable rather than going to the shops.
Choose the background fabric carefully as this is going to play a big part in the end product. For GREY CROWNED CRANES, I chose artist’s canvas and I painted it with Derwent Inktense paint-blocks.
WHERE TO START?
Having a good photograph and therefor a reference picture, is of utmost importance. From there one can interpret the work and use fabrics to express what one sees. In this case, I did a pencil drawing on the canvas and used fabrics and threads to ‘paint’ the picture.
I usually start with the eye and continue from there. One can lay the whole work out and tack fabrics in place or one can simply pick up and sew the fabric pieces into place. I used a combination of both. Once everything was stitched in place, I did a lot of thread painting to blend the colours.
Afterwards I did a simple pebble quilting motif on the background.
TO CREATE YOUR FABRIC COLLAGE/THREAD PAINTED ART QUILT, YOU WILL NEED:
A really good quality photograph that appeals to you (you are going to be busy with this for quite a long time so be sure to choose something that you really like!)
- 80x80cm artist’s canvas for quilt top.
- 2x Loomtex batting a bit bigger than the quilt top
- 1x 85x85cm backing fabric
- Spray glue (or quilting safety pins)
- Stitch and Tear stabiliser
- Inktense paintblocks (If you are planning to paint your background)
- Lots of scraps in the colours of the figure on your photo.
- Fabric glue stick
- Machine embroidery threads to blend the fabrics that you are using as well as for the eye.
- Machine embroidery thread for quilting.
- A 25 x 25cm embroidery hoop
- Enough fabric to make a facing for your completed work.
Start by enlarging your photograph.
Draw a simplified sketch on the background fabric.
Hoop the fabric and place the stabiliser underneath it.
Look at the reference picture all the time and start by placing the correct colour fabrics in the right places. You may want to use a dot of fabric glue just to keep everything in place.
Start thread painting.
Continue until your picture is ‘coloured in’ with the fabric and thread.
Use spray glue to keep the quilt top on the 2 sheets of Loomtex and on the backing fabric in position.
Finish off by making a facing for your work.
Sew a hanging sleeve on and enjoy your fabric collage quilt!
This will be my last blog post here so if you are passionate about textiles and want to learn more about how to incorporate my innovative techniques into your work, follow me on Instagram @tillydeharde and Facebook, Tilly de Harde Fibre Artist & Teacher and visit my website www.tillydeharde.com & subscribe to my mailing list. Please don’t forget to leave a comment in the comment box below!
What a beautiful piece of work – thanks for sharing
Dear Sally, thank you for a lovely compliment! I really enjoyed working on this quilt. Love, Tilly