05 March 2010

4 Hour Art Quilt

ProjectPears_blogThis 12x12 art quilt took less than 4 hours to make – start to finish, including the binding.  I actually set a time limit for myself when I made it. Why would someone do that, you ask?  One reason: Just to see if I could do it.

More important reason: Today I led the first day of a two-day workshop and I wanted to see if my patterns and instructions were going to work – so I followed them myself.  My goal is for the students to take home a completed art quilt. No UFOs (Unfinished Fabric Objects) from my class!

We will have a total  of 6 hours for the workshop so I estimated if I can do a complete quilt, not rushing, in 4 hours then the class can get it done in 6 (allowing for instructions, questions, discussion etc).  Even though the composition is pretty simple – two pears on a whole cloth background – there is a lot of room for creativity.


The students came up with color combinations that were entirely different from one another.  Each one reflected the student’s personality and taste.  The quilting will distinguish each one even further.  As i told my class, a fiber artist’s quilting line is like handwriting – unique to each person, revealing a little bit about the quilter.  

The background on “Still Life, Pears” is a solid light-purple fabric.  So when I first put the top together, it looked a little cold and boring.  I added the flowers and tile shapes using free motion stitching and a variegated purple thread.  The brown binding edge gave it a little more warmth as well.

I love to “quilt the heck out of” my compositions.  I fill them with dense stitching, close lines and swirls, until the quilt itself is practically flat.  What does this reveal about my personality, I wonder?  Maybe that I’m an obsessive control freak….  maybe it’s saying I’m “dense”...?  I guess it’s for others to interpret.  In any case, I find the process itself so enjoyable that I end up losing myself in it…  Until I get to the point where there’s no room left for any more thread.  ProjectPears_detail_blog

(Detail images of stitching, right)

Putting together the top took about 90 minutes and the rest of the time I spent on quilting.  It was so fun to see this piece come together in just a few hours!

I’m thinking I might try to challenge myself to do more of these quick-timed quilts more often.  As I looked at my students’ work today, I marveled at the possible color combinations & use of stitching.  Using the same exact cutting pattern, I wonder what kinds of designs I could come up with.  A photo-negative?  Psychedelic?  Black & white or monochromatic?  Maybe something in a Matisse fauve style…  

Why not?  



  1. How do you determine where the shadows go in your lovely still life?

  2. Thanks for asking, Carol. :-) I used a picture of some real pears to sketch out the shadows and highlights.


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