Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Yellow Floral Mandala Quilts...finished!

What an interesting exercise this turned out to be.
The same set of photographs produced two very different quilts. The silk satin and the silk broadcloth gave me such varied prints. The former had sharper edges and more saturated colors than the later.
But because the broadcloth print was so indistinct, I decided to play with it awhile (try and salvage it, to be honest). This led to some pleasant discoveries.
I was primed to experiment after reading Sharon B's post of May 13th about how she builds up her imagery in layers, no matter what medium she is working in. I figured this indistinct and rather washed out version of the yellow mandala quilt needed some development, one "layer" at a time.
It ended up with several:
--the photo and print
--the pastel "enhancement" of the print on fabric
--the close machine quilting
--hand embroidery with hand-dyed silk floss and silk ribbon, lace, and a few (just a few) beads
--Prismacolor pencil work directly on the fabric to bring out the colors a little more, and even to make some of the embroidery stand out a bit more.

I have never put a lot of handwork on a quilted surface. I don't see it done that often in a way that appeals to me...but beyond that, I was hung up on not "messing up the back" of the quilt with all those extra knots and threads that come from embroidery. This was a result of entering too many quilts in too many "sane" quilt shows.
Finally I just said "the heck with it" and messed up my back anyway. I wasn't going to bury all those knots and threads, that's for sure.

Really, this felt good. Eventually I just used the "envelope" method to finish this quilt, so now nothing shows on the back at all.

Heavily quilted, close-weave cotton--referring to the backing here--isn't that much fun to stitch through, but in spite of myself I like the look of this.

Here's a little detail. If you look closely you can see the green pencil marks I made between the light green fly stitches...just to give more contrast. A neat new little trick....

Here is the silk satin mandala, just quilted in the ditch, which took all of ten minutes. The photographs of the flowers do all the work, and pretty nicely too, in this one, but the other one gave me more to think about.....

14 comments :

Peticelul Romanesc said...

I love the final result, so many interesting details to see, and the quilting is great! You can make it a two side quilt, the back is almost like a trapunto! Corina

Debra Spincic said...

I rather like the first one!

There's a surface design movement afoot where the surface is heavily machine quilted and then "colored in" afterwards. Your piece reminds me of that approach.

Lynne said...

I like the first one, too! The second one is very clear, yes, but it's just "there". Take it or leave it. The first one lets the viewer explore and discover.

Gail said...

I have to agree Allie, the first one has alot of life. I figured the embellishemet would be good. I like it alot, it is like adding jewelry to an already pretty outfit.

Susan said...

This is fabulous! I love your quilting, even though I read further down that you weren't entirely thrilled with it. It seems perfect for the piece, and I love your stitching on it. It's really beautiful. Thanks especially for the comparison pics of quilted next to unquilted.

As far as knots on the back, it's hard to break the rules we've been taught, but I know an antique quilter (okay, she made antique quilts, lots of them) who has *all* her knots on the back. The quilts are gorgeous, so who cares? I surely can't afford one, even if someone were willing to sell one of hers. And she made most of the fabric, too.

Barbara C said...

Both pieces are so lovely and so different. I also love the quilted one. The texture is very beautiful and the embellishments really enhance the piece.

atet said...

I have to say the first one is my favorite. The texture, the depth. Don't get me wrong, the other is nice -- but not nearly as interesting.

Rian said...

These are both really lovely. I like the textural play of the free motion quilting and the embroidery stitches.

Jane's Designs said...

You did a wonderful job and the embellishments are just wonderful.

The Carolina Quilter said...

This is beautiful! I love both. I've seen a wholecloth quilt colored with colored pencils and acrylic gel medium--it was stunning.

BöskeZ said...

They are both stunning, Allie!
But as nearly everybody my preference go the first one ;o)
More depth, texture, I don't know...

Sande said...

Both beautiful - sometimes silk has to be seen in person and touched to be appreciated to the fullest. Thanks for the many photos and tips on this process. It's great.

Sonji Hunt said...

The detail is just so beautiful. I can never get over how much the embroidery brings the piece together.

Kay said...

Neat! I like those green stitches particularly!