Three Tall Trees

Three Tall Trees

Today we have a guest post by Karen from Lincs In Stitches.

Three Tall Trees

About eighteen months ago I discovered LINQS, a group of 5 ladies who had thrown down a challenge to anyone residing in Lincolnshire to create art quilts influenced, in any way at all, by the work of the great British artist David Hockney.  Joining this group proved to be a great move for me as I’ve made so many good friends, all with a common interest, and learnt such a lot from being in their company.

Researching Hockney’s work was an eye opener.  Before visiting the Hockney Gallery at Salts Mill the only paintings of his that I was familiar with were the “poolside” ones.  At the Hockney gallery in Saltaire, Lancashire I found myself drawn to his landscape paintings, in particular his depiction of trees.  Some of his work I really liked while other pieces I strongly disliked but the time spent researching his work led me to developing a fascination of my own for trees and woodlands, particularly tree skeletons stripped bare of their leaves in Winter.  Influenced by what I had seen I began photographing trees wherever I went and my Three Tall Trees 30” x 40” quilt is based on a photograph I took while out walking in the woods at Woodhall Spa.

woodhall spaOnce I had worked out my design on paper I set to preparing my fabric for colouring with Procian dye by soaking it in a solution of soda.  Unfortunately I think I must have used too much soda.  Although I covered it before ironing I still managed to burn the entire area of fabric above the tree tops!  My nice crisp, white sky was ruined and my heart sank at the thought of having to start all over again!  I set the fabric to one side, put the kettle on and broke out the cake……feeling happier now I decided, rather than start again, to cut out the woodland, back it with Vilene and make a huge piece of appliqué. Not only did I save myself time and fabric but this also turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it was so much easier to handle under the machine than the whole cloth would have been!

colouring the fabricLayers of organza and netting were used to create shading and depth for the forest and then the background trees were stitched by machine using various coloured threads.  I made a test piece first using free machine embroidery but it wasn’t giving the sharp edged look I wanted so I swapped to using the walking foot instead.

layers of organza and nettingThe textured woodland floor was created with painted muslin, organza and hand stitching.  Vilene has become one of my favourite materials to work with as it won’t fray and can be cut, painted and sewn so easily, I found it was ideal for making the foreground trees which I painted using Inktense blocks and then added some detail with Inktense crayons, blending the colour with water.  Once the the finer tree branches had all been hand sewn the three tall trees were tacked in position.

foreground treesThe final stage was to add a backing and then machine sew through all the layers to quilt the three trees in place.  I figured I didn’t have to do too much more quilting with the backing on as I had done plenty of sewing through the various layers as the piece had progressed.  As far as I was concerned  it was already  “quilted” but I made sure that it had enough quilting across the work to hold the back in place.  It’s now finished and will be going on tour nationally, with the rest of the LINQS “Inspired by Hockney” quilts, starting with the  Springfields Quilt Show in Spalding on June 3rd

finished quiltMany thanks to Karen for writing this post for us.

18 thoughts on “Three Tall Trees

  1. I love it! It has depth and delicacy, and the design and colours are superb.
    It must look even better ‘in real life’ because we surely can’t appreciate the layers fully in a photo.

    1. Thanks Lynn. My photos were taken in a room with poor lighting so apologies for that but I am happy that the impression of depth has come through as that was something I was trying to achieve.

    2. I was thinking the same thing, Lyn, layered organza gives another dimension in real life, so it must be even more impressive up close. Thanks for this, Karen 🙂

  2. That is lovely and a beautiful work of art. I think Hockney would be pleased you where inspired to make your quilt.

    1. Thanks MCH. Hockney is such a prolific artist with diverse styles and subject matter that everyone in the LINQS group found something to inspire them. I believe we have 40ish quilts going on tour from June

  3. I fell in love with this piece when I saw it on your blog, so cool & ethereal. I adore Salt’s Mill & seeing Hockney’s work In the gallery there, as well as the lovely craft sellers & cafes, & the old mill village, such a great place. Thank you for your generosity in sharing your method with us.

  4. Thanks Jill, glad you like it. I am with you re Salts Mill, it’s a fabulous place to visit, I only wish it was situated nearer to Lincolnshire!

  5. Karen – what a lovely piece. And I agree with Zed and Lyn that photographs don’t do this kind of work justice. When I have used layers of organza it is really hard to get a good photograph to show the depth of the work. Congratulations on your work being included in a national tour! Sounds like you’ve joined a great group and I do have to say that being associated with a group of like minded people is heavenly 🙂

    1. Thanks Ruth. I think it may have been Zed, some time ago, who gave the tip on photographing your work outdoors in natural light. I have found that this really does make a difference, but I didn’t do it in this instance….maybe I will when it stops raining here! I am quite excited about seeing all of the LINQS work on display.

  6. As a former quilter, I know what kind of work goes into your wall hanging. It turned out beautifully, and as others have said, photos don’t do the work justice. Congrats!

  7. Thanks Ann. Having looked him up you may have noted the scale that Hockney works with.
    30″ x 40″ seemed very big to me when I was working on it but compared to some of his pieces it’s quite tiny!

  8. Gorgeous Karen! I love trees and while I hadn’t heard of the place of your inspiration your piece is inspiration in itself. It’s great when a perceived failure turns into a great success! Congrats on being included in the show! Thank you for sharing your technique with us. Something new to try.

  9. Love the end result, Karen! Well done. I’m glad that “mistake” ended up helping 🙂 David Hockney’s work is amazing, and I’m glad it served as inspiration – although nowadays I confess I tend to think of his work being more about swimming pools than trees!

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