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.
Once 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!
Layers 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.
The 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.
The 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