Thursday, August 1, 2013

In Progress: Not going so well

The last couple of weeks I've been working on a new art quilt intended for a show called "A Color Runs Through It" being organized by the New Mexico SAQA group.  It's to be 18x24", black and white with one additional color.  Since it's a small format I decided it would be a good chance to experiment with some things I've been wanting to try.

My starting point was the idea of reading and identity.  I've always been a big reader, mostly fiction apart from professional stuff, and have a long list of books that are pretty important to me.  I started by pulling up covers for some of these books.  Some are ones I really feel have helped shape who I am while others are just books I love that I go back and re-read often (much to Mike's amazement).  I turned all the book covers black and white then arranged them by value in a photoshop file.  I then scanned my thumbprint (from a piece of paper), and experimented with overlaying it in different ways on top of the books.

I settled on a few different options and uploaded the file to spoonflower for printing.  I've been wanting to try them for a while and am so glad I finally did!  The print quality was great, you can read all the book titles and everything.  I printed  four different options of my 18x24" panel (it's actually 19x25 so if there's shrinkage during quilting I won't have funny white edges.  The first one, (top left) is just the books while the other three have some version of my thumbprint superimposed on the books prior to printing.

For my first attempt, I decided to use the top left panel with no thumbprint and introduce the thumbprint by printing bits of it on organza and then quilting it.  I have the world's most finicky inkjet printer, and I detest the fabric sheets you can buy (although I do use them), but I found this tutorial for printing on organza.  The main key is using a full-size label sheet, but there are tons of important details in the tutorial so I urge you to click through.  End result, perfect printing and not problems with the printer.

I printed sections of the thumbprint in pink on white organza and in black on pink organza and then layered them on the quilt and fused them down.  I then used a light box to trace the entire thumbprint (from a full size paper printout), and quilted it in various shades of pink.

You guys!  It was a total disaster!  The quilted thumbprint is way too subtle to see unless you're very close to the quilt and even then it's hard to tell what it is.  Even worse, when you step back and look at it, all you see are big giant pink organza blobs!  And don't be fooled into thinking it looks better in person or would look better once the blue washable marker is gone.  It really doesn't.  

One moral of the story: bright pink organza is still bright pink and is not ever going to be particularly subtle even if it's a sheer.  So now I have to make a different quilt for this challenge- I'm going to try to use one of the other three panels I had printed; we'll see how it goes.

Linking up with Nina-Marie as ever!


  1. What about painting over the organza or through it? Is that an option to redefine the fingerprint areas? Best of luck!

    1. I really like this idea actually- I don't think I can really paint over the organza enough to get rid of the really bright pink, but I think if I painted the rest of the fingerprint area it would make that stand out better and make the blobby pink bits less dominating. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. I dont think I hate it as much as you do. In all and complete honesty, it does remind me a bit of a scratch. You know like on movie cover for warewolf movies? IMHO, that makes it awesome. I happen to love warewolf movies, but I can certainly see if that's not what you're going for.

    While I dont have any practical suggestions, I do want to say - this is the part of art that ultimately churns out something amazing. You'll figure out exactly what you hate and how to recreate it and I bet whatever that solution is, it is something you would have never tried without this step driving you to it. Can't wait to see where it goes!

  3. I have wondered about spoonflower. I will have to try them out. Good thing that you have another piece. The pink is a bit much. Is it possible to just pull out the organza? and leave the quilting?

  4. Bummer, Shannon! It always stinks when a project doesn't turn out how you want. I think it still looks kind of neat, and I love the idea of the book titles. I hope you can get something out of it that you like!