Thursday, April 3, 2014

Finished cuttlefish

I finished the cuttlefish mini-quilt, so thought I'd share a few more in progress pictures and the final piece.

When last I checked in, I'd started the thread work on the cut-out quilt sandwich backed with water soluble stabilizer.  Here's what it looked like when I was finished with the thread work, and then after I soaked it to dissolve the stabilizer.  All the stabilizer came off cleanly and the thread was a bit floppy but held its shape ok.

The next question was what to do with the background.  In the initial picture (which I took at the Monterey aquarium), the fish was swimming through some green foliage in front of a piece of corally-looking rock.  I thought about painting it, but I'm not very good at that.  I thought about just quilting it, but I felt like that might be too much white.  I thought about trying to color and cut out some pieces of evolon or dryer sheets and applique them on top, but nothing was really very inspiring.  

Then I saw this on Judy Simmons blog.  She has a great step-by-step tutorial so I encourage you to check it out. She describes a technique where you can transfer from a transparency to fabric. Basically, you print out your picture on the transparency, then paint your fabric with gel medium wherever you want the picture to transfer, then put the transparency (ink side down) on the fabric and rub all over it.    I tried it and it worked great!  you can see below, I did not paint over the fish part, so no ink transferred there, but it transferred really nicely everywhere else.  It's a bit mottled looking and soft-edged; you wouldn't want to use this technique for crisp printing, but for an underwater scene I thought it turned out nicely.

Then I just used about six different green fabrics (mostly polyesters, silks, and velvets) to layer leaves on top, and then quilted away.  I love that you can see the green printed leaves peeking out a bit from behind.  I think they add some nice dimension.

Here's the final piece and a couple of detail shots:

Cuttlefish, Shannon Conley, 2014 12x12.

And just because spring is here, a picture of my dwarf crabapple tree blooming in my yard.

I hope you're all having a nice spring and making some fun art!  Linking up as always with Nina-Marie.


  1. Love how the cuttlefish piece turned out! Nice textures!

  2. I must admit, I had my doubts about this project but it came out great! Thank you the link to the transparency info, I'll check it out :-)

  3. WOW! I love this guy.Great job and thanks for letting us follow.

  4. I checked out your transparency transfer like you suggested and it turned out grreat...glad the tutorial helped...I love the piece you're working on and the wonderful thread work...It turned out great!

  5. Love your cuttlefish, Shannon! Too cool!

  6. What an interesting effect. I am storing this idea away in my head for future reference.