Monday, February 5, 2018

New Project: The triangles

I had been wanting to try some dimensional pieces that were more abstract than my flowers.  Anyone who follows me on pinterest knows I've been pinning lots of abstract sculpture and other three dimensional art.  And so late last year I decided to bite the bullet.  My idea was to take a bunch of quilted triangles, and stitch them down to something with some structure and then "magically" (in quotation marks because I always think these things are just going to work out) sculpt it.

I started with this quilt which I was never very fond of.  I made it for a show last year, and was glad it got into that exhibit, but figured it was ripe to be cut up and made into something new. 

Of course part of the reason I didn't like it was because the colors were so light and bland, so I painted over the whole thing with red and orange and then cut it up in to a bunch of small equilateral triangles.  I also cut up a bunch of quilted leftover bits from the iris, and painted/cut up some practice quilt sandwiches so that I had a giant pile of triangles.  

I decided that I might try stitching them to aluminum window screen as a sculptural base, and below you can see my small mockup.  It's aluminum window screen with chiffon on the front and back and the triangle sandwiched between.  I decided the chiffon was too matte looking, it really blocked the color intensity I was going for, but otherwise sewing over the window screen didn't cause any problems.

I next pinned a full size piece of window screen to my design wall and started pinning up my triangles.  I rearranged and rearranged until I liked them, and then started gluing them down (to the screen) with glue stick.  I needed something that would hold them in place enough for me to get it down on the floor to pin baste, but not so sticky that it would glue the whole thing to the design wall.  The glue stick worked well enough and only a few fell off.

Here you can see it on the floor- the blue tape is holding the background layer of tulle flat on the ground.  Then there's the layer of screen, then the quilted triangles, and then another layer of tulle.  The sides of the screen had selvedge-like things, but the top and bottom were quite pokey.  Fortunately, the weave of the screen helped me keep the triangles aligned.  

This is what the back looks like; basically the "grout" is empty, only screen and tulle.

Next I quilted between each triangle along the "grout" lines so that the triangles were secure and wouldn't shift all over the place.  This was tricky since the screen was a bit hard to maneuver under the sewing machine.  I used clear monofilament thread because I didn't want to see any of the jerkiness in the quilting stitches that I knew there would be due to the weird and hard to handle bulk.

After cutting and finishing the edges, the next step was to work on the sculpting. I played around with different approaches using some equilateral triangle graph paper.  I wasn't trying to get a final design so much as trying to determine what kind of shapes and ways of folding I could generate using these shapes.  It was really fun to play around with this, like a really cool spatial reasoning puzzle.  I love stuff like this.

Finally I started sculpting it myself.  Even though the screen is stiff, it doesn't fully hold it's shape, so everywhere two corners are folded to be touching, there are a few stitches holding it together.  This was a super fun project to work on, and I'll share final pictures on Friday!!

Have you ever done any dimensional work with quilting?  What approaches have you tried?


  1. A fascinating project! Claire aka

  2. Wow! I never would have thought this up. It looks terrific and can't wait to see it finished.

  3. OMG I love this. Yes I am always trying to figure out how to make a piece sculptural. You've succeeded ! It's just so intriguing as are you. I like the way your mind works.