Thursday, November 14, 2013

WIP: Thursday, Progress on the Mammal Mandala

I mentioned a couple weeks back that I've started working on my next large art quilt.  It features mammals of Oklahoma cavorting in a medallion. I showed the initial design for it here and have since been working on refining the design and color scheme.  I've learned a ton about vectors and adobe illustrator along the way (just jumped right into the deep end), and it turned out to be a great choice for this design.  I think vector-based designing will likely fit into a lot of my future work.

My new (to me) favorite color inspiration website is Design Seeds which is filled with fabulous color palette inspiration.  I love colors and tend to want to use them all, so it was new and challenging to try to start with, and keep to, a defined color palette.  After looking at bunches of them, the one I kept being drawn to was this one:

Succulent Hues, Design Seeds

Because of the fabrics I found, my palette actually ended up being a more saturated version of this (who's surprised there), but having it as a guide at least was really helpful.  I'm using a bunch of different fabrics: dupioni silk, silk-look polyester, hand-dyed (not by me) silk velvet, polyester velvet, some funny looking synthetic polka-dot stuff, some faux suede surface stuff (same thing I used on Seymour's bones), something labeled "crinkle satin", and hand-painted (by me) evolon (which nicely doesn't ravel).

For many of my animals, I exported the vectors from illustrator and used my Silhouette Cameo to cut them out, as in the picture of the prairie dogs below.

 For those cut out of silk or silk-look polyester I'm sealing the edges with the woodburning tool.  I discovered after much trial and error, I can't get the silhouette to cut velvet, so the animals cut out of velvet are all cut by hand.  The big animals are also all cut by hand since they're too big for my cutting mat.

I'm finally to the point of putting some of the animals onto the background piece here are the first three circles pinned up.  It gets more complicated after this since the animals start overlapping, so wish me luck as I try to fit the puzzle together!

In the last one you can see how big the whole thing is- I have a ton left!

I'm linking up (belatedly) with WIP: Wednesday and as ever with Nina-Marie!


  1. WOW! This is going to be amazing!

  2. This is going to be so fabulous. WhenI saw your first photo with the Hens and Chicks succulent I had to smile. I love Hens and Chicks and have made some quilts using photos printed on fabric, but with the colors changed in Photoshop. But then I saw that it was just the lovely palette that inspired you. Can't wait too see the progress.

  3. Hi Shannon... and I thought my little 40 inch quilt was going to take a long time...! This one of your looks huge. I am sure it will be amazing, like all your work. I love your ambition... and the idea with the mammals is really cool. Future award winner in the making.

  4. The initial drawing/plans are awesome. I'm not a planner, so just seeing your map is terrific. What in the world are the brown blobs in the center? I have lots of questions for you, like what's a vector in illustrator? How did you compose the plan? You are probably very comfortable with computer usage and programs, which terrify me. It is going to be exciting all along the building phase, thank you for taking us on the journey.
    LeeAnna Paylor

  5. What an interesting idea. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

  6. I can't wait to see more! Those prairie dogs are so cute!