The Endeavourers’ Reveal Day, August 2021 — Opposite Day

Once a quarter I make an art quilt for an online group, The Endeavourers.  This time the theme was “Opposites Attract.” I had a very hard time coming up with anything, but finally I remembered the fun of having “Opposite Day” when my kids were little — eating dinner for breakfast (starting with dessert), wearing pajamas during the day, saying “yes” for “no,” etc. etc.

So what, for me, would be the opposite of my normal quilting process?

“Normal” “Opposite”
printed quilting fabrics my handwoven fabrics
batting on the inside of the quilt sandwich batting on the outside of the quilt sandwich
applique reverse applique
piece, quilt, paint and/or embellish paint, quilt, piece
somewhat representational simple geometric shapes
binding decorative edge

But let’s not go totally overboard! With every Endeavourers’ project, I attempt to try out at least one technique that is new to me, and use up materials I have had for a long time, so I stayed with those intentions.

Once I had the idea of “Opposite Day”, the project became fun for me.

To come up with a nice composition for “simple geometric shapes,” I went through my visual reference notebooks, and chose this image. (I think it is a medieval book cover, but didn’t save any caption that was with it, and Google cannot find a similar image.)

rectangle with set precious stones and wire spirals

For materials, I chose these ribbon scarves — I had handwoven them, probably about 1990? But I never could wear them because the ribbons snagged on things. I also chose this fabric — I purchased it in 2017 in a bundle from SAQA artists — when I looked at the whole piece, the reflected colors made me see spiders and snarling dragon faces, so I wanted to cut it up.

two handwoven scarves and one piece of printed fabric

I remembered seeing how Judy Coates Perez had experimented with using paint on batting, and I thought that technique would make an interesting top layer. I cut out the geometric shape areas first, and used Jacquard Dye-na-Flow as a base coat. (When the batting was wet, it did shift around a little as I brushed it, so I may have been better off to dye it all first, and then cut out the shapes.) Then I touched it up with a little Jacquard Lumiere textile paint. After it dried, I did some free-motion stitching.

Dyed, painted, and stitched cotton batting, in progress.
Painted batting with stabilizer showing in the cut-out areas.

I gave the whole thing a couple of coats of matte medium; then I sandwiched it with the fabrics and a bottom layer of batting, and stitched around the fabrics to hold them in place.

art quilt in progress, painted batting and reverse-applique fabrics
The “messy middle” — the basic components are in place but it needs more work!

At this point, I realized I should have done a whole lot more decorative stitching BEFORE I sandwiched it — because any further stitching would have to go through bulky handwoven fabric and a second layer of batting.

I did a little more stitching around the edges. My machine handled it well, but the thread did break from time to time, so I ended up using some metallic markers to draw lots of spirals on the painted surface. (These were Elementz markers that I had had for at least 5 years and never used, and they worked great!)

Then I used more Lumiere paints to make the dots representing the tiny stones, plied some rayon ribbon and sewed it around the edge.

small art quilt with painted batting, handwoven fabric elements
“Opposite Day”, a small art quilt based on reversing my usual quilt process.
painted batting with fabric elements, marker drawing

Detail of the dyed, painted, stitched surface.

As usual, this is not a piece I would put in a show; it’s a piece for stretching my thinking and for trying out techniques to see if I like them.  I had a lot of fun working on it!

You can see how everyone else interpreted this theme at The Endeavourers’ blog!