Thursday, April 05, 2012

Blue Chair Details

When I was working on my Blue Chair Mantra piece, I sent in-progress images to a few friends for their suggestions. My friend Sarah suggested that the transitions between the different fabrics I used on the chair were too abrupt.

This made me think about why I created the chair with different fabrics in the first place. I wanted the chair to be "blue" but I didn't want it to be too flat or dull. I thought an interesting solution would be to combine a few different fabrics -- including both fabric with some personal surface design (the circles) and a commercial print. I tried to choose blues that were all very close so the chair would still appear as one shape. I didn't want the different fabrics to follow the lines of the parts of the chair because I like to walk a line between realistic and hodge-podge.

On the left is the image I shared with Sarah where she commented on the choppy feel of the fabrics. I knew that I would be adding lots of hand stitching that could help the transitions blend a bit, but I kept Sarah's comment in the back of my mind.
On the right is the same area of the quilt from my finished
images. First, the photography is way better. The in progress picture above was snapped in my studio without any concern about lighting. But you get the idea.

I hand stitched an outline on several of the blue circles in an orangy color (to tie in the orangy mountain horizon). In some spots I continued a circle from the printed fabric onto the adjacent fabric. This was a big key in smoothing those transitions.

I also added a bit of paint to the area that would be the front part of the seat where the printed circle fabric meets the commercial print. Do you see how there is a darker blue section right at the transition point? I gently sponged some white paint over that area, then stitched that orange circle. Much better, right?

I think it's quite interesting to think back over the many many many small and large design decisions that must be made as I'm working on an art quilt. Some come easily and some take much more consideration.


Sarah Ann Smith said...

YES YES YES.... the orange stitched circles are a major part of transitioning...well done! and that bit of paint to lighten the dark spot on the commercial fabric in the front corner is brilliant.

And yes...looking at the two photos side by side I can see the photography is much better in the "finished," and in fact that along helps merge the two colors of blue. Plus I get to see the quilting which is just wonderful. Congrats on getting in! I'll be in Houston this fall so will take pics and, if you can't be there (BOOHOO) will do a stand-in for you!

Frances Moore said...

This is simply stunning work. I hope I get to see it at the Long Beach show.