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Building an Abstract Landscape

Earlier this year, I had an amazing opportunity to create art quilt panels using a collection of saris from a family's wedding which took place in India. The project is reminiscent of the joyfulness of the joining of families and the vibrancy of the Indian culture. The saris were a mix of fiber types woven into opulent jacquard, damask, dupioni, and iridescent finishes. Having been stored for several years, creating these panels was a brilliant way to bring these memories into a prominent place in the home.

The concept was developed from the owner's vision to have the fabrics represent an abstract landscape, and would be mounted to two 24" x 60" frames. I generated improv-based design options in several color layouts in my illustration software, and from these they chose a version that represented an ocean, desert, mountains, and sunset.

To begin construction, I used a light weight interfacing on all the fabrics to prevent fraying and add stability. I used a layering technique that built the pieces from the bottom up. For each piece I drew a chalk line on the fabric before cutting the curve to ensure the composition would remain balanced.

Because I would be gallery framing the pieces on 1-1/4" stretcher bars, each piece finished at ~ 30"W x 68"H to ensure that they would be large enough to wrap.

Once the composition of the tops was complete, I stitched the waves in place. I then layered batting under each top and traced a chalk line indicating the placement of the frame. The pieces were then basted in place before quilting.

Once the pieces were quilted, I trimmed the batting to the chalk lines.

I wanted to ensure that the quilts had a good foundation, so I stretched canvases over the stretcher bars before attaching the quilts.

Even though I interfaced the sari fabric, I was reluctant to staple directly into the quilt tops. I attached a cotton border around the perimeter of the quilts to take the staples. The corners were tricky and I trimmed away some of the border fabric to reduce bulk and make a clean finish.

For me, the process of creating these personal pieces is a wonderful and all-encompassing journey. It begins with making a connection, developing an artistic concept, and then engaging in a technical process. However, once the project approaches the finish line, the connection to the memories and personal nature of the project is fully realized. It is indeed a gift and privilege to work on these projects, and it is always my mission for a quilt, in any form, to bring many years of joy, comfort, and happiness to its owner.



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