This is a bit different from my usual posts, it's written for a different audience, but I thought I'd share it with you too.
The Tale of a Quilt
By Charlotte Scott
I’m putting the finishing touches to my latest quilt. Doing the binding, thinking up a name, stitching a label. These are the bits that you know you have to do, and you’re glad you’ve done them when they’re done, but getting around to doing them? Well, it’s a bit of a drag. I think it’s because I get so excited about the making of a new quilt that the finishing bit makes me sad that that excitement is over.
I mostly make quilts designed to be hung on the wall rather than used on a bed. People call them art quilts, but either way, they’re still quilts. Three layers, quilted together with stitches, made with fabric and telling a story. This particular one started with paint. I’d always wanted to try printing with plant material, so one day I just did. I picked a branch from a weedy bush outside, rolled some textile paint on it, laid it down on white fabric and pressed it down. It made such a fabulous print that I literally clapped my hands with glee! Such a great beginning.
I’m always trying to get a sense of light into my quilts. It’s harder than it looks and I’ve had many pieces that turn out flat. But since I’ve started using translucent silk organza, layered up to get depth, I’m getting better results. So once my flora prints were dry and heat set, I used layers of silk organza over them to build up an image, to discover what the quilt wanted to tell me.
Playing with silk organza is like playing with fabric and playing with paint at the same time. I’m trying to learn the theory behind how layering the different colours influences the final overall colour, but it doesn’t seem to follow many rules. You’d think that yellow organza plus blue organza equals green, but it’s not always so. I hand dye my organza so the subtle changes across one piece alter the final result, as does which order you put down the fabrics, how deep the colour is on each piece, what base fabric you are putting them down on and so on and so on. It's an endless process of experimentation, auditioning and decision making that delights the creative part of my soul.
|Dusk Moth by Charlotte Scott|
I cut out some moths and a silk moon to use as focal points for what had turned out to be a dreamy, dusk-like background. Was that my subconscious talking? Dusk and dawn are my favourite times of day - beginnings and endings, and always such perfect light.
Then it was on to the final big step. The free-motion quilting is a meditative process that transforms the flat plane of a quilt to a wonderfully textured surface. It’s like we get another chance, another opportunity to add a layer to the story that is the quilt.
And now it’d ended, the quilt is made, the story wound up. I’m a little sad, but I know another quilt, another story, will start again soon.