Saturday, February 26, 2011

My First Landscape Quilt

In addition to all the shopping and the wonderful quilts on display, Road to California Quilt Show also offers classes. I wanted to learn a new technique, so I signed up for "The Art of Landscape" with Terry Waldron.We were to bring lots of fabric that we thought could be used for mountains and trees, and anything else we wanted. She showed us how to make the initial design board (simple:  foam core board and batting), how to cut fabric so that the edges were rough and ragged, and took us through some basic principals of design and perspective. She took us through the making of our mountains, and then our foregrounds.  Everyone else in the class made green-based foregrounds - but I wanted a desert landscape. When I realized around lunchtime that I needed more fabric, I visited several hand-dyed fabric and batik vendors and stocked up.

By about 1:30 pm, I had completed my mountains, canyons, and desert floor.  The stage was set, but I needed a leading actor.

Still in need of a focus
At one of the vendors I'd visited, I'd picked up a stash of fabric that could be used for rocks, trees, leaves, and such.  One of the pieces reminded me of the bark of an oak. It also looked like granite, but I decided to use it for the main part of the tree trunk.  I cut it out, and put it on the background, and thought it looked pretty good.  But Terry said it needed depth - and suggested filling in the inside of the trunk with darker colors.  An hour or so later, I had filled in the interior of the trunk with brown batiks and hand-dyed fabrics.We thought it looked really, really nice.

By then, it was 4:30 and the day was over - I couldn't believe I'd been working since 8:30 am.  I brought my piece home, and leaned it up on the couch where I could see it from my recliner. I looked at it for almost two weeks - thinking it still needed something else.  I initially thought I might need an animal of some kind, and looked at roadrunners and desert bighorn sheep.  But due to the requirements of perspective, they would have had to have been huge, and I didn't want to do that.  My husband eventually said to try leaves, and just put them on the ground. So that's what I did, and I was really pleased with the results.

Next came the quilting - and since I was doing it on a Featherweight, it was a bit dicey in places. But I pretty much just outlined all the pieces, and added lots of horizontal lines in the sky, mountains, and desert floor, and vertical lines in the canyon walls. Terry had said that these kinds of quilts didn't need borders, so I just added a dark brown binding.

From my vantage point in the recliner.

The final result.
I'm quite proud of it. I hope you like it, too!


Kathleen C. said...

Your landscape is gorgeous; you can be very proud of your work! I make small matted and framed landscapes which are abstract and hand appliqued-I'd love to try one in your style.
I'm Kathleen in CT from Lib-Quilters Group, and I just read your post in our group. I think our swap will be lots of fun. Now I'll browse through your blog.
p.s. there is a photo of one of my landscapes in my group Album--it's done in a style described by Valerie Hearder in Beyond The Horizon. Kathleen

MysteryKnitter said...

If you ask me, that is art!