Having a passion for fabric and sewing, I have been making quilts for over 25 years. About five years ago I discovered fabric art, which is a significant departure from traditional quilting. It allows the freedom to use fabric and stitching to create an art form that is not bound to strict symmetrical design. Fabric art is similar to painting and offers a unique and intriguing means of interpreting the world of art.
What follows is a brief explanation of my process of fabric art. To begin, I choose an image, one that communicates to me energy, emotion and statement. It doesn't have to be a perfect or sophisticated image, but it must have these qualities.
The next step is to create a pattern. I enlarge the image to the desired size. I make design changes such as cropping the image and eliminating or simplifying objects of less importance. Based on the value scale of 1- 8, I proceed to outline each value area. Each piece is given a value rating.
This pattern is traced onto muslin fabric. Next is choosing fabrics that best match each of the specified pattern pieces. This process is the essence of the artistic process; not only do you need to choose the right value but also, a fabric pattern that best fits the piece. Usually hundreds of fabrics are auditioned to complete this process.
Once the fabric pieces are placed, a layer of tulle is placed over the work and quilting begins. Free motion quilting is used to secure each fabric piece. Once completed, thread painting, much like the artist’s paint brush, sewing is used to add shading, blending and highlight. This process continues until the moment comes that the work has fully emerged complete and whole with a statement all of its own.