Why I Layer and Stitch-Part One, The Design Element

I thought I would blog a bit about how and why I work in fabric.  I came to the art world as a quilter, and my art has roots in the quilting tradition.  My work is usually layered and stitched together.  That meets the technical definition of quilting, but we are talking form, not function, here.  You would not want to sleep under my work!

First, I carefully plan a design–I am particularly fond of the S curve composition.  I am open to serendipity and happy accidents in the design process, but I find I am happiest with my final product if I have a plan or roadmap to start.  I keep in mind the possibilities for stitching/quilting as a design element even at this stage.

Next, I go to the fabric, altering its surface to establish the design.  I might dye and/or bleach silk, cotton or rayon.  Then comes layers of surface design in a combination of any of the following:  paint, foil, decorative stitching, transferred images and/or embellishments.  I am always referring back to my original draft design.  Many artists would frame the piece and stop there.

But I find that layering and stitching the fabric adds texture and dimension to the work that I can’t get any other way.  A picture is worth a thousand words, so to see what I mean,  click here to see a one-and-a-half minute video about this effect on a piece I call Sahuaro Blooms.  My quilting stitches are always designed to enhance the overall design.  They are integral to the piece, outlining shapes I want to emphasize.

There are other reasons why I layer and stitch, but that is for another blog post.  The original version of this post appears on Flux Gallery’s blog at www.fluxartists.com.

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