Friday, April 30, 2010

Down to the Root - Kay

Down to the Root  14 x 12
Machine applique and quilting

Like many others, I started with a strip pieced version, with diagonal inserts to represent roots and sticks.  I didn't like the blockiness or the way the fabrics worked together.  After another unsatisfactory attempt focusing on the entire root, I decided to zoom in even more to one small part of the photo: the rocks and a bit of root.

 Instead of texture, I tried to capture shape and subtle colors, keeping everything very simple and stylized, using only fabric and thread.  I quilted the background first and then appliqued the rock shapes, outlining them to emphasize the shape, and putting darker thread on the bottom to try for some dimension.  For the same reason only the bottom side of the rocks is quilted.

I had been meaning to try Terry Grant's method of fusing, and this seemed like a good time. She draws the shape on fabric, paints a line of diluted Liquid Thread around the edge of the shape, fuses it to a teflon sheet, and then cuts out the shape.  The center of the shapes is not attached to the background, and I thought this would keep the quilting lines from showing through.  It did; an unexpected benefit is that the edges are sealed and so don't fray.  The glue shows through slightly on the lighter rocks, but that's perhaps because I made the line too thick.  I'll try this technique again.

I posted all three versions on my blog.  While I'm not satisfied with my work this month, as always the process of thinking and evaluating what I did, why I did it, why it did or didn't work, and what I could have done differently has been interesting.


  1. The piece has a simple. elemental feel to it. It almost feels like the root is gathering in those rocks. You did capture the shapes and colors well also and I of course like the stylized look! Good job of getting a slice of that hillside and turning it into something. The approach is original.

    I am glad you mentioned that you quilted first and then appliqued. I keep meaning to remember to do that. Also, I have tried Terry's method before without success. Maybe I will have to give it another go.

  2. Whether our pieces turn out "well" or not, there is great benefit to using them as an opportunity for trying new techniques. You just never know when that technique could become a new tool in your bag of tricks. I have been wanting to try the idea I did for a very long time and this month gave me that chance. So, I see benefits all around for us.

    I like what you have done--I think it is very direct and very expressive. Reminds me of a mother gathering her children; probably one of my favorites of the ones done this month.

  3. I love the stylized feel to it- and the fact you chose to portray just one part of the photo. It is simple and expressive, with nothing extraneous- all positives in my book.

  4. This micro bit of the whole is wonderfully portrayed and executed. The fabric you chose for the rocks is perfect. The root has the appearance of being worn and exposed by the erosion and natural elements. It's a clean and direct abstraction from the mess made by raw nature. I love it!

  5. I went to your blog and looked at the others your did....all had value in my book.

    I agree with the others that this is a direct approach and I love that you found one area in the photo to focus on.

  6. There is so much here to like! I am really drawn to the background rocks. I like how the simple lines work so well together. I looked at the others on the blog as well and really find all of them stand fine on their own as well as in a series.

  7. Very interesting technique! And very creative of you to zoom in on a specific area for a different composition. Excellent!

  8. I like how you echoed the way Nellie's photo had zoomed in on a section of a larger photo by zooming in even further into her photo. There's a nice balance between the root and rocks - the simple styling works well. Good job.


Thanks for stopping by and commenting!