Saturday, June 26, 2010

Field of Dreams--jdemilo

Field of Dreams
24" by 20"
 hand dyed silk, wool batting, hand made fabric beads,  beads and ribbon embellishment
machine quilted

Usually when I look at the picture for the month for Interpret This!, I get an immediate idea of how I want to handle the subject--what technique I want to use--how I want the finished product to look like--the emotional response I hope it will get.  This time I got nothing.  Not that the picture isn't lovely but for some reason I did not get a lot of immediate inspiration from it.  Not a big problem.  I posted the picture in my house and office where I could see it daily and worked on a couple of other projects that had to be finished.

I considered focusing on the butterfly and spent some time determining the type of butterfly (Red-spotted Purple is the  name despite the orange spots and the blue to black color) and what the caterpillar looks like. But I was chicken.  I was afraid if I went the butterfly route then it would look too juvenile so I scrapped that idea.  Some had suggested that I could focus on the field the butterfly was in.  I thought that would work to get started and I could add a butterfly at the end.

 So, without a clear vision of my piece, I decided I would start dyeing my silk multiple shades of blue, green, and yellow.  Not bad.  In fact I rather liked it but thought it was too subtle to show well in a picture.  Then I tried soy batiking some leaves to give some clear, more distinct shapes on the fabric but it didn't work really well. (next time I will heat the soy wax hotter).   Then  I silk-screened some yellow/green/and blue for the leaves.  That satisfied me for the fabric background and I was ready to move on.  (You can really tell the difference in the colors in the different photos! The one above was taken with natural light and the color is the closest!  The others are washed out by the flash.)  
Next step was the quilting since the flowers and the butterflies would be embellishments. 

I debated using wool again--I mean I just used the shrinking wool last month so did I really want to do it 2 months in a row?  YES--I thought the heavy texture would be wonderful as the field.  I went to the next experiment in the book and tried inserting behind the fabric some hard plastic shapes that will not shrink.  You can see the white dissoluble thread that is currently holding the shape in place and that will dissolve when I wash the quilt.

  All of the above pictures are pre-shrinking.

The butterflies were wonderful fun to make.  I had ordered silk organza to dye for the butterfly.  On my way to do that, I had a  play date where we used bleeding tissue paper.  I tried that on the organza and loved the texture of the piece!  Butterfly wings for sure!  Without peeling off the tissue paper, I backed the bleeding tissue paper organza with a purple organza for strength and so the fabric would not ravel then cut out the butterflies.  They were going to be attached to the quilt by thread and beads only along the line of the butterfly's body.  A closer inspection of the quilt will provoke the question, "WHAT butterflies??"  Exactly!  After several attempts to add them, I decided I liked the quilt better without them.  No butterflies.

The small flowers are fabric beads made from lace and silk ravelings and embroidery thread and tulle and yarn and lots of very fun stuff rolled up and stitched with thread and beads.  Here is the tutorial where I learned to make them.  Since I knew I was going to sew mine on fabric, I did not put the wire in it.  I added thin green satin ribbon for the stems. 
The large flowers are leftover shibori dyed silk from my Cherry Tree last month.  I quilted them in spirals that echo the spirals in the field. The halo is the dotted organza backing that has a burned edge so it won't ravel.  The center of the flowers is a few white beads and some silver embroidery thread  as stamens.

The edging is green organza ribbon that I have burned into pieces to give it organic shapes then sewn with a machine satin stitch around the edge. I have to tell you, I think it is my favorite part! The quilt is hung from a stick that you might find in a field.


  1. Very pretty, Judith. I'm glad you explained the answer to "What Butterflies," because I was going to ask that. Interesting technique with the organza and tissue.

  2. You certainly get the ribbon this month for exploring and using a variety of techniques. Good for you! and nice results too.

  3. So interesting to see all the techniques your used and hear of your trials and errors. The piece is so textural it oozes nature. I would have liked to see the audition of butterflies since I love love that tissue paper dyed fabric. Maybe they will appear in something in the future?

  4. this is what I really love about doing this. Each of us has such different takes on the photos yet all are of a family! Love all the different ways yours came to be! well done and beautifully so!!

  5. I wanted to add that I really love the hanging ribbons! every time I look at this I see something more! wonderfully enchanting!

  6. Good results with your experimenting. Like Barbara, I would like to see those butterflies.

  7. I can hardly imagine the wonder of seeing this in 3-D, to see those textures and richness of color that are evident in this 2-D photo.

    I especially like the small flowers and burned organza ribbon edging. I, too, would like to see the results of your butterfly making.

    Had you tried positioning a butterfly, or three, where the large pink flowers are. The large flowers and flat leaf areas give focus to your composition. They also draw my attention away from the wonderful complexity of the background and small flowers. Since the large flowers and small flowers are the same color, my mind wants to interpret the small ones as buds for the large blooms. Is this your intention?

  8. To answer some of the questions above.

    1. Oh yes, that bleeding tissue paper organza material is a keeper and I will use it somewhere soon I am sure!

    2. I do think I will try some more experimentation with butterflies on the piece and see if I can successfully incorporate them. I ran out of time before I was satisfied with the butterflies and felt the piece was strong enough to stand without butterflies for the reveal.

    3. While the smaller flowers also read as buds to me, I had not intentionally made them as buds for the larger flowers. Originally I hadn't planned the large flowers and was going to put butterflies in as the focal pieces. When I was unsatisfied with the butterflies, I decided that larger flowers could repeat some design elements and give the focal points. It is serendipity that it worked out as it did. Don't you love when that happens? LOL

  9. What you've done with the fabric is really beautiful, with or without the butterflies. But I would think you could still incorporate them successfully if you wanted.

  10. Gorgeous! Wonderful texture, I especially like the burnt organza edging - very cool!


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