How to use this Unique way with fabrics to
create Amazing results like here?
As most of you already know, I can take a piece of fabric, regardless of
what the image is on that fabric and turn it totally into something else,
and this is something that I love to do as it really brings my creativeness
Today however, I want to show you how I use different shadings of the
“One Fabric” to create the correct shadings, illusions, dimensions and
reality to my designs with the use of fabric only and as I just mentioned,
using just the one fabric for the results I achieved.
If you or an artist is drawing with a grey lead pencil, then you can easily
use lines and cross hatching, etc with the use of different pencils for
example a HB, 2B, 4B or maybe a 6B to give you the light and shadings
that are needed to turn a one dimensional image into a 3 dimensional image.
A painter has a palette of paints to work with to create shadings, depths, illusions and textures. I myself use all the above mediums but when
working with fabric, I use just the fabric as my palette. On saying this, yes I do
use paints on fabrics, but if I’m using paints, I only use paints without any
fabrics added as well, as within this image.
Many people of course use fabrics to create their image, appliqué etc,
and then highlight, with using paints to enhance their fabric & to bring the piece
to life. Now that’s a perfectly fine and artistic way of doing the above, & really anything that’s artistic does not need to be questioned as to its rightness or wrongness of it. Being artistic is very freeing, and a beautiful way to create.
So How Do I Create Shadings Within My Quilts?
Sometimes I’ll find something that really stands out to me, and seems to
give me so much more enjoyment with the end result. For some reason
when I created the fence posts for my “Through the Garden Gate” quilt, I had
great satisfaction with the finished result of these. This quilt was created
from my front garden, sadly the clematis has now passed on & after many
years the arch has also moved on, as it eventually rusted through. I now
have a birdhouse there with another rose “Meg” the same, replanted there.
An image of the full quilt
Just the center showing the gate
These posts were “built” starting with the balls, then going down to the
neck, then the “cut in” pieces and finally the posts themselves.
If you look at the images here that were taken as I was making these
posts, you’ll see the round balls on top of the posts are actually being
created using three pieces of fabric. These posts and the balls on the top
are all made out of the one piece of fabric, which was a “Jinny Beyer”
My apologies here as these were taken with a film camera so with technology,
I've turned them digital..they are not as clear as the originals.
There's actually 3 different shades of the fabric within the balls but the image
no longer shows this well.
I really looked at the fabric when I purchased it, to make sure that it would give me the shadings needed to create the desired finished effect. Look at the
actual posts and you’ll see the many “shadings” throughout the posts.
Look at the top image and you’ll see that the balls both look much the
same, with using three pieces of fabric on each ball to give the ball the correct
3D dimensions, using different shadings of the fabric to create the illusions that
it’s not flat, but is actually a round ball and as you work your way around the ball,
it needed to become darker for this illusion to look correct.
Now if you look above, at the ball on the right post, when creating it, it
needed to have some extra shadow on the front of the ball as this was the way
that the light and shadows were actually reflecting on the ball.This was all created with the way I cut the fabric.
When working the “neck” pieces, these were created using two pieces of
fabric each, but cutting them on their correct angles and curve, once again using
the fabric for light and dark shadows.
Then we come down to the piece of the posts that have been routed out.
To give these the dimensions needed to show out the cut in part of the posts,
I of course had to go dark, as anything that is cut into something will always
be darker. I also needed to make sure that I had the correct curves, at the back
of the right side of the right post to accentuate the curve of the entire cut and the
angle that I was looking at it from.
I also went outside many times and “really looked” at the posts for the
correct angles, curves, shadows and light….
Then of course the posts themselves are made from the same material
using two pieces of fabric for each post.
The pickets were also created in much the same way, always being aware
of which way the light would be hitting the posts themselves and what angles
were needed to create the correct dimensions.
Now at this stage although I’d created these to be 3 dimensional, they
were still actually one dimensional, as they were still flat. If you looked at these
from even a short distance they were definitely showing as three
dimensional.... Jumping forward about 18 months, and as usual with all my work I then added trapunto under these which then really totally brought
them to 3 dimensional.
The pickets within the gate and the ones to one side of the gate, have the
darker edge of the picket, which represents the side / thickness of the picket
on the right and the other side of the gate, these narrow side edges are on the left, once again when you stand and really look at the fence this is how you
see it, due to the right angle and perspective of the actual fence and gate.
Although these posts and balls look very simple there was actually
a lot of work went into them, for the correctness of perspective, shadows, etc.
They were an area of the quilt that I really enjoyed making.
At the end of the day there are many specifics that make something like this really work, and fabric use is a big part of it.
It’s things like this, that make my exhibition quilts very slow and time consuming to make, but at the end of completion it’s so rewarding. This quilt took me approx 2.5 years to create from start to finish.
At the time of writing this, I have a new exhibition quilt growing within my head. As many of you know, I don’t actually work from patterns, the idea
and image of the quilt grows inside my head and that is where it stays until
With all the things I do and create here plus all the in-person teaching that
I do, I haven't created many exhibition quilts over the last couple of years,
but hopefully there’ll be a new one starting sometime very soon and yes once
again it’ll be a huge quilt, with lots of very fine details & creations within it.
To learn more about how I work my fabrics different to most people and
create the amazing results from my fabrics and how you can also learn this very simple way of doing this too, within your beautiful creative journey then just
click here to learn more.
I hope you’ve learnt something here today or at least gained some
inspiration from me that you can apply to your next creative masterpiece.
I also use a clear monofilament thread for sewing all my applique pieces
together and then when I'm attaching my applique pieces to my actual fabric.
I find monofilament thread is one of my best friends when creating my quilts
like this, but so many people do not like using it, due to them not really knowing
how to set the sewing machines tension correctly and a few other finer points
as well. Once you understand how to use monofilament thread, then it'll always
be your friend.
Learn what brands I use and why I use these particular brands and also
how to set your sewing machine to be forever able to sew monofilament thread,
and also why I never use a smoke colored monofilament thread HERE.
Psss.. I always call every person’s piece of work “their creative masterpiece” regardless if it’s for themselves, a gift, their beloved pet or an exhibition, as every piece of work is being created from within the depths of our creative souls and we all need to be proud of our own workmanship and journey.
I’ll be back again real soon with something else to hopefully inspire you, but in the meantime you may like to check out my Gallery page here for more inspiring images of some of my work.
Have a beautiful day