I’ve been working on the “Sunflower” art quilt for the past few days. I pencilled in the layout on the prepared muslin backed with batting, traced the flower petals from a photo enlargement on to tissue paper then placed tracing paper beneath to retrace onto the muslin, fused some Heat ‘n Bond to the back of a piece of subtly printed bright yellow fabric, cut out all 38 petals and have so far put them aside because before I can fuse them in place I need to do all the work on the background! For the moment, I’m placeholding the centre of the flower with a paper printout to scale.
I decided to create the background working from the original photo because the detail was sharper and showed the elements in the background more clearly. I fused a pale green printed fabric to the top of the image area on the muslin (having darkened the top edge using fabric pastels – very little of that band will show when the piece is finished). Below that a soft blue. I laid in a purple/blue/pinkish batik strip as background at the bottom of the piece – leaves will be overlaid on that fabric and very little of it will be visible. I filled in most of the remaining background with pieces of greens and purples. These, too, will be mostly covered. Again, I’m using tissue paper for my templates so I can see through it to the photo enlargement, and when cut out I can see the fabric pieces beneath. I want to cover all the raw edges of the background with the foliage so that only a sense of colour peeps through.
Once I sorted out what fabrics I wanted to use for the foliage, I returned to working from the cropped enlargement to help me retain proportions.
I traced the leaves and have pinned the tracings in place on the piece. I’ve selected mostly batiks here because the colour variation in it will help with the subtlety of shading I’m trying to create. In the photo, the leaves are predominantly a very light colour reflecting the sunlight. The challenge will be achieving a realistic look to the piecing of the foliage. If, in the end I don’t like what I’ve got, I may print the foliage on fabric, fussy cut the leaves and stems, fuse that printed fabric in place and thread paint it.
I’m calling it quits for today – tomorrow I’ll begin crafting the leaves and stems hoping they will turn out as I imagine them.