It's a quilt...... no honestly.... it is. How do I justify saying that? Well, it's like this......
Patchwork or piecing and the construction of a quilt has a long history. It has developed in many different places in the world resulting in a rich diversity of styles and approaches. Originally, it probably developed as a method of producing an inexpensive textile using precious fabric remnants at a time when fabric wasn't easy to obtain. Many astonishingly beautiful examples can be found in museums and stately homes around the world.
A traditional definition of a quilt is that it must consist of three layers; a top layer which can be a whole cloth or a pieced cloth. A middle layer which may be wadding, which comes in a huge variety of types, different thicknesses, made from different materials; wool, silk, polyester and cotton. Then there is a backing fabric which again can be a whole cloth or a pieced or patched cloth.
Wadding, however may be replaced by other fabrics, in India for example, this middle layer may traditionally be composed of old sari's stitched together. You may encounter quilters muslin or calico being used.
That's all very well but how does that make my 'picture' a quilt?
Well, quilting and patchwork is a very vibrant area. It is both a craft and an art form. This basic definition of a quilt is subject to a huge variety of interpretations. How the contemporary quilter chooses to interpret those three layers required to make a quilt is entirely personal. (Remind you of the little discussion about interlining?)
My quilt picture was made at a workshop run by Ineke Berlyn. You can see some of her work here on her website. Link and in her book.
Ineke's book - a book full of ideas!To construct these art quilts she combines layers of sheer, organza, net, tulle and muslin along with sympathetic stitching to create pieces of extraordinarily rich, translucent window art.
This fabric window art, when hung where light can shine through it creates dancing light as though through a stained glass window. Different light throughtout the day and throughout the seasons makes these 'sheer art quilts' pieces that constantly change.
An example of Ineke's work - a View of the Malvern.
This little one of mine is a worked example set out for the workshop. It has a layer of polyester organza as the backing layer with pieces of sheers in different colours, layered to create even more colour effects. Painted lutrador was used for the trees and some of the more defined leaves (yes, they are leaves! ) and some pieces of dyed calico to create some areas of solid colour, which helps to give the piece depth.
A tempting heap of sheers, tulle and hand dyed calico and time to play - what more could you ask for?
The shapes you cut out for your 'picture' are then 'bondawebbed' in position onto the backing fabric. It's suprising how long that can take. It's a lot of deciding, is that tree at all like a tree? Enough flowers....... you did guess this was supposed to be bluebell wood didn't you?
I think that's part of the fascination that patchwork and quilting holds for me. There is so much variation and just when you think that there can't be any more that folk can achieve with pieces of cloth you come across someone elses work and the fascination deepens. There is always something new, something wonderful just waiting..........
This is a piece depicting Bethlehem, worked in sheers, with stitching in gold and silver threads. Christmas is coming....... give you any ideas?