Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Birds in a Bush Quilts

My next quilts were originally going to be wall art for a basement apartment in Bountiful that I shared with my friend and roommate Stephanie. Steph is a great interior designer and had wonderful ideas for our apartment. We both decided we loved birds right around the same time. (In fact it was a little scary how many things we ended up doing or liking at the same time. We often came home from work to find we were wearing matching outfits.) I started drawing birds all over my church journal. (This is a journal I take to church to take notes, but really I just use it as a sketch book.)

 I wasn't happy with any of my designs so I started to look for inspiration in my many art books. The danger of this practice is that I inadvertently steal designs. (Or in this case, blatantly steal designs.) I just loved a design I found on page 108 in An American Celebration: the Art of Charles Wysocki. It's a design with birds in a bush with a whirligig on top and a heart on the bottom. My homage to the design isn't exactly the same, I simplified some of the birds, changed all the colors, left out the top and bottom of the design, and added a couple of my own birds.

I started in good form. I drew the design on a large sheet of paper, traced it onto fusible webbing, cut out all the tiny little pieces, ironed the pieces to the back side of different fabrics, cut out the pieces from the fabric, peeled off the paper from the backside of all the pieces, then assembled it with the fabric all right side up like a collage onto the black background.(With fusible webbing you end up with a mirrored image of your original design.) I then carefully ironed all the pieces down so I could eventually sew them in place.

This sounds like and is a lot of work. I forget why I stopped there, but the design got folded up and put away for 3 years. Most likely I was a little burned out and wanted a break, and later just forgot about my project. Last Summer I pulled it out again and decided I still wanted this design on my wall. By then Alan and I were married and we had a new king sized bed with a big blank wall above it. I have always felt that blank walls are kind of hostile, so I had wanted to put a painting above our bed. Alan discouraged the idea of a heavy frame right over our heads in case of an earthquake, so I found my old abandoned wall hanging and got to work sewing around all those tiny little pieces.

The finished quilt is 24 x 25 inches

I also had two smaller companion quilts, they are inspired by the same book and were assembled the same way at the same time. They are each 17.5 x12.5 inches

I hadn't really decided how I was going to group them until I finished all the quilts. I usually hang my wall hangings by curtain clamps on a curtain rod. Three quilts would take too many curtain rods, so I bought some black push pins and tacked them all to the wall.

Lots and lots of fun little birdies, that are quiet and don't make a mess.

Next time: Pumpkins and Crows, an applique quilt with an actual pattern!

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