In May I was approached by a local trapeze professional with a query for a surprise commission as a birthday gift for his fiancée, the head of the local flying trapeze program. Smitten with circus as I already am, I was tickled to take on the challenge of representing the geometric rigging and the muscular figure in the awkward and familiar medium of fabric. I’d love to share with you some captures of the process so you can see how it was done.
I started with a photograph she had posted on Facebook. I enlarged it, zoomed in, played with the colors and tried to narrow the focus for the piece, find the best crop for the image and maintain the sentimental and meaningful aspects of the image for the client.
Once I narrowed the image selection, I had it printed on the final size format I desired and made a tracing for my rough outline.
Next, I cut out pattern pieces for the large net areas, the figure and the rigging. The fabrics were selected and laid out and the construction of the background could begin.
I delighted in the variety of fabrics I could use to create textures and micro fields of color and was humored by the sources that formed my palette. Here are some samples of the places I found skin, hair, clothing, netting, webbing and background.
It was messy work, involving templates, glue, stitching , broken needles and a lot of tiny scraps everywhere.
Once the fabrics were placed, I could add details with my thread work and add dimension with the quilting stitches.
I hung the work repeatedly to gauge the perception of dimension and compare to the source photo.
Once satisfied with the quilting, detail work and texture, I added a flange border, echoing the deep purple of the pants leg to bring the eye back into the frame after following the rigging lines outward. I built a frame to mount the work upon and I hung it on the wall.
I was equally happy with the back of the quilt!
Before delivering the quilt to the client, I had a professional photographer capture an image to really do the piece justice and help me remember the parts I loved most.
I hope you enjoyed this little peek-a-boo into the circus tents of my little studio and this making of an art quilt description. If you have an image you’d like to preserve in a special way- be in touch! I love to collaborate.