When students attend my surface design classes, I always encourage them to just play and create fabric, and build a stash. I am happy to say that I practice what I preach on this one!
My studio is a small bedroom in my home, and the best part of the room is that there are two closets that I have filled with drawers from the elfa® Shelving Systems. These drawers are stuffed with my huge stash of fabrics, including most of my painted fabric: gel printing plate monoprints, wood block printed fabric There’s even a drawer dedicated to my handmade silk paper. Going through your stash periodically can inspire you to begin a new project.
I found the below square of fabric featuring a green and yellow tree in my stash, and it so coordinated with the green fabrics I used to create one of our Row by Row Experience samples in the shop that I was inspired to make use of the leftover strip piecing I had already completed. I have really been having fun Rayna Gillman’s wonky strip piecing technique, as described in her book, Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts: a Stress-Free Journey to Original Design). (See my previous blog post for my take on Rayna’s technique.)
I created this tree by placing a stencil on a gel printing plate and rolling a mix of paint over the stencil with a brayer. Lift up the stencil, and then lay down fabric atop the image on the plate. (Honestly, I was a bit amazed that I was able to keep the fabric around the stencil so clean and white!) I am sorry to say I don’t remember exactly which stencil this is, but with more than 200 stencils in our online store I am sure you can find one you like!
Above is the start. The colors are great, but despite my earlier pride about keeping so much of the fabric surrounding the tree white, now I am just not liking the white ‘screaming’ at me from the background. I wasn’t sure what to do about it and finally decided to stamp it. I used Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink Pad in Danube Blue and a Cover-a-Card Script Stamp. The trick was to not stamp over the tree!
Much better with the stamped background (photo above), I think!
Using additional hand-stamped and printed fabrics left over from sewing the Row by Row samples, I enlarged the overall dimensions. The bright green batik fabric you see on the right hand side was auditioning for binding. I think that the quilt needed a bright color.
While happier with the stamped background, as I was working I concluded that I stamped too much close to the tree. I softened those areas using some Stewart Gill Alchemy paint in the Opal shade; I simply painted over some of the stamping close to the tree (see detail below).
Once layered with batting and bound, I free-motion quilted the center tree block and the borders using a wonderful variegated thread.
Finished! Click here for a larger view of the completed quilt.