Quilt or Painting?

This week I have done something completely different!. I wanted to break out of the standard sewing rut that I have been digging myself into for the last few years. It all started with this painting.

I painted this seven or eight years ago when I sold paintings at the markets..before I even had a sewing machine to call my own. I painted and sold many,many frangipanis back then. Living in a tropical paradise it seemed to be what people wanted on their walls!. This one however never seemed to work for me. I just didn’t like it, so it has spent the last however many years in a box in the garage. I pulled it out the other day, (along with all the other not wanted paintings), because I had an idea that I wanted to explore. It has sustained a little damage shoved in it’s box but that was fine for what I was about to do to it.

Basically, I removed the timber frame and quilted it. I just wanted to see what would happen. Here is where it is at right now. I used bamboo batting and a scrap of cotton that I thought would tie in for the backing. It doesn’t look very different from a distance! Up close though there is a huge amount of added texture. I free motion stitched with a wide range of colours to highlight certain parts of the painting.

It still isn’t finished, I’m not happy with the edges and I need to work out how it will hang. I want to keep the sides as a reminder of it’s former life and I do like leaving the edges rough, not bound. One of the issues with the edges is that because it was originally mounted on a timber frame, the corners are missing, leaving a triangular indentation at the corners.

I learned a few things during this process as well, when you quilt too heavily on one spot, the paint chips. This is fine in some areas as I just quilted more heavily and covered the spots with thread instead. Because some areas have been quite heavily quilted and other areas not at all, the canvas has puckered so that it doesn’t sit flat. This is actually OK though. The areas that haven’t been quilted are the large white parts of the petals. The puckering means that these actually sit out from the work, giving a really great 3D quality to the piece. This is hard to see in the photos but the petals kind of sit out like bubbles.

The main issue to deal with is the canvas itself. It is quite thick and inflexible, so so difficult to work with. Next time I will paint onto some lighter weight cotton canvas specifically so that I can quilt it. That was not on my mind when I painted this one! As an experiment though, I think this worked. it has motivated me to try more. And that is what its all about is it not?

I even like the back…..maybe more than the front lol. More subtle and my quickly grabbed fabric choice ties in nicely! This is my problem with hanging it, I want to by able to hang it either way.


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