A Landscape Experiment

Back in 2016 I used a phone to take this photo of a downtown Akron intersection, drew up a sketch from it, and then did nothing with it.

I resurrected the sketch when I saw an announcement for a juried local art show called Against The Sky. While I haven’t had luck getting into all media shows, I thought I’d make up my work and then decide whether to enter it.

Luckily I had bought the perfect piece of hand painted fabric for a sunset, which I combined with simplified outlines of the buildings in the photo. I adapted the technique Heather Dubreuil uses for her cityscapes. She outlines buildings and architectural details with black thread by drawing her design on a Sulky heat-away product. She uses the drawing to place fabrics underneath, fuses the fabrics, and then stitches the lines on the iron-away product over everything. She tears away the product after stitching.

Instead, I drew a line design, made freezer paper templates from the design to cut out fused fabric, fused the fabric on my background sky and pavement, and then traced the line design on the Sulky product (I had purchased a package at a quilt show) and stitched over it. Because my fabrics were dark, I used a dark gray thread.

Sketch as line drawing.

Freezer paper templates before cutting out.

Thread color trials. I went with the dark gray that’s on the bottom.

Start of stitching over Sulky product.

Despite the product instructions NOT to use a permanent marker, that’s what I ended up using as wash away markers wouldn’t leave a mark. I was able to tear away most of the plastic so there was little to remove with heat.

I may glue the quilted top to a pre-stretched canvas with black painted edges. Maybe that will make it more appealing to a juror.

Final (before edge finishing) on stretched canvas.




Filed under Art quilts, In Process, Techniques

22 responses to “A Landscape Experiment

  1. I thank you for your detailed explanation. I don’t quite get why you use the Sulky tear away product instead of stitching straight onto the fused fabric?

    • I used the Sulky stuff because a) I had it, and b) I wanted to offset the quilting lines from the fabric pieces and be sure I was adhering to my drawing. I can see why you’d ask, as normally I’d stitch directly onto the fused fabric, but I had traced my outlines on the product to help with fabric placement (transparency and all that) and figured I’d see how it worked for quilting. I could stitch through it fine and it was easy to remove. Most just tore away, and the last bits could be ironed off.

  2. Gayle Coots

    This is wonderful work that has really caught my attention! Thank you also for the link to Heather Dubreuil. This is the landscape work I would love to do with my quilting. Great inspiration from you!!

  3. Good luck with your entry. You chose well from the original photo to simplify it in a meaningful way. The sunset is the star of the show, but we wouldn’t know that without the supporting elements. Good work all around.

  4. Rosemaryflower

    This is extremely well done. I like it very very much

  5. This is a great piece with a beautiful sky fabric. I appreciate you writing about and showing photos of your process. I think mounting it to a canvas is good idea, I think the subject matter works well on a firm sub straight. I hope you will share again when it is completely finished, I’d like to see a close up of the edge and how you finish it to the canvas. Thanks!

    • Thanks. I plan to follow Heather Dubreuil’s process, where she finishes the edge with a narrow zigzag, then “glues” the piece to the canvas with matte gel medium. I’ve looked at similar methods, some of which use craft glue. It boils down to whether I envision ever separating the work from the canvas.

      • Sorry, if I missed this but are you using batting in this piece? I always use gel medium to adhere but you make a good point about using craft glue so that it isn’t permanent to the canvas.

      • No, you missed nothing. I did. I forgot to say the piece is sewn to crinoline, then backed with fusible fleece. I wanted a stiffness however I finished the piece.

      • I was wondering because I have had trouble in the past, when using good thin batting, with the small zig-zag covering/enclosing the layers (But honestly, I usually did give a darn!). Yours sound like a good construction method. Thanks for answering my curiosities!

  6. I love the way the sunset is reflected in the windows of the left hand building, and the way the basement lights are on in the right hand building.
    Are you going to add in the “fishtail” of light coming from the street lamp? If you don’t add it to this piece, I hope you do something with it in a future piece, because it is such an interesting shape.

    • Glad you like it. No, the streetlight light won’t be part of this one as the sky I’ve made is a bit too early in the evening for the light to show well. also, I don’t want to draw attention from the sunset. I had originally planned to do this as a twilight piece where the fishtail would should up better, but the fabric made the decision for me.

  7. Edie Taylor

    I love your quilt. Great work! Your background fabric looks like a Mickey Lawler fabric and her website is skyedyes.com.

    • The background fabric is by an artist who sells her work as Lost My Marbles, though I can find no website that’s her. I’ve used Mickey’s DVDs to paint fabric and have had fair success with her approach. And thanks for the kind words.

  8. It’s lovely and best of luck.

  9. Wow, that is fabulous! I always wondered how people did textile landscapes. That sunset fabric is wonderful. 🙂

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