A while back, twelve members of my quilting group decided they wanted to explore art quilting. We decided to make one 12″ by 12″ quilt a month, with each member picking a theme that the rest of us could then interpret into a quilt.
Our first theme was “Green”. I spent a lot of time contemplating ideas and designs for Green. There are several possible interpretations; money, jealousy, earth-friendly, color. I had a great idea for jealousy but I could not make it work in such a short period of time. I knew a couple other members of my group were going with money and recycling ideas. So I chose to simply feature the color, but I wanted to do something unexpected, something you wouldn’t ordinarily associate with “green”.
I made a green zebra.
It was fun and surprisingly easy to make! I browsed copyright-free images on the internet, found a zebra, cropped it to what I thought was an interesting perspective, and printed it out on freezer paper. Since the paper is only 8.5″ by 11″, I couldn’t fill the whole width of the quilt with the image, but in the end I decided that this non-standard framing also added interest.
I ironed the freezer paper on the front of my green fabric, ironed fusible web on the back, and spent a happy hour pretending I was back in Mrs. McGee’s first grade class, cutting out green zebra stripes. I ironed it onto a solid white background and fused a stabilizer to the backing to support the stitching and give the quilt some stiffness, so it would hang nicely. Then I sandwiched the quilt with batting as usual, and quilted it with a zigzag stitch in metallic green thread all around the raw edges. I wanted it to be subtle but sparkly. I contemplated further quilting in the white areas, but in the end I decided it would distract from the main image.
I’ve never been much of an art quilt fan; I think there are maybe 20 art quilts I’ve seen that I actually liked. And I’m not much of an artist, either. I can’t draw, paint, sketch, etc. I have no sense of perspective and I can’t figure out how to illustrate light and shadows well. But for some reason, when I was asked if I wanted to participate in this art quilt challenge, I said yes. And I’m really glad I did! I surprised myself by accepting a challenge to do something I didn’t think I’d like doing. And then I surprised myself even more by actually enjoying the entire process and being proud of my final product!
How about you? Have you ever challenged yourself to do something you didn’t think you’d enjoy, only to discover you actually had fun?
I love the quilt! The metallic thread really brings it to life. And I love the way you thought “outside the box” and didn’t make the first green thing that came to mind. I did challenge myself to do a portrait quilt, thinking it would be the hardest thing ever. I don’t do well with color theory, and making the quilt helped me learn color-matching. Instead of being hard, it was thrilling watching the portrait come together! Your quilts always amaze me – the thought your truly put into them – and because of you I always step up my game when I’m preparing a quilt. You’re my quilting “hero”, and I love to surprise you with something you’re not expecting from me!