I've spent a good part of this summer working on a challenge quilt for Quilts on the Wall - a group of fiber artists here in southern California. The theme of this show which will travel to various venues around the country for up to two years is "Discovery".
A photo taken years ago on a trip to the mysterious and impressive prehistoric religious and cultural center at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico's four Corners area seemed made for this challenge. I always tell myself I will document the progress of a quilt from inspiration to finished work, but I seldom remember to do it. This time I photographed all the stages and thought I'd lay them out for those who like me sometimes have a vision, but don't know where to start.
First, I cropped my photo and manipulated the size and to some extent the color of my original snap. After printing out the photo at 8 1/2 X 11 , I traced it on to an acrylic transparency sheet the same size. From there I photocopied the transparency film and blew it up (using Poster Pro) to the required size of 28" X 38". After gluing together all those pages i had my full size cartoon.
Then I began auditioning fabrics and colors, later fusing my choices on to a cloth foundation. I used some absolutely stunning hand dyed sateen from Judy Bianchi of Sebastopol, California for the masonry. When the large pieces were all fused I added more color, depth, shadows and highlights with various fabric paints including Jacquard and Tsukineko. I drew all the shadows between the stones with Fabrico markers using my cartoon as a guide.
Free motion quilting using several passes of silk thread gave texture to the ones and more depth as you look from door to door, to door. As you can see the piece needed trimming and when the quilting was finished i realized that the trimmed size was smaller than the required 28 X 38. I fused a narrow border in a purple stripe that is my new favorite print right now , did some decorative stitching on the join between the border and the image and then added a facing for a clean edge.
I'm happy with the the finished quilt above on the right , in fact my other photos of this wonderfully evocative place may inspire more - perhaps Chaco II?