Fabric Collage

One of this year’s experiments has finally come together into a finished piece I’ve named “Suspended,” which I hesitate to call a quilt. I think fabric collage is a more descriptive term. More and more I’m using this big piece approach as lots of cutting and pressing cause problems with tendonitis in my dominant arm.

It began with chunks of cloth I had done some form of surface design on. Here’s my first mock-up, which is much wispier than where the piece ended up.

I had originally planned diagonal thin strips.

I sewed blocks of silk and cotton I had painted and printed to a piece of cotton drill cloth with no regard for finished edges. A lot of trimming and shaping went on as I wrestled with a layout. I realize it may not look that way, but trust me on this.

On top of that I sewed down chunks of silk organza I had monoprinted, plus a bit of an old curtain. Finally, I glued random strips and squares of cotton fabric over it all.

“Suspended” after sewing down the fabric chunks, with some organza. I ended up cutting off at least 6 inches horizontally and some 3 inches vertically to reach proportions that worked for me.
Computer drawing of possible overlays.
First try with actual overlays. It definitely needed more.
Completed top

I quilted it with off kilter lines, following the Marcia Derse backing fabric. I emphasized the thin strips with 30 weight thread and a jeans stitch. I’m still debating whether “Suspended” should have a vertical or horizontal orientation. It’s roughly 22 by 26 inches. Let me know your opinion.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

24 responses to “Fabric Collage

  1. I like it either way. And that motorized turntable sounds great!

  2. Gwyned

    Another vote for vertical. It provides some tension/excitement to the piece that a horizontal orientation doesn’t. What intrigued me about your post is how you came to make the piece. Tendonitis has opened up a new world to you. Rather than seeing it as an impediment, you are on an adventure.

    • I learned last year that I can no longer do lots of piecing and cutting without pain, so it’s more painting, less sewing for me. It’s freeing to ignore all the quilting rules, though some have a hard time accepting my raw edges.

  3. Rebecca in SoCal

    FWIW, I like the vertical orientation, and think it better fulfills the title.

  4. Penny

    I prefer the second one with the brownish squares slightly left if center in a vertical format. The stitching has added even more to this already amazing piece, Joanna!

  5. Always great to read your process. I love this piece, the colors really speak to me. I think the weight distributions is good in the vertical orientation but I like to horizontal best.

  6. Jane Herbst

    Joanna, I am always pleasantly surprised by what comes out of your wealth of creativity. Thanks for the views of the process. I have to admit I sometimes look at abstract collages and wonder how the maker arrived at the final iteration. I like Suspended in any orientation. If this were mine I’d be tempted to put the necessary sleeves or tabs on the back so I could rotate it on the wall as the mood serves. That said, my favorite orientation of all possible alternatives is the inverse of the horizontal, followed by the original vertical.

    • Yet a third opinion on orientation. At this rate I should install a motorized turntable on the back. I hope the process views help to explain the final product.

      • Jane Herbst

        Yes, Joanna, your process views absolutely explained the final product.
        I realize my comment should have included “but your process views show me how you arrived at the final product.” Motorized turntable — YES! So many options: continuous slow turn, timed turn such as every hour or every night at 2:30 a.m. so the new orientation greets you every morning, occasional reverse turn, …

      • When should I expect delivery on that.

  7. Sometimes… works that just make you you say done… are the best…!!! Although you may have sparked and idea… for some things I have been carting along waaaay too long!!! Just to use them and be done!

  8. The vertical orientation appeals more to me, so there you go………your first 2 comments and 2 different choices! I always say that’s a sign of good design, when it can go either direction. Lovely work. Thanks for sharing your process.

    • One factor in orientation has to do with minimum size requirements of some juried exhibits. Sometimes a minimum height is specified. Of course, I could always just put on another sleeve. And thanks for the compliment.

  9. Cherie in St Louis

    Such a wonderful summary to give us a peak into the development of your piece which I prefer oriented horizontally.

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