The Sky’s The Limit

After I finished “Shattered” I realized that I had finished everything I was working on except my unknown family photo piece. Since I abhor a vacuum in my production line I had to line up new work. I browsed my large file of inspiration photos and came up with two possibilities. Curiously enough both involve a lot of sky.

After pulling fabric for both, I decided to begin with a photo of the sky from the top of Bowman’s Hill tower in eastern Pennsylvania south of New Hope. I love the abstract lines of the safety fencing against the cloud filled sky.

First, I lightened the image to make the fencing seem to float. Then, I developed a template for the fencing out of newsprint.

Next came the fun part- creating a sky. I began with a stack of possible blues, blue-grays, grays, and purple blues. I mixed up hand dyes, bits of damask and denim, plus odd bits I had colored over the years with printing and painting.

These were stuck down on a piece of canvas with fusible and glue after much cutting and rearranging. It was really fabric collage work.

After some blending with oil pastels I layered the sky over batting and backing, and quilted it. Then it was time to cut out my template and see how it fit.
I played with the height a bit and then went to work on my fencing fabrics.

Because I didn’t want the ridges from the quilting to show through the fencing fabric I lined it with a fusible interfacing. I plan to sew down the fence edges with a zigzag stitch, but won’t fuse that fabric to the sky. At first I tried dark fabrics for the fence.

I decided my original choices overpowered the sky, so I switched out many of the darkest fabrics for lighter ones.

Dark fabrics
Lighter fabrics with a light highlight on the horizontal bars. I may (probably will) play with the vertical bar placement.

My next steps are mostly mechanical: hand baste the vertical pieces to the sky and zigzag them down, refine the bottom edges of the horizontal pieces to make it seem the pipes go through them, hand baste and then zigzag them down. After that I’ll see if any further coloring work is in order.

For once I don’t have a working title. I’ve thought of “Dreams of Freedom” or “From The Tower,” but I’m waiting for the bolt of inspiration.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.

13 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, In Process, Project Ideas

13 responses to “The Sky’s The Limit

  1. Great photo to put to fabric. I love seeing the before cut fabric sky pieces next to the collage cut pieces, that sky looks so good. I agree with the move to lighter fence pieces. Would love to see a close-up of your thread work when it’s finished.

    • I’ve made some of the fencing even lighter. If you want to see a closeup of my thread work you must want me to reveal my weaknesses :). So far the quilting is wavy lines done with variegated thread. The rest of the stitching will be a small zigzag around the fence pieces.

  2. I love fabric collage and think your sky looks fabulous!

  3. Barbara Haugen

    Love it!

  4. Norma Schlager

    This is so interesting and beautiful. Thanks for taking us through your process.

  5. Rebecca Chianese

    Amazing!

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