Arts and Old Lace was the 2012 Art Quilt Challenge that was hosted by Artistic Artifacts and Cyndi Souder of Moonlighting Quilts. Below is a photo of my completed Challenge Piece. (Click here for a large view of “Lace with Grace.”)
I design intuitively, which means that I don’t have a documented plan when I start a piece. I might have an idea that I like, a vintage photo, a couple of items that go together... but otherwise I am a tornado in my studio, pulling items and testing how I feel about the composition in real time.
After the tornado there are sometimes items that I think still work together, and ‘why don’t I just start the next art quilt’..... so these items are kept together. I think I have been moving the below pictured grouping around my studio for about two years now.
Do you see the white clay doll in the middle? She is a Frozen Charlotte and came from Germany. I just love these vintage china pieces and wanted her to be the focal point of a quilt. Originally I thought this piece would have to be mounted on a canvas due to the weight of Charlotte, but it turned out to be fine. The lesson today is how to mount three-dimensional items to your quilt with glue!
Glue!! I know, I freaked you out, didn't I? But yes, glue. The trick is to glue the item to another piece of fabric, like ultrasuede or, as in this case, a piece of vilene, then stitch that onto your art quilt.
Pelment Vilene is a European product that is similar to Lutradur. The Tentakulum company includes hand-painted pieces in several of its popular Painted Threads products, for example, the Painter’s Pixies. For this project, I cut down a postcard size piece. I took matte gel medium (fabric glue is fine also) and applied it to the back of the frozen Charlotte at the points that would meet the Vilene.
In addition, I used a double strand of beading thread, secured around the neck and one leg of the doll. I thought about adding pearls or small beads to the tie downs, but in the end decided not to.
To stablize the vintage ribbon that was used in the art quilt, I applied a stiff organza fabric with Mistyfuse. Doing so helped to keep the vintage material together and straight, as well as making stitching through the ribbon easier.
I have learned the hard way that it is necessary to machine stitch the background before adding my layers. And for this particular project, I even applied and stitched the binding on before attaching the doll.
The remainder of the items — ribbon, lace, buttons, pearls — were all stitched on by hand. In other projects I will add such layers on with machine stitching, but in this case I felt the condition of the ribbon and lace cuff would would be better preserved with careful hand stitching.