Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quilt FFFC #49 - Three Pears

It seems like forever since I have finished a quilt even a small one, and the one above is a small one, only 9.5 x 11.75 inches. Like most of my small quilts in the past couple of years this one was done for the FFFC Yahoo group challenge. The September challenge was to create a quilt using chiaroscuro, or strong dramatic light effects.  I was thrilled when I read the details, shadows and dramatic lighting are right up my ally so to speak. Many of the figure drawings I have been doing weekly use the effects of strong lighting and shadows to create definition and drama. It certainly is easier to draw a figure or object when there are strong shadows. So it didn't take long for me to know I wanted to do this. After a bit of thought I decided I didn't want to try and get too complex with the images to be portrayed. So I thought of fruit, first apples, but then pears, pears have a more interesting shape so pears it was to be.

But one object doesn't make a composition, and I wanted this quilt to be a bit more then just a study, so on my way to one of my Monday night drawing sessions I stopped at a grocery store and picked up 3 pears to use for my subject.

Now that I had my pears I needed to photograph them using strong directional light. I created a set up on my kitchen table with the pears and as a light source an Ott light and a couple of foam boards. I took several photographs using different shutter speeds to control how light the light areas were in the photograph. I found the different brackets useful when I created the drawing that I would use to create the templates.

The image above shows one of my pear photographs, and the drawing I created from it.
You can see where I labeled the template sections on my drawing. I then created freezer paper templates for the pears and the background.

Next step was to select fabrics. For me this is the fun part. I wanted the background to have contrast with the colors used in the pears, so for me yellow/orange/brown were the colors. For the pears I pulled a lot of my Primrose Gradation 6 inch gradation packs, all of the greens plus some other hand dyed greens that I have collected. For this quilt the light source is off to the left so I knew I wanted my lightest fabric on the left and the darkest fabrics on the right.  Once I had selected my background fabrics I auditioned the greens for the pears. I ended up using only 3 colors for the pears. Limiting my colors allowed me to keep my shapes simple and to repeat colors without putting the same color overlapping except in one area which I used paint sticks to correct.  The pears were temporarily assembled using a white fabric glue, then I used Shiva Paint sticks to both darken some areas, and to add highlights to others based on my photographs. I also used a dark paint stick to add a shadow area to the table fabric underneath where the pears would be positioned. you can see that shadow in the top image below. The painted fabrics were allowed to dry for a day then I heat set the paint with a hot iron.

The next image shows the positioning of the background upright pear. I used a narrow satin stitch to attach the pear to the background (shown in the middle image) The final image below shows the final positing of the 3 pears. Prior to creating the shadow area I had placed the pears on the background in various positions. In the end I placed the upright pear slightly to the right of the center. This positioning brings the right pear closer to the right edge, creating some tension between the right edge and the pear grouping, this positioning also allows the light color in the pears to balance out the bright area on the upper left.   

The background was machine quilted. I used only two different colors, one for the table and one for the background, with no particular pattern, except the table quilting is horizontal quilting and the background vertical. For the pears I used embroidery floss and hand stitched large stitches using floss colors to add to the shadow areas on the pears that was done with the paint sticks. I used black pearl cotton to create the pear stems. The quilt is bound with a narrow binding.

I don't suppose that it really took me that long to do, it should have been done within the allocated week if I had just sat down and done it, but I didn't I would work on it a bit here, a bit there until the past couple of days when I decided it really needed to be done before we received our Oct. Challenge. So here it is. I think it works, I know I love the colors, but then I seem to be turning into an orange lover.

So now I need to go back and work on one of the challenge quilts that I started but haven't yet finished. Course come Friday I will have a new challenge to work on. Who knows how I will feel about that one. In any case comments are welcome.