Challenging Yourself


One of my favorite ongoing challenges is the Readers Challenge posted in each issue of Quilting Arts magazine. This magazine is simply the best ongoing source of ideas and introductions to new materials…I’m not sure I would have become an art quilter without it.

Many of the challenges are, well, challenging!  (I will not show you the picture of my tragic attempt at a round piece with complementary colors…let’s just say that the NY Knicks could have used it as a logo.) But…I try to enter as often as possible because it is a terrific way to try something different.

I began the Face Time piece (which will appear in the Feb/Mar issue) with some trepidation … See an earlier post of mine about bloopers ;).  Human faces are much much more difficult for me than cats or dogs.  And yet…I had some wonderful old pictures of my uncle, clowning for the camera, that I really wanted to use.

First step is easy:  use the MobileMonet app to turn the photo into a more-easily-traceable illustration.

Then, time to MistyFuse the selection of fabrics (I chose a range of greys to honor the original photo) and trace a pattern with freezer paper-

Fueled by Halloween candy, of course. Next, carefully ink in a few features, fuse the pieces and layer with batting and a fun backing fabric (I adore Lynn Krawcyk’s “Inked” collection).  Choose a range of thread colors that are fairly close if you want the thread work to appear blended…here I went to my stash of Superior’s Magnifico thread.

And now for the hard part—quilting the face. Take time to study the work of artists whose human portraits inspire you. Kate Themel is particularly helpful for me in this regard.  (If you ever get to take a class with Kate, DO!). Deep breath, crossed fingers and go for it.

I hope my uncle would be pleased ;). Off to work on the next Readers Challenge!

Published by neonkittyquilts

Laurie is a fiber artist who combines her passion for animals and quilting by producing pet portraits though a technique she calls "Pet-lique." A frequent teacher at IQF's Open Studios and The City Quilter in NYC, she has been published in Quilting Arts magazine and The Canadian Quilter. Her art quilts have been juried into special exhibits in Houston and the National Juried Show of the CQA. She sits on the board of the Quilt Alliance and is an enthusiastic member of SAQA. Laurie lives in NYC and Connecticut with her husband, their two angelic German Shepherds and three mischievous felines.

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