Metal + Velvet = Texture!

Sometimes it’s fun to step away from your usual ingredients (in my case, clear bright batiks) and experiment with other materials. This quilt began as a play session with sheets of fused copper foil – amazing what you find when you tidy your art supplies 🤣. First, I considered creating something by using a rubbing plate:

…which was tremendous fun until it occurred to me that fusing this would remove most of the raised design. Hmm.

One of my other cleaning-up discoveries was a piece of hand-dyed velvet by Laura Wasilowski, purchased at Houston some years ago. The deep greens and midnight blue would be a perfect foil (sorry couldn’t resist) for the copper. Trees are a recurring theme in my work so I decided to cut leaves from the foil and lay them out against the ‘sky.’

Oooh! Yes, definitely. Next decision, the tree trunk…would need to be light to provide some contrast in value. I reached for a light grey Lava Solid; the tonal packs from Windham’s Anthology Batiks are a fabulous way to build your stash I free-cut the tree by roughing out the approximate size:

…then cutting branches with my rotary cutter. This is such a fun part of the process – no need to be perfectly symmetrical as no real tree is!

The grey fabric was (of course) already Mistyfused I fused the velvet to batting and backing, then fused the trunk to the velvet and stitched into the trunk with a darker shade of grey Aurifil.

Next, I placed the leaves on the branches (one branch reserved for a tiny treehouse) and fused them. The pre-fusing on the metal foil does actually work very well.

Stitching the leaves proved to be the more challenging part, as I swear by Superior Threads’ Topstitch needles…the size 90 left large holes in my first leaf 😳. I found a size 75 which worked better…the challenge was to have a needle with a sufficiently large eye to not shred the matching copper thread! My go-to metallic is

Next, the background. Quilting velvet is a joy because the stitches nearly disappear, leaving a surface that appears carved. The perfect Aurifil shades of midnight blue and dark green created wind and (lots of) leaves:

To finish, I shaded the trunk with a soft 4B pencil to soften the too-light value of the trunk…and bound as usual.

Morals of the story: always buy hand-dyed velvets when you see them ;)…and clean up your studio every now and then to rediscover cool art supplies 😁.

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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