Saturday, 12 May 2012

Process photos for painting the quilt which is on the quilt.

 The quilt you saw on the last posting, has been tacked in place.  It's then free machined to shadow quilt the shapes.

Extra stitching was added to give depth and solidity to the area behind her lower back and bum.

Below: The first few coats of paint.  I use acrylic paint and build up washes.  There are no easy answers to the question I'm often asked which is "how".  You just keep plugging away until you get the effect you want.

The quilt is absorbent so it takes layers of paint and sometimes I let these dry between coats and sometimes I don't.  I don't use gel or gesso, I don't mix anything with the paint except water.  I like the effect but you need patience.
This is mid-stage and there's more to be done, but I thought you might like to see it stage by stage, because your eyes can't make sense of the piecing on it's own; all those odd random shapes!

It also helps me enormously because by putting up a photo, I can get a better picture of what needs to be done. It kind of gives me distance and a clarified view.


  1. Wow Annabel, I'm really surprised you don't use gesso first. I've been having a discussion with some other artist/quilters about this recently and the strong consensus was that eventually, the paint will eat away at the fabric without the application of gesso.

    I myself hadn't used it until that conversation, but really love the pliability the piece has a result of the gesso.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your process - and I love the slippers!

  2. Just so you know you're not talking to yourself I thought I'd pop up :-) It's always fascinating to follow your process Annabel. I'm sure they have a serious purpose but I do love the slippers. The addition of the paint is very effective and although it's a long process I think it's worth it.

  3. Hiya Julie: thank you I was getting lonely!! I love the slippers too; a very happy accident. Humour seems to seep into things I do so I'm going with the flow. I like the long process - it gives me thinking time and time to change things if they're not right!

    Thank you for your comment about the use of gesso. Before I started
    using acrylics I wrote to Windsor and Newton who assured me that
    acrylic paints were fine on cotton and wouldnt cause rot. In fact
    because they bond with the fibres they plasticize them. Acrylic paint
    is just plastic. In fact because they stop uv light reaching the
    fibres the paint helps preserve fabrics. If I used gesso, I'd lose the
    patterning in my fabrics - I need to use pure colour. I'm also
    concerned that nearly all gesso sold is acrylic based anyway!! Oil
    paint will rot fabric quite quickly because of the linseed oil soI
    definitely agree that it would be unwise to use that. At the end of
    the day there is probably an element of risk in all colouring of cloth
    including dye and we must make our own minds up; I intend to have a
    huge bonfire of my painted quilts when I get old. I don't see many of
    them surviving that!!

  4. How weird is this. I looked at your quilt and I love her expression, but then I thought I really do love the quirky fact that she is sat there, at her machine, in the buff, with funky snug slippers on! I just love that. And then, blow me, your other commenters also commented on the slippers!