Apsaras – painted Art Quilt (1)

August 9, 2008

It is quite strange. While other artists, coming from the media “painting” suddenly turn their interest into working with fabrics and textiles, in my case it was totally the other way round. While I may go back to quilting from time to time and test my inspirations on rather unusual themes and materials again, it was the creation of fabric images and quilting that brought me back to painting, that I stopped doing for various reasons many many years ago.

52″ x 69″, silk
pic 1

Especially this art quilt, I am presenting now, motivated me to try my hand on painting again. Maybe you can compare it (although that comparison really sucks 🙄 but I could not find any better) to those child’s painting pattern books, where the motifs are already outlined and the kid only chooses the colours to fill the forms up.


pic 2

The longer I think about this I realize painting quilts can be really pattern painting 😆 . Hopefully none of the real quilters will hang me for saying this.

You already have a form outlined with the quilting lines. Now you only need to fill out the forms. That’s how I started to paint the quilts. Later on – depending on the image – I worked the other way round: first finished the painting, finally did the quilting after that. But this is an entirely different story and the techniques are others than in this art work.


pic 3

At this stage I did still a lot of experimenting. First of all I had to cope with working on silk which is not only slippery but reacts to quilting lines completely differently than a piece of cotton or any other fabric. Silk produces a relief and does not stay flat, unless you use a stabilizer on the back, which is normally glued to the fabric, using the heat of an iron.
But I did not want to do that – I wanted the relief and those lovely shadows it would produce and I wanted that 3-dimensional feel.


pic 4

So painting on this piece of cloth was a real experiment, especially as I did not want the colours to flow beyond the quilting stitches. I did not want to use a resist either because then I would have had to wash the quilt again or would have got it dry cleaned which I did not want to do either. Each washing cycle or dry cleaning would take a little bit off the shimmer of the silk.

But with a special technique, painting with quite dry brushes, I achieved exactly what I wanted.

In the next part of this story I will tell you how I got to make this quilt, where the inspiration came from and what this is all about…

(read the next part of the story soon…)



4 Responses to “Apsaras – painted Art Quilt (1)”

  1. Sulaiman Says:

    Hi Vyala
    The silk painted quilt on your Blogsite is
    beautiful. I’m busy researching techniques
    I can employ to make silk painted quilted bedspreads, with stained-glass type designs.
    I would be interested to find out how you managed to keep silk paints within the quilted
    borders without using resist.
    I have thought about using wax-impregnated
    thread for the quilted lines. Would that work ?
    Best Regards

    Sulaiman Martheze
    Cape Town South Africa
    22 Aug 08

  2. vyala Says:

    Hi Sulaiman,
    you could try this method on an extra piece but I doubt that it would work reliably.
    Even if you work with gutta resists the moment the lines are not fully closed and there is a tiny gap in the lines the paint will flow.
    I have found that it is much too much hazzle to worry about closed lines or not. The only way to get this under control with less effort is to use a rather dry brush and keep away from painting too close to your lines.

  3. Diego Cotton Says:

    Body painting is a form of body art that can transform a person into a spirit, a work of art, another gender or even a map of a sacred place. Diego Cotton

  4. Swapna Says:

    Brilliant art work..not to mention the quilt idea 🙂

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