Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Challenge 4 Art: Blue

It's the second deadline for our Challenge 4 Art project. The theme? "Blue."

The other three talented quilters in our little group are:
Amy of Amy's Crafty Shenanigans
Claudia of Machen und Tun 
Susannah from fiberchick 
Be sure to check out their projects too when you're done here! I can't wait to see what everyone came up with.

I chose to create a landscape quilt of some of the most vibrant blues I've ever seen--in the Whitsundays, a group of islands located in the Great Barrier Reef.  I was lucky enough to visit the area eleven years ago with my now-husband and my parents. We spent one magical afternoon on Whitehaven Beach--one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia. Part of the allure of the beach is a cove with a significant tide change--it creates a swirled look as it goes in and out. My words (nor my photos, shown below from my pre-digital-era scrapbook!) do not do any of it justice!

One of our souvenirs from the trip was a full set of Peter Lik's Out of the Blue books, chock full of absolutely gorgeous photography of Australia. I couldn't find the book online to link to, so I took a (bad) photo of my book so you could better see the cove and the swirling tide.

Here is my piece, which likely will be a continued work in progress. The details are comprised primarily of thread painting (detailed photos below), and every time I look at it, thinking it's finished, I find more areas where I think it needs a little more work.

Unlike the first project, I had my idea for this project pretty early. The tough part was finding time to do it. If I'd had 6 months or so to make it, I would have constructed it differently than I did--it was definitely a learning experience. In retrospect (and with more time), I would have traced each shape onto fabric, auditioned the pieces together, and then removed them all and layered and quilted each layer individually. But not knowing how it was going to turn out, I layered all the fabrics first, some with fusible web and others just pinned, and then began stitching on top.

Here it is with very little stitching on it:

I had a vision in my mind (which I haven't quite reached yet!). I wanted to use fabrics for the main sections and then create the details and shading with threadwork. I knew this project would be a challenge because I really wanted it to look realistic, and I wasn't sure that I could accomplish that. But a challenge is the perfect place to try something outside of my comfort zone, to stretch a little. And I'm still stretching, because I'm not in love with this yet. But it'll get there, and hopefully that happens before it's so stiff with thread that it stands up on its own!

I love the thread painting going on here, but I struggled with achieving shading that would create depth as the water and sand sink into the background. That's the area I'd really like to go back and work on.

I used strips of different blue fabrics to create the gradation in the water.

I can't wait to see how everyone else interpreted "blue!"
You can see my June challenge (and find the link to the other ladies as well) here.


  1. This is beautiful. I can feel the sand between the toes... Love your thread painting!

  2. This is very clever and inviting - I want to touch it! It looks amazing - well done Ellie Q :)

  3. love your threadpainting!! and it is interesting, how the pieces changes with more of that paintin.. love your interpretation, it looks like such a peaceful, beautiful place :-)

  4. HOw lucky are you to have been there?! I'm Australian and haven't visited Whitehaven beach before. It looks beautiful. Your quilt is a great representation too.

  5. gorgeous-stitching is the icing on the cake!