woodland oaks, chanterelles and crocus

by orkaloca January 18 creazioni * Art Quilt

In October the magazine Cora (dedicated to artistic artisanship) has sponsored a contest (various techniques) with the theme "leaves mushrooms and berries of autumn"
The works were exposed in the booth of Cora Edition during the fair Creattiva of Bergamo. There were not too many works, and there were different techniques, from quilts to lace, but each one was at least nice :)

I didn't show you the quilt before because I didn't know when and if the jury would have chosen a winner (because I don't think there was the minimum number of works required to make the contest). Now the fair is gone, and is gone also the period within which the work had to remain avalaible for the organizers, and I asked him to send it back to me.
Now I feel free to show you my quilt.

Title: SOTTOBOSCO - querce finferli e crochi (WOODLAND: oaks, chanterelles and crocus)
Size: about 15"x15"

If you'll go on reading I'll tell you more :)

When I read the theme, I immediately thought that would be the ideal opportunity to use the fabric you see in the background. I think it's linen, beige, and has some beautiful and very fine grain, like wood. There were only two problems:
1) It wasn't a big piece but an old skirt of my grandmother, so I had to cut it to recover the more fabric possible
2) Here and there the moths had done their job, leaving little holes that I had to cover with a tactical positioning of the applications

And since I'm not happy if I don't complicate my life, I wanted to do three-dimensional applications. Not only slightly curved or puffy, I wanted mushrooms and petals pop-up from the quilt surface.

This work was assembled "contrariwise"... In fact the first step was the construction of the background and the quilting.
I wanted the quilting had "movement" so I quilted shapes of oak leaves in various sizes, with a brown thread that is visible against the beige fabric.
Then I filled the remaining spaces with a stipple made with a thread matching the fabric.
All applications have been sewn, by hand or machine, after all the quilting was done.

There weren't less difficoult parts, but I had hard time with the mushrooms. After I researched about various types of mushrooms, I decided to make chanterelles. The problems were:
- give a realistic look to the gills: To do this I made a double layer of fabric, I sewed along the lines dividing the gills, then I cut the first layer of fabric between the seams to make visible the underlying fabric. The raw edges give a realistic look to the gills, in my opinion.
- To make the mushroom in 3D: I did a funnel with the fabric-with-gills and another fabric piece. Then I closed the funnel with the yellow fabric to do the cap. Finding the right position for the gills and provide an irregular margin were key elements to give realism to the mushroom.
Inside the mushroom is a bit of batting to give it a puffy look.
- give a realistic color to the chanterelle cap: for this I added brown marks and spots made with crayons.

The flowers are crocus (Crocus sp.). I know they seems huge but their size is proportionate to those of mushrooms and leaves.
I had to decide which and how many petals had to pop-up from the quilt surface.
The full-appliqued petals are sewn in double, tourned right-side out and padded. The pop-up petals are made like the appliqued ones but inside them there is a metal wire that supports the whole outline.
To do petals I used an hand-dyed cotton sateen and I made the purple darker veins with paintstick.
The long leaves are made from a strip of green fabric, closed in a tube and sewn with a center seam.
The stamens are just three yellow ovals made in double.

Finally, there are oak leaves. They are made of hand dyed cotton; I had various shades of brown and green that seemed to me ideal for the autumn leaves.
Each leaf is stitched on a double layer of fabric, cut, turned right-side out and sewn.
What keeps the leaves on the quilt are the seams that make the veins. Everything was sewed in free-motion.

I must say that this work gave me lot of satisfaction, and I can not wait to get it back in my paws :)

If you want leave me a comment, I'd be glad to know what do you think :)

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