Monday, 14 January 2019

Studies in Transparency

I've been very busy during my college break and managed to finish a lot of quilting projects, but this one was the most pressing - and very interesting, too!

It was my Dance of the Goddess quilt that attracted attention at the Hands across the Border exhibition and I was asked to teach a workshop on the technique.

It is essentially free motion quilting with tulle (netting) appliquéd to create a semi-transparent, ghostly image. The challenge was, so, to think of simple small images that would work well with this kind of transparency and can be done in a day. I came up with a list of ideas that could be rendered in tulle and managed to put together five little samples.

The key to working with netting is the interaction of colour between the background fabric and the netting itself, it has to be contrasting to the background to be seen at all, but then it should kind of blend with it as well. This sunset scene is the simplest, but a great opportunity to play with colour. The layering and folding creates interesting transitions.

The quilting plays a very important role, as the thread is oftentimes more visible than the netting itself.

This aurora landscape is, obviously, a simplified version of the original. You can see that the darker colours of netting are almost invisible in one layer and barely seen when folded in several layers, but the thread helps to bring them out.

Another favourite motif  of mine - light shining through young leaves in spring or early summer. The effect is not quite achieved here, but I like the fresh and delicate feel of this one.

It is the only one where the background is not cotton, but some kind of synthetic with a hint of "chameleon effect", and I like how the echo quilting works with it.

Since we have transparent leaves, we can't do without transparent flowers, right? And what better than some poppies?

I was more adventurous in the choice of background fabric here, and it almost steals the show - but it's quite hard to steal the show from these guys.

I couldn't resist adding little 3D details , though if it wasn't a sample but a quilt in its own right, I would add some 3D petals, too - can even envision a whole field of poppies in various shades of red, with rich texture coming out of the flat surface. Maybe I'll do it some day.

The last piece is probably the least successful, but I see ways of improving it.

It would, too, benefit from the addition of 3D flowers.

And the cherry trees are probably too abstract-looking. But mostly, it's the composition that is not doing justice to the subject.

It was an interesting exercise for me, trying to find the different ways to showcase the material, and I still have several ideas I haven't tried out. Hopefully, workshop participants will have some fresh ideas as well, really looking forward to it.

Linking up to Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Off the World Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie


  1. Using tulle is such a great idea. All your pieces are very beautiful and incredibly creative. Thanks for sharing your technique.

  2. This is such a beautiful technique! The poppies are gorgeous, but the aurora is my favorite because of how the relatively simple trees create an entire northern landscape. Brilliant!

  3. I love what you have created. My favorite is the tree.

  4. All beautiful but I love Dance of the Goddess best.

  5. Your samples are wonderful, and should greatly inspire your students

  6. So neat! Those northern lights! The dancing goddess is my favorite. Such beautiful work.

  7. These are fabulous! I especially like the sunset scene. I'm inspired to dig out my tulle.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...