Sunday, January 15, 2012

Today is Reveal Day for our Material Mavens Group!

Alice's South Quilt--Vincent's Chair
I hope all readers of this post will hurry on over to The Material Mavens blog to see the gorgeous quilts that are going up there all day today, January 15.  I am blown away by them.  I thought the first two groups of quilts were wonderful, but it seems to me that our Mavens are really pulling out all the stops on this theme, South, and the results are varied and beautiful.  I can't wait to see them all!

In this post here, though, I thought I'd write a bit more than I did in my narrative on the Mavens blog about constructing my quilt.  I won't repeat what I had to say there, but will amplify it a bit.  I DID think immediately of doing a Vincent Van Gogh quilt, based on one of his works that he did in Arles, where we visited in 2009.  Choosing which one was difficult, though, as I had so many from which to choose!  My final decision was based on the simplicity of the composition of "Vincent's Chair" and the fact that it moved and touched me emotionally.

I loved thinking about Vincent painting this picture of the rush-bottomed, yellow chair in his room, and including the crumpled up tobacco pouch and his pipe.  I had some sprouting onions myself in my kitchen, and that he included a box of sprouting onions in his painting was another homey touch that I loved.

Believe it or not, the simplest part of the quilt was the part I had the hardest time with--the background!  I made three different versions of it before I was satisfied!  The first, the one most faithful to the colors that I could see in the print that I own of this painting, just looked to dull and washed-out to me.  Van Gogh used bright, vibrant colors, and these were too grayed down.  My second version was better, and I actually hand-embroidered the grout in the tile floor and loved that part of it, but that one was rectangular and "framed" with bright yellow fabric, to represent a wooden frame.  But putting that onto a square piece of batting and seeing how odd it looked to have two wide strips at the side and two narrow ones at top and bottom made me discard #2.

Didn't like the background color of the
door but it was nice to
have another chair on which
to practice with my pastels for fabric!

I didn't care for the frame, but I
did love the way I handled
the grout with

So I decided to change the proportions of Van Gogh's original work.  I sketched off the painting on graph paper, placing my freezer paper template for the chair to aid me in placing the grout lines on the tile floor:

the sketch on graph paper

I cut out the pieces for the wall, door, and floor using my freezer paper templates:

templates for background and chair's seat

I free-hand cut the onions and their green sprouts from batik fabrics.  After sandwiching the quilt I did the floor stitching, the machine quilting on the wall, several green lines of stitching on the door.  Then I fused and appliqued the box and the chair in my usual way.  Finally, I did what was the "new technique" that I try to employ on each MM quilt--this time, shading and shadowing with fabric pastels.  THIS step was the most fun and gave me the biggest sense of satisfaction in this little 12"x12" quilt.