Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Latest Material Mavens Quilt--Honeycomb

Our theme for the Reveal which was on July 15th was "cell."  This theme was quite a challenge for me, and it took me awhile to decide what to do.  Somehow, some way, perhaps from reading dictionary definitions of the word or searching Google Images, it occurred to be to focus on the cells of a honeycomb.

I first tried to use a stencil a honeycomb design on some silk, but the paint bled through.  I tried to silk screen using the stencil, and the same thing happened.  In addition, the colors I used--yellow silk and orange paint--simply didn't look authentic.

Eventually the design began to evolve--a collage of "bee-related" images.  Thus the final quilt is just that.  For the essential honeycomb I used a copy-right free Google image of a real honeycomb, transferring it to fabric via TAP (Transfer Artist Paper).

At first I included some dimensional red flowers for my dimensional bees, but they dominated the quilt and the necessary honeycomb faded into the background.  Then I decided to use flower prints.  I had some white flowers on black fabric, but couldn't locate black flowers on white (and I was concerned to limit my color palette).  So I decided to hand-stamp with black paint on white fabric.  I made the stamps myself from craft foam, and the resulting hand-stamped fabric became one of my favorite parts of this quilt.

My other favorite aspect are the dimensional bees!  These were thread painted first on fabric backed with stabilizer.  The wing were made of organza, thread painted with gold thread. Then I cut them out and machine stitched them to the quilt.

Finally, I added a bee hive, which I embellished with embroidery stitching.  Embroidered seed stitches became my quilting, along with free motion quilting the black flowers on white fabric.
The background is a commercial fabric that is a subtle honeycomb print.

The back was fashioned from some of my "rejects" from the front.  I included the first verse of the Jimmie Rodger's song "Honeycomb" which ran maddeningly through my head while I was constructing this quilt!


  1. Alice, this quilt is loaded with techniques. My favs are the black and white print....and that you worked the back as well...The bees must have been very satisfying to make and use. I love topics like this that give some limits. Something too open ended is not as easy to focus in on.You have done such a good job organizing and developing the Material Mavens while challenging yourself to continue growing trying many surface treatments.

  2. Wow - interesting. I had to look twice to see if it was decorative paper or fabric! Love the idea of using bees as a central theme. I would like to invite you to link up with us on my Off the Wall Friday which runs every weekend on my blog. As Art quilters, we find it a great way to connect and stay focused!