Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Urban Deer
72” x 54.5”


It is my pleasure to share with you today my lovely quilt, Urban Deer. This deer is larger than life.  She emits a quality when you stand by her that is full of love and hope and gentleness. It's just not the same seeing a tiny picture of her....

Well, I am on day 3.  I plan to post 5 new quilts in a mere 5 days.  I have been working on these quilts all year.  I have been waiting so patiently to post about this one.  She is my favorite.  I had entered her into Quilt National which has strict rules about your entry not being published before their show.  However, she did not get into the show, so she is with me a bit longer.  I am happy to have her! 

I have unofficially called her, "You are what you eat!"  Her body is composed entirely of flowers, and you can see her nibbling on this flower.  Deer are like that, they eat forbs, not grass.  All the flowers are hand drawn with batik on a hand dyed background.  Then they were bleach discharged and cut apart.  Next step was to overdye them in multiple colors, and then one-by-one boil out the wax.  You can see more about the making of these flowers on this post.  I applied fusible to the backs of all the flowers and then hand cut them.  I piled them up on an outline of her body, pressed them in place with the iron and trimmed her body to the right shape.  It left a lot of holes between the flowers, so I went back and filled those in with the trimmings.

When I envisioned this quilt, the deer was smaller and I had her placed in a background of urban houses, like a neighborhood.  But the bigger she got, the more the picture changed in my head until I had no idea what to do with the background.  This is what I like to call percolating!  It just needed some time.  I decided to try her out on various backgrounds to get an idea of the color I wanted.  First I photographed her on a white background.
I liked her just like this for a long time.  Finally I took the photograph into Photoshop and started sketching. 
Not too bad.  I like the oversized flower the most.  Not sure about the other flowers.  So then I thought that I should try her on a number of different backgrounds just to make sure. I rolled her up and took her to my favorite quilt store, expecting to buy some fabric for a background.  What I found was that commercial fabrics did not look right with her, but I did settle on a color scheme.
And, I really thought it was going to be blue, so that she would pop.  Unfortunately all the blues I tried looked terrible.  It is when I went to the reds and oranges that she looked her best.  Okay, red it is.  Now what?
I pinned these fat quarters to my design walls, took a photo and then manipulated in Photoshop.  We have a winner!!  I went ahead and ironed her to the white background, and then cut out her shape again, leaving a narrow white line around her body.  This also filled in white on the spirals.  Then I stitched the fat quarters together, and applied fusible to the white backing on the deer and fused her to the newly assembled background.
Next step was to decide on the flowers for the foreground.


I liked the first one, but it almost seemed like too much.  Then I put the flowers in a straight line, and knew that was my favorite.  I suspect not everyone will agree with me, but something was calling to me for the straight line of blue flowers.  And you may recall the making of the large flower? I practiced drawing it a LOT in hot wax with my tjanting tool, and then used those samples to make this quilt.

Last step was the quilting.  I picked a simple straight line pattern for the background and echo quilting for the flowers of the deer's body and the other flowers.  Then I added hand quilting to all the flowers in her body.  It added a texture that machine quilting cannot give.  It was grueling and hard work, mostly because there were so many layers, and I like to use such thick thread, which requires a big needle and is harder to pull through the quilted sandwich.  I use 6 strand embroidery floss and doll making sized needles.  The carpal tunnel reared it's ugly head, but I persevered, and took a long rest after I finished. 

I sincerely hope you will get to see her in person some day.  She is a feast for the eyes!

15 comments:

Karen said...

Kathy another lovely work. Who cares about those shows anyway... what do THEY know! You never know where those quilt polices are gonna raise their ugly heads. Sitting on my WIP Wednesday enjoying a day off, your lovely deer, watching my old chicken work over the yard and listening to a little Jagger... from the sewing room. What could be more urban than that... thanks for sharin her, can't wait til I get to see her in person!

Nancy said...

It's just lovely!

sophie said...

I look forward to seeing her in an up close and personal way at a show soon. She's wonderful.

Lisa Quintana said...

I would have loved to have been able to see her at Quilt National....perhaps I will be able to see her someplace else. Excellent job once again.

kathy york said...

Thank you everyone! I truly appreciate your support!

Cindy Cooksey said...

I think your deer quilt is breathtaking! The colors pop, it's got kind of a mod vibe.

kathy york said...

Thanks Cindy!
I think you are right about the mod vibe and those are just the right words!

Linda Teddlie Minton said...

Kathy, I love this quilt with a passion! I sure hope to see it at Quilt Festival. Thanks for the walk-through of your process, too ... very inspiring.

Heidi said...

Wonderful and yes, breathtaking

kathy york said...

Linda and Heidi,
Thank you so much for your kindness!
Happy Holidays

echiment said...

Kathy--your work is absolutely stunning. Thank you so much for sharing.

Ali Honey said...

It's delightful.

kathy york said...

Ali,
Thanks so much!

Julie Fukuda said...

I enjoyed your quilt on Quilt Inspiration and had to pay a visit. That deer can visit my garden any day!

kathy york said...

Thanks Julie!