While there are plenty of quilt artists who are using acrylic paints on their quilts, I've been having an exciting time over the last couple of years developing my own style of painting over heavily stitched pieces, often with underlying 'canvas' of wildly patterned African fabrics. I thought my combination of painting and quilting was unique but of course it isn't. Through the world of blogging , I've recently come across the work of Deidre Adams, just the photos make my heart flutter, I'd love to see them in the flesh. I think its partly that they are the kind of pieces I'm aiming for myself but there's the rub - as a well known artist in the US, would the 'quilt police' think I'm copying her ideas and methods? I'm not! My explorations arose out of a mixed media painting course I did with Katherine Holmes that I first applied to fabric with fear and trepidation in January 2006 in my Journal Quilts January 2006 Journal Quilt
Having experimented on a small scale, I wanted to have a go at a bigger piece, searched through my UFO/reject pile and selected a quilt top that I'd constructed in the 90's after a trip to Austalia. This was inspired by the changing light and colours over Castle Rock (Northern Territory) as the sun set.
Horrible isn't it? The fabrics I'd chosen were far too busy and patterned to work - I even lent it to Alison Schwabe as a talking point for a workshop on reject quilts (and got some interesting suggestions as feedback). I quilted it in parallel lines to emphasise the rock formations and then applied acrylics with gusto. I had such a fun time and as it was a bad quilt to start with , nothing to lose.
I leant a lot from the process eg simpler is better, preferring palette knife to brush, not to apply too much paint at once - the bottom of the quilt was so overdone in thick brown I chopped it off ! This had the bonus of improving the composition. It's not a great quilt (tho' definately a great improvement) but the process was an important milestone. It's not plagiarism, just a good idea arising independantly for those with the courage to experiment. And now I'm aware of Diedre's work I will be more careful to make my own distinctive, for instance in use of handstitching.