Having studied French for many years, I’ve read The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, dozens of times. So Heather Reid’s entry for our “How Entertaining!” Reader Challenge, based on this charming story, naturally caught my eye. This quilt appeared in our August/September 2010 issue, but I recently visited Heather’s blog and discovered that she had made yet another quilt based on this story. Here, Heather shares a bit more about this piece, the innovative techniques it involved, and the reason for its creation.
“My first Little Prince themed art quilt was a creation for the reader challenge, but was also a gift for my grandmother for her 80th Birthday, as this book is very sentimental to our family. Shortly after this art quilt was published in the challenge results, I was commissioned to create a much larger, similar-style art quilt for a first wedding anniversary gift. My new friend Jenny Gorenflo collaborated with me on the design of this new art quilt so she could present it to her husband, as they too share a love of this enchanting story.
“On this piece, I experimented with several different surface design techniques. I created the overall variegated blue background by using an Impressionistic art quilting technique, where little bits of chopped up fabrics, thread ‘trash,’ recycled clothing, old UFOs, and even ‘ugly’ fabrics (which can be transformed by being chopped up into smaller pieces) are combined and stitched in place. Once the variegated blue sky background was created, I began adding more celestial components to create an even more interesting scene for this quilt.
“Orbits and background planets were created using fussy-cut swirly motifs from Van Gogh's ‘Starry Nights’ themed commercial fabric. Extensive free-motion stitching was then painted with yellow, orange, and gold fabric dye, and over-stitched again with variegated threads to create a large swirly sun above the planet. The falling star is created using metallic over-stamped fabric cut into a star shape, then appliquéd and surface-embellished with gold and yellow Shiva® Artist’s Paintstiks®. To make this star even more special, I used a combination of even machine stitching and scattered, uneven straight stitching to outline it; the juxtaposition of these two types of stitches helps create even more surface detail and interest. Behind the star are trailing tendrils of metallic mesh, and a few hand-sewn twisted gold bugle beads.
“For the characters on this quilt, Jenny and I wanted to use a style which would be reminiscent of the original book’s illustrations, a whimsical, endearing style where the subjects appear to be hand drawn. The Little Prince is depicted in a pose where he is tending to his Rose. Layered pieces of fabrics were scrunched and appliquéd to create a three-dimensional draping effect, while black outline stitching helps to make him look as if he were drawn right onto the surface of the quilt. Because the rose’s appearance is significant in the story, I wanted to make a very special rose for this quilt. I created the bloom of the rose from a traditional ribbon-embroidery spider-web rose pattern, using extra-wide deep red silk ribbon. The foliage was created using pieces of vintage heirloom lace, hand-dyed with Dye-Na-Flow® fabric dye, then cut into leaf shapes and appliquéd. Incorporating vintage textiles, especially family heirloom pieces, is a wonderful way to pass on memories and add sentimental value to a piece.
“It is my hope that Jenny and her husband will treasure their new art quilt through the years, and that it will serve as a constant reminder of their love for each other, and for their mutual enjoyment of this very special book. I've found through both of these Little Prince themed art quilts that the most meaningful pieces can be inspired by and created from pure love.”