A Unique Twist on a Patchwork Quilt

4 Feb 2010

Art quilters tend to stitch outside the box. Traditional squares and patches are not for them. But that doesn't mean that repetition and a sense of order isn't important. In fact, repetition is a key element in design. The concept of using a grid as a design element is classic--that's one of the reasons why patchwork appeals to so many people.

But art quilters are prone to turning "the classics" on their heads. That's what mixed-media artist Debbi Crane did when she created a nine-patch "quilt" of mixed-media collages. Debbi described her process in an article called "Get a Grid! Canvas Wall Art for Collectors of Odds & Ends" in the January/February 2010 issue of our sister publication, Cloth Paper Scissors®.

  • Debbi started this project as one 12" x 12" canvas, but soon discovered that if one piece looked good, a series looked even better. So she created a nine-patch wall "quilt" out of canvases, using paint, fabric, paper, and found objects. To make the piece cohesive, Debbi used the grid concept and repetition. Here are some of her tips for how to unify a piece like this:

  • Repeat a grid form within a larger grid form to help create a unified whole.
  • To keep the squares cohesive, use at least a smidgen of each of your main colors (in this case the deep red, brown, and latte of the painted frames) in each square.
  • Repeat design elements (such as circles and stripes) from square to square to make the individual pieces relate to each other. The viewer's eye can easily travel to each part of the work, resting on familiar colors or textures.

To add to the patchwork effect, Debbi incorporated some classic quilting elements, but gave them her own mixed-media twist. For example:

  • Debbi treated the entire piece as an enlarged nine-patch quilt block.
  • She painted the frame of the center canvas a deep red, as traditional quilters have used red in the center square of a quilt to represent hearth and home.
  • She tied the buttons on the lower left square in a similar way as hand-tied quilt patches.
  • The center "patch" is a stitched collage in the shape of an Ohio Star.
  • Aside from the canvases, all the other materials Debbi incorporated were those she had at hand, like quilters of old.


I think this is such a fun piece in that it not only marries traditional and contemporary quilting arts, but also combines mixed-media and quilting techniques--and helps find a place for all those fabulous found objects we like to collect.  


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Comments

lhutchings wrote
on 4 Feb 2010 9:28 AM

That is such a fun piece, I can just see the glee in her eyes as each piece developed.  Great work.

Marci Glenn wrote
on 4 Feb 2010 9:35 AM

I really like the layered fabric squares topped with the buttons.  I will be trying this on my next wall quilt.

Jane LaFazio wrote
on 4 Feb 2010 10:01 AM

I'm loving using a grid or squares to create mixed media pieces. It add just enough stability, so that my imagination can run free within the shapes.

jean juhlin wrote
on 4 Feb 2010 11:06 AM

I KNOW THAT WALL QUILTS ARE ALL THE RAGE BUT WHAT ABOUT QUILTS FOR BEDS.  I HAVE TWIN BEDS AND WOULD LIKE TO MAKE QUILTS FOR THEM.  EASY QUILTS AS I HAVE NEVER QUILTED BEFORE.  I DON,T NEED ANYTHING MORE FOR MY WALLS.  I HAVE EARNED A GREAT LIVING AS A

SCULPTOR  BUT AT 80 I JUST WANT TO DO SOMETHING CREATIVE AND COLORFUL AND FUN  I HAVE 2 REALLY GREAT SEWING MACHINES.  THEY HAVE ALL THE GOODIES.  ALSO I HAVE COLLECTED FABRICS THROUGH THE YEARS FOR THE TIME THAT I COULD QUILT.  I HAVE SUBSCRIBED TO

QUILTING ARTS FOR YEARS.   CAN YOU HELP ME?  ANY SUGGESTIONS?

JEAN JUHLIN .   MY WEB ADDRESS IS  juhlinstudiop@msn.com.

caroljean2 wrote
on 4 Feb 2010 11:56 AM

I recently tried using a hand drawn grid , using 3".2" and 1" & 1/2" squares of silk, rayon & cotton.  I glued each piece separately, with their frayed edges unsewn.  I then sewed diagonally through all the corners just to tack it down.  Result was a little frayed wall quilt.

I had so much fun doing it!  Just as I am sure you had fun with yours Pokey.  I love what you did with all your different media mix.  Wish I knew how to attach a picture.  This is my first post here, just joined this week.  

Cazanne wrote
on 4 Feb 2010 2:27 PM

I have a daily dose of QA along with vitamins and exercise.  It starts my brain up for the day and fills me with enthusiasm and inspiration.  thanks folks.

Carolyn , Coldstream Victoria, Australia.

on 4 Feb 2010 4:38 PM

After many years of quilting "weird things" acc. to my critics,  I have found a home in "Quilting Arts".  Thank you.   I have been mixing pieces of old paintings, drawings, and polymer clay art into my strange quilted wall hangings.  New ideas come with every issue of QA and I no longer feel alone.  Thanks,   Carole Law Trachy  

on 4 Feb 2010 9:27 PM

I use grids for drawing ....like a collection of things i have done that day or it could be on a subject like fall...using different sized squares and rectangles ...the grid organizes all the small drawings on the page....of course its a journal and not quilty...but maybe they should be one day!

khusty wrote
on 5 Feb 2010 10:06 AM

This is SOOOOO beautiful!  I am first and foremost a painter and love this idea.  Thanks for the inspiration.  

Oh by the way...anyone know how to get in on the deal for the mags?  I already subscribe to Quilting Arts....but not Cloth, Paper, Scissors.....when i hit the link i am afraid that they will just double my existing Quilting Arts Subscription.. Help?

Karin

Raganne wrote
on 7 Feb 2010 3:31 PM

I am an elementary art teacher.  After reading this article in Cloth, Paper Scissors, I decided to incorporate this into an art lesson for the 5-11 year old that I teach.  I challenged them all to create a piece of art on a grid.  They could use what ever media they wanted to use but it all had to tie together to create an interesting piece of art on a grid.  The results were marvelous.  Some used just crayons, but many used mixed media.  One child tried sewing fabric heart shapes to her fabric background but decided it was taking her to long so she stapled everything.  It was one of the cutest pieces, with strips of fabric used like sashing to form a grid.  Another student used a brown grocery bag, pictures from magazines, construction paper shapes, fabric and yarn.  All in all it was a great success and the students experienced first hand how to integrate math and art.  Thanks Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors for all the wonderful ideas and information you provide.  These are my favorite mags!!!!!

Maryse4 wrote
on 7 Feb 2010 5:57 PM

Love it Love it....Can't wait to try tjis...Thank you! Maryse