How to Make A Landscape Quilt, Simplified

19 Apr 2011

prairie flowers 1 tragerpokey boltonOne of the perks of living in Colorado is having ready access to the amazing number of highly talented fiber artists that live and create in the Front Range area.

In Boulder alone, there are so many textile and mixed-media fiber artists that when I attended the annual open studios tour last fall, I couldn't even get to them all.

One stop on the tour I made it a point to reach, though, was the home studio of quilt artist Judith Trager, whose work has appeared in many major exhibitions including Quilt National, Art Quilts at the Sedgewick, Crafts National, The Quilted Surface, and the International Quilt Festival.

Judith is also an enthusiastic and sought-after teacher and lecturer, and I wasted no time finding opportunities to have her share her knowledge with Quilting Arts readers.

Judith is particularly well-known for her landscape quilt designs, so I was thrilled when she agreed to make a Quilting Arts WorkshopTM video, "Designing Landscape Quilts: Quilt Art Techniques Simplified."

Judith is such a good teacher. She gives clear, easy-to-follow advice and directions for making a landscape quilt, from choosing the inspiration and fabrics, to creating the composition.

She generously took the time to offer some insight on her approach with Quilting Daily readers.

trager landscape quiltQ. Why are artists in general attracted to landscapes?
A. We are very aware of our general surroundings and choose to celebrate the beauty of them.

Q. What are the differences or even advantages in rendering a landscape in fabric and stitch rather than paint or other media?
A. Differences--well, time for one. Paint takes a much shorter time. In stitched landscapes we work very hard to replicate the line and the "brush strokes" that we could get more quickly and easily using brush and paint. We use the stitch line as our "paint" using a variety of threads and colors to make the landscape lively and attractive.

Q. On the video, you say the secret to landscape quilts is simplifying.  What are some of the tools you use simplify what you see?
A. I edit out things that are superfluous to the landscape as in using a straight piece of fabric (like the yellow line on the sunflower quilt) instead of making little bushes along the horizon line). I don't put leaves all over the tree--it abstract by making it simpler with just a few leaves and leaving the viewer to bring to the piece the "idea" of a tree.

judith trager landscape quilt designQ. How important is value in creating a successful fiber art landscape?
A. One needs to be guided by what one sees. Not all skies are blue, not all trees are green. Contrast is vital, and the sequence of dominance rule applies when we work with value.

Q. Is there a trick or technique you use to help you choose the right values?
A. Again, I trust my inner sense of contrast to make things work.

Q. What is the biggest mistake most people make when attempting a landscape?
A. Being too literal.

Q. What is your best tip?
A. Use good source material and don't make your landscape too detailed.  Let the viewer bring their ideas to the piece and it usually works.

I learned a lot right there, and I hope you did, too. To get her complete tutorial, you can download Judith's WorkshopTM video Designing Landscape Quilts: Quilt Art Techniques Simplified, now, or order the DVD.

What are some of your favorite tricks for simplifying landscape design? Leave a comment below and link to one of your quilts!


Featured Product

Designing Landscape Quilts: Quilt Art Techniques Simplified with Judith Trager (Video Download)

Availability: In Stock
Price: $14.95

Standard Definition Video

In this video, art quilter Judith Trager guides the viewer from start to finish through the design and creation of a landscape quilt.

More

Related Posts
+ Add a comment

Comments

on 19 Apr 2011 7:44 AM

Wonderful hints and tips for landscapes, Judith.  I can't wait to see your video!  

When I make a landscape, I think of the "essence" of the place, and as Judith says, I simplify my work to reflect that essence.  Sometimes, that means most of the foreground is removed, and replaced by texture through quilting.  Other times, the background becomes less prominent, and is obscured.  But always, I include dense, close quilting, that often represents furrows in the ground or wind through the vegitation.  

Both of my quilts on this blog post use the quilted stitch as a way to represent either wind or plowed fields.

vdenegrequilts.blogspot.com/.../farmlands-and-marsh-view-revealed.html

Lindy101 wrote
on 19 Apr 2011 8:03 AM

My latest play time with landscapes was doing seasons by one color, two at most.  Simplifying the colors sets a mood for the scene. Fall is my favorite! I have posted a pic to the QA page.

www.quiltingdaily.com/.../26886.aspx

on 19 Apr 2011 3:42 PM

Inspiring!  I haven't made many landscape quilts yet but this article and the preview of Judith's dvd have inspired me.

Pam Stephan wrote
on 19 Apr 2011 6:06 PM

I made a landscape quilt from a trip and used the inspiration picture (printed on fabric) on the back as a label.  I printed all the info (where it was, date of trip, finish date of quilt, etc) under the picture.  It made a very nice label.

nanamom60 wrote
on 22 Apr 2011 2:51 AM

I'm a beginner and want to learn.

nanamom60 wrote
on 22 Apr 2011 2:52 AM

I am a beginner and I want to learn

on 23 Apr 2011 8:30 AM

I am heading to Boulder the week of June 12th. I am a weaver and quilter. Can anyone recommend lessons or classes to take at that time?

TrunkShow wrote
on 23 Apr 2011 7:58 PM

I just completed a Seaside quilt for my grandson's first big boy bed.  I cannot wait to start quilting and adding embellishments!!!  This is a first "landscape " quilt for me and I would love to learn more.  See the Seaside Quilt at www.facebook.com/.../315115594727!/media/set/fbx/?set=a.10150152792009728.298225.315115594727

TrunkShow wrote
on 23 Apr 2011 8:02 PM

www.facebook.com/.../A-Trunk-Show

Just finished the top of  a Seaside quilt for my grandson's first big boy bed:)  I cannot wait to start quilting and adding embellishments!   This is a first and would love to learn more!

Renee