I am wondering about the backing on art quilts. If one is embellishing the front with machine embroidery does it HAVE to be done before the backing is put on? Or can it be part of the whole quilt. Is there a rule on this or are there no rules?
It depends on the effect you want - and , no, there are no rules unless you want there to be.
If you want the embellishing to be part of the quilting, feel free to follow your desires. I would recommend that you try a smaller sample piece to be sure that you will get the effect you're looking for, although to be honest, that is advice that I often neglect to follow and that has led to some serendipitous effects.
As to backing, I usually use muslin to back my art quilts, but that is, again your choice. I often use the back to add the poem that inspired the piece, as I am both poet and artist.
The reason that I am an art quilter is that I'm not very good at following the rules. The freedom of working in art quilting is one of the reasons I went in this direction.
Thank you Kathleen!
I also prefer a lot of freedom and chose art quilting because I like experimenting and like to follow my intuitions as they arise. What baffled me, was the perfect quilting concepts, comparing show winners with magnifying glasses for perfect stitching even on the back of the quilts. While I appreciate it, I spent several years as an artist breaking out of a level of perfectionism that was driven into me by a professor I once had for a class in printmaking and drawing. They used magnifying glasses to see if we changed the texture of the paper we drew on by too much erasing or heaven forbid a micro-speck of dirt would get on a plate or litho-stone.
I was concerned that if I wanted to enter a piece for exhibition would it be disqualified if there was machine embroidery stitching showing up on the back, if only quilting stitches are allowed to be seen.
Oh i am looking forward to seeing your quilts now - a poet as well, how interesting. I often find inspiration from prose.
The gallery link at the bottom of my post will lead you to a few of my things.
I think that making your own rules and being open to inspiration will take you where you want to go.
I can't really speak to competitions, as I have never entered one. I tend to shy away from them. That is, of course, why I'm not insanely rich and famous...
rules? you are sewing with the wrong people. the only rules - is it making you happy. that's it.
you can embroider wherever and whenever you want. i give you permission to do it however it makes you happy.
if you embroider after sandwiching - it will flatten that area. if that is the effect you want - go for it.
however, if you want the embroidered area to stand up, or at least, not be flattened, then you should embroider while it is still a top.
Oh Kathleen, I really like your work, esp. Winter and You can't mend Novembers ragged edge. Those cool colors really speak to me.
Again lovely work. Thanks for sharing.
OK CKq, I will take your permission and run with it! I taught myself to sew about a year ago. From the beginning the goal was to make art quilts because my background is in painting, but I wanted to work with textiles as a medium. While being neat, I am not a perfectionist. In some art forms - such as metalsmithing it is proper to make the back as lovely as the front.
When I started learning to make quilts, the local shops and instructors were nice, but very specific about adhering to perfect stitching. If I want perfect I will let a computer or other machine do it--and forget handmade.
But since my goal is also exhibiting my work, I wanted to have a good understanding of the standards. So thanks, your input helped alot!
self taught is fine. and you already have an art background - so you have an understanding of design concepts.
and i am no perfectionist. BUT remember,good construction and workmanship , are always in style. just because its an art quilt, does NOT excuse poor workmanship.
your local instructors were good to want good quality stitching. but you are not a computer, and you do not need to sew like one.
i don't insist that my backs be as good as the front. but i don't want messy, ugly backs either - do you??
so it depends on what i am doing, and the effect i want -which is a bit diferent from traditional quilts used for a bed.
sometimes i just put the back on and quilt. and then add embellishing; hiding the hand stitches between the layers.
sometimes i am gonna do a whole lot of embellishing- and that extra layer is a hassle. so i will add the batt, but no back, and embellish, and then add a clean back.
if i know the back is gonna be a bit messy; i will use a busy print. and the stitching will disappear - looks better that way.
or if i am doing special quilting, and i know it isgonna be beautiful - i will use a solid color on the back - and it will be just as pretty as the front. and the stitches will show up well.
if you want to exhibit or sell your work - just look at it from a buyers viewpoint - clean and neat from all sides, including back, is a lot more attractive than threads hanging everywhere; irregular stitches; lumpy, crooked; doesn't even sound attractive, does it.
so while the back is on back - it is part of the quilt. and it shows the skill and attention to detail that a good artist and good craftswoman should be taking with her work. it does not have to be perfect. but it should not be a garbage dump either. you can always add a fresh back after everything else is done - if the first back ends up truly a mess. but if it is going to a juried/judged show - they might not accept a false back. ckquilter
Thanks! Winter is a photo on fabric and November was my first whole cloth painting.
Actually, you would probably like fabric paint a lot. I use a couple different kinds of paint, but usually use Setacolor transparents because of the heliographic effect. I've got a couple of ideas that are going to require opaque paints - nebula like paintings on black fabric - but have a bunch of stuff 'in line' first. Ackkk! and now it's spring and the gardens are calling...
Kathleen, I'm doing a lot of silk painted, appliqie art quilts. My earliest background is painting. I love my Seta paints, but have found acrylic colored inks that mix and match with them or stand alone. I'm loving the effects and have had some interesting quilts come from that mixture plus thread painting..
I have had the same question as ck quilter about the backs. I do a lot of thread painting and the back can have quite a bit of thread build up. I've wondered what a judge would say if I entered anything in a show?
when i do thread painting - meaning covering the entire surface,or almost all of the surface, with thread - i use a very fine thread in the bobbin. embroidery bobbin thread works well - but colors are limited (black and white). bottom line also works well and hasmany colors.
you could use silk - but it would be kinda expensive.
i do all my thread painting off the quilt top, i usually in a hoop. and then cut away the extra fabric and applique the shape to the quilt top.
then the quilt can be sandwiched and quilted like any other. and the back looks fine. and there is no puckering of the quilt top from a heavy build up of thread.
if you thread paint on the sandwiched quilt - you will flatten the area of the thread painting - and this is usually my focal area - so making it very flat is not the effect i want.
i have thread painted flowers (including dimensional pins), horses and unicorn, egret, dragon, koi, pumpkins, (all put onto quilt top or wearable art) and landscapes (as 5 by7 photo), which are then framed.
so if you still have to thread paint on the sandwiched quilt - you will flatten that area in relation to the rest of the quilt. you mightwant to do all except thelast round of stitching. then add a fresh back to the quilt. do your last round of thread painting (similar in stitch density to the rest of the quilting). and then add the rest of the quilting. that should give you a quilt that has about the same density of stitching all over. and hide the majority of the thread painting bobbin stitches. i would use bottom line or thin rayon or poly thread in the bobbin for the last round of thread painting, that will show on the good back. then it should just blend into the rest of the quilting. ckquilter
I like neat backings too but has anyone ever looked at the back of a Mola ? they are done down in panama for the front of the ladies shirts , the best stitches Ive ever seen but with no regard to the back at all, they are remarkable all quilters should look at a good one and just marvel
is the mola on the front of a shirt? and if so, then the back would be inside the shirt? and not meant to be seen. which would be similar to hand applique on the quilt top - or any embroidery type work done on the quilt top - the backs of those stitches will be covered when it is quilted.
but if those same stitches are done on a quilt - those extra layers give you a place to hide unattractive starts and stops and traveling stitches.
just like a quilt top with embroidery on it - i don't worry about the back, because those stitches will be covered by the batt and back.
but i do care about the back of the quilt - because those stitches do show. i don't get too picky - because the back of the quilt is usually towards a wall - but i still like the back to be as neat as possible. ckquilter