From Kitchen to Art Quilt: Cheesecloth Rocks!

There is nothing — nothing more fun in my opinion, than discovering a truly new and unique art quilting technique! That’s what happened recently when I was introduced to Cheesecloth Skins by the talented Margarita Korioth.

Cheesecloth skin is flexible, translucent, and easy to stitch.

“What is Cheesecloth Skin?” you ask… It is a flexible, translucent fabric created by ‘binding’ cheesecloth with a fluid polymer medium. The resulting fabric is used as an overlay: it can be painted, silkscreened, and stamped, yet it remains soft, supple, and easy to stitch by machine or by hand. And just look at the artwork Margarita created using her cheesecloth skin!

Korioth Bird
This example of cheesecloth skin incorporates news clippings, stitch, and screenprinting.

Margarita demonstrated her innovative technique on Quilting Arts TV series 2500 but I wanted to make sure that Quilting Arts readers also had an in-depth tutorial, so they can experiment with this very cool and effective technique. This is one of the many great features in the Quilting Arts February/March 2020 issue – here’s a sneak peek to whet your appetite for this wonderful technique.

Freezer paper, 24″ x 24″
Cheesecloth (found in the kitchen department of your local grocery store) Plastic sheeting
Foam brush
Fluid acrylic matte medium, such as Liquitex®

1. Cover your work surface with plastic sheeting and place the freezer paper on top, shiny side up.
2. Pour fluid matte medium into a plastic container. Pour several tablespoons of the medium in the center of the freezer paper. With a foam brush, cover the surface in an even layer. Add more medium, if needed.
3. Place a single layer of the cheesecloth square on the medium, centered on the freezer paper. (Start small with a 12″ square piece for ease.) Using your fingers or a foam brush, smooth out the wrinkles as much as possible.
4. Pour more medium on top and spread it in an even layer. Don’t be skimpy; the cheesecloth should be covered entirely and very wet. Allow the cheesecloth to dry completely; it will take 6–24 hours.
Now comes the fun part! The cheesecloth skin can be colored and embellished in so many ways. Check out some of Margarita’s tips for coloring this translucent layer:

Add Color: Dilute the liquid acrylic paint with water in a 1:1 ratio. A small bottle or lidded jar works well; shake to mix the paint and water thoroughly. Paint the entire cheesecloth square with the diluted paint to create a background of color. Allow it to dry completely.

Korioth Add Paint
Cheesecloth skin can be colored with diluted acrylic paint.

Add Designs: Apply designs on top of the dried cheesecloth by silk-screening or stamping. Allow the paint to dry completely.

Korioth Screen
Margarita creates her own screenprints for the designs she adds to the cheesecloth skin.

When you are done adding color, peel the cheesecloth skin from the freezer paper—Margarita calls the finished product cheesecloth skin because it is soft and supple like skin. It is now ready to use in your art.

“Farfalla” • 15″ x 12″

Like all of the articles featured in Quilting Arts, Margarita also gives lots of tips for creating additional variations to the basic technique. She explains how to create a silkscreen stencil using HTV vinyl; fashion a large freezer paper base to accommodate large piece of cheesecloth; and gives tips for using a digital cutter. Be sure to subscribe to Quilting Arts so you never miss a new surface design technique, gallery of amazing world class art quilts, or opportunity to have your own art quilts published in our fun reader challenges!


Vivika Hansen DeNegre

Don’t miss more interesting techniques from Margarita and other talented art quilters! Download your copy of Quilting Arts TV series 2500 today! And while you’re add it, update your subscription to Quilting Arts Magazine, too.

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