Saturday, July 25, 2015

Birth of a "Royal Guardian"-- Peacock Art

It was quite thrilling to learn that, "Royal Guardian"  my 18" x 36" quilted art that was mounted on a stretched canvas is featured in the July 24, 2015 Studio Art Quilt Associates news.
"Royal Guardian"
I belong to the group, Beyond the Edge Fiber Artists.  We chose to expand the theme, "Boundless," for which each of our group of 10 would create a quilted art work with an individual interpretation of the theme.  In "Royal Guardian" I chose to not be bound by the 18" x 36" stretched canvas but, instead, extend beyond it to enter the land of "Boundless".

This work began with a drawing of a peacock that I enlarged to fit within the 18" width of the canvas and extend beyond the 36" length of the canvas. 
Notes at the side indicate colors that I wanted to use for the bird.
Projected Materials to be Used
 At first I thought about achieving an iridescence by using green glitter over a fabric painted surface.  I auditioned how this might look through three different applications that used acrylic gloss varnis as the agent to secure glitter.
Free Moltion Stitching over Paint and Glitter
 Actually, this was quite successful, but to me the effect appeared to be garish, so that idea was scrapped.

Next I set up a "MacGyvered" a light box setup and copied the drawing of the peacock to 100% white cotton fabric.  I chose various shades of blues, greens and violet Setacolor fabric paints that I ordered from Dharma Trading Co. and set about painting the bird shape that had been traced onto white fabric.  Unfortunately, because I was on a good roll, I became so involved in the painting process that I failed to take pictures of this stage.  Drats!  So sorry about that.

For the field upon which I would ultimately applique the bird, I hand dyed 100% white cotton fabric with a mottled orange, yellow and green colors, made a quilt sandwich for the background field.

Once again, I traced an outline of the peacock onto the orange fabric so that I would know where to quilt in a fashion that would highlight the bird.  I started with a modified feather pattern around the outline of the bird and then carried the shapes of the feathers on to the remainder of the background.

Modified Feather Quilting Design

After the bird painting was completed, I traced the bird shape onto heavy weight Pellon interfacing that I purchased at a local yardage store and then cut out the shape.  I placed the Pellon shape under the painted peacock to act as batting, pinned  it to the painting so that it wouldn't slip. I then backed  the bird shape with a hand dyed fabric down to where the tail extends beyond the edge of the canvas to make a quilt sandwich on which I would start quilting and thread painting.  Blue painter's tape marked where the edge of the canvas would fall.
Determination of Peacock Placement
All edges were turned in to the center and hand stitched so that no turned over edges would be visible on the tail section that extended beyond the canvas.
Peacock Ready to be Quilted and Thread Painted
Here is how the backing for the tail looked.
Reverse of Tail

Initial Threads Used to Thread Paint the Peacock
I first thread painted and quilted the peacock with non-metallic threads to define the shapes further.
First Quilting and Thread Painting of the Peacock
After the entire bird shape was quilted and thread painted, I turned to using metallic threads for the head, breast and back edge feathers.
Thread Painting with Metallic Threads
When all the thread painting was completed, I added the peacock's crown to the background with metallic thread painted small cuttings of dark fabric

Peacock's Crown


  1. Well written tutorial, Linda!
    I saw this artwork in person and it's fabulous! Great job!

    1. Mia, I can't believe that the last 1/2 of my blog post was cut off and didn't appear. Drats! I wonder what in the heck happened.