November 6, 2015

A Quilt from a Galaxy Far, Far Away

For the past few years, I've been creating a quilt series called Something From Nothing.  These are generally just-for-fun, design experiments.  In addition, I've been making a more major piece, like this one, each year as my entry for the Fine Art of Fiber show.  (More info on Something From Nothing: intro to the series and quilts of 2015.  Previous fiber show entries: Cleopatra's Fan 2014 and What the Birds See 2013.)

The title of the quilt is Gas Giant.  No, this is not Saturn.  This is a planet in a solar system or galaxy that we haven't seen yet.  Gas Giant is probably the largest piece so far in the series (78" x 44").  Being about outer space, it needs to be pretty vast, right?

The quilt was inspired by the little bits of broken and orphaned metal that I've collected over the years.  I started collecting these things when my daughter was younger.  She used some to decorate her Sculpy clay creations.  I realized that they would fit quite nicely into the something-from-nothing theme.  I asked her for some ideas of how to use them, and this was the clear winner for me.

The planet is made with fabrics from my decorator fabrics bin.  I selected ones that had the feel of swirling clouds.  This photo shows the cloud bands appliquéd to a muslin base, before being cut into a circle.

The back is a piece of glossy fabric of unknown fiber that I picked up at some fabric scrounging event.  Here's the quilt part way through the basting process.  I also marked the outline of the ring with basting.

I sorted the metal bits by size, so they'd give a sense of perspective of the ring going around the planet.  After I experimented with laying them all out, I realized I needed a way to keep track of what I'd done.  This time, it was my husband to the rescue.  He suggested that I partition the rings with more basting, photograph each partition, and bag all those pieces together.  It worked great!

Once the rings were completed, I moved on to the stars.

The stars are mostly beads left over from other projects.  Some are also bits of ball chain that I cut into two- or three-ball lengths.

Gas Giant is not quilted.  I backed it with a heavy decorator fabric, hoping to give it enough heft to not sag with the weight of the metal bits.  The stitches holding the planet on go through both layers, as do the stitches that attach the rings, stars, and moons.  The plan worked, and the quilt hangs pretty well.

Here we go - to a galaxy far, far away........

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