Art Quilts as Pillows

This is 1 of 4 art quilts as pillows I created for a geologist.

art quilt pillow

He told me he me he makes an annual spiritual pilgrimage to Monument Valley, Utah and asked if I could make pillows using his photos as inspiration.

art quilt pillow

I hand painted the skies with fabric paints. In each photo the sky was a different shade of blue…maybe that was just the camera he used, but I tried to duplicate each color as I saw them. art quilt pillow

It’s funny—I had a large piece of hand-dyed orange-ish fabric that sat in my fabric cupboard for years. I couldn’t remember where I got the piece (or why!) but I finally had the perfect use for it. It gave me a great start for each monolith. art quilt pillow

 

 

 

 

 

I also tried very hard to capture important details about each one—-the shadows, highlights and textures.

My customer was very pleased with his pillows!

Memory Quilt/Art Quilt: A crossover commission

This is a memory quilt that is a pictorial quilt, made from clothing fabrics. It’s my first true crossover commission!

All the fabrics (except the black background) was from a man’s clothes. The quilt tells the story of who this man was and was commissioned for his 7 year old son. He was a cowboy, wildlife biologist, lived in the Sierra Nevada mountains, camped and fished, and searched for arrowheads,  I was given examples of art for style inspiration and I did my best to give this quilt a sort of primitive/whimsical style.

 

 

memory blanket bear, horse, mountain lion

memory quilt mountains, horse, bobcat, trees, stars

 

 

There are lakes on each end of this double-sized bed quilt, rivers meander down the sides in front of rows of mountains.

Cowboy Memory Quilt detail 1

memory  blanket lake with fish, mountain lion

 

Bandanna centers looked kind of “celestial” and inspired the sky area in the center. Other symbols include horse shoes, feathers, arrowheads, and stars.

center of memory quilt, western, cowboy, horseshoes and starts

memory quilt from clothing, pictorial

 

I used bits of all the clothing that was sent—-about 6 shirts, 2 pairs of jeans and 2 bandannas, and I couldn’t have chosen much better fabrics myself for this type of quilt.

The lakes are from a blue chamois cloth shirt and all the trees were made from 2 green plaid shirts.

 

memory quilt bear, mountain lion, trees                                     Cowboy Memory Quilt detail 4

 

Quilting always adds a lot of interest as well as texture to quilts. The quilting I did helps tell the story.

bear quilted spiral

quilting

 

Spiral antlers add a touch of whimsy to this buck.

memory blanket deer, spiral antlers

Memory quilts from clothing can come in all shapes, sizes and styles. Contact me to discuss how we can create your one-of-a-kind masterpiece!  Amy@AmyCavanessDesigns.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PAQA Art Quilt Retreat

I’ve just returned from a retreat with the Professional Art Quilters Alliance (PAQA) (an Illinois-based group I recently joined.)

I got to know many incredible quilt artists, enjoyed the beautiful, sunny view of Lake Michigan and learned a lot from our instructor, Denise Havlan, a nationally-recognized, award-winning artist.

art quilt birch treesI took my machine and a memory quilt project to work on in my spare time (2 half-days) but 1 full day was spent creating this beautiful art quilt with Denise’s helpful instruction. This piece started with a colorful background fabric (orange, yellow, green.) Denise instructed us in using a variety of paints and other colorants to create the dark area in the background for depth, then creating the birch trees from white fabric. We finished by adding shadows, highlights, wildflowers and other accents. We added batting, backing and did some quilting.  I have to tell you—-I LOVE my little quilt! It will had some bright color to my home for spring. And I would love to make another “Birch Trees” quilt—-it was such fun!

My Art Quilt at the Chicago IQF!

I have an art quilt on display at the Chicago International Quilt Festival! This is one of the biggest shows in the country/world and I’m thrilled.

My art quilt is part of a collection of art quilts created by members of The Professional Art Quilters Alliance (PAQA).

These quilts are our submissions to a challenge to create an 18″ square quilt based on the theme “The Midwest”.   Here is my entry, “Harvest of Times Past.”

art quilt at International Quilt Festival

Harvest of Times Past, Amy Cavaness, 01/2015

 

I saw about half of the quilts that will be displayed at our January meeting. The interpretation of the theme, The Midwest, was as varied as the landscape and culture here. Some quilts were whimsical, others more abstract. I consider my style to be Impressionistic.

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What the Midwest means to me:

Our landscape is littered with lovely old homes and barns that have been abandoned. These old buildings seem to represent the evolution of this part of the country. This rich, black soil is what drew the farmers to settle this frontier throughout the 19th and early 20th century. As the farmers came to till the soil, the towns and industries to support them developed around them—evolving into the Midwest we know today. As farming methods evolved, farmers could handle more and more acreage, and the resulting economic changes squeezed out small farmers.  Those old-fashioned farmers moved on, and left their homes and barns to stand as long as they might.

To me, this is “The Midwest” in a nutshell, and the farmhouse I depicted (just a mile from my home) is quite typical. This one isn’t terribly old and still seems quite structurally sound, but the exterior is deteriorating from exposure to the elements.

Midwest farmhouse detail

Techniques

In this first photo you can see how I used fabric and then machine stitching to depict the landscape—the rolling fields and the forest beyond the fields. On the tree I used some light-colored thread stitching to show the low winter sun shining on the trunk and branches.

The second is a close-up of the sky. This is fabric I painted with fabric paints as I find it easier to paint that hunt for just the right fabric sometimes!

art quilt,corn fields,midwest,landscapeart quilt,painted fabric,sky. tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One last detail to share: the binding I used has meaning to me. It’s an old-fashioned print, which seems rather out-of-place on a modern quilt, but that was just the point! These old farmstead seem rather out-of-place anymore on these huge tracts of land. There’s a warmth and sentimentality about them, but they’re outdated, relics of the past—–like the little strip of fabric around my picture!

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art quilt at International Quilt Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modern Memory Quilt Oct 2014

 Modern Memory Quilt from Shirts

Contemporary-style improvisational piecing

A recently completed modern memory quilt from shirts is this full-size bed quilt. This quilt was put together with fabric from a collection of women’s blouses and a couple of pairs of khaki slacks. The colors are lovely and rather summery—-yellow, orange, several shades of blue, mint green and white with a few touches of red. Sewing this quilt as we transition from summer to fall, the colors seemed to mirror what I was seeing out my window—the beautiful blue October skies and the yellows, oranges and reds starting to appear in the green trees.

 

Modern memory quilt from shirts

 

 

 

Backing and quilting

The blue backing was a purchased cotton. There’s a LOT going on on the front of the quilt, so the solid back and binding is a nice restful choice here.  I quilted the layers with my box-within-a-box quilting pattern. I like this pattern with these modern quilts—the pattern itself is contemporary looking and the angularity compliments the geometric shapes on the top of the quilt. Like the piecing on the front, this stitching is done without a pattern—-it’s free-motion stitching.

memory quilt from clothing back

 

Detail photos

Here are a couple of close-ups of the quilt.The way I put the sections together kind of disappears in the rhythms and patterns of color and shape.

Improvisational piecing detail

Contemporary pieced memory quilt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Quilting Arts Magazine

Published in Quilting Arts Magazine

I’m absolutely thrilled to have my art quilts and an article in the latest Quilting Arts  magazine!!!! I’ve subscribed to this magazine for many, many years and truly never dreamed I’d see my own work (and face!) in the publication. But there it is—the Oct/Nov 2014 issue, “In the Spotlight” article.

Quilting Arts Magazine

Latest issue of Quilting Arts magaine

The article features photos of 2 of my quilts (admittedly my favorites), “Peeking” and “Trail Riding”. The first is an art quilt of a little kitten peeking out from under a barn door. The other is a quilt of my husband and me on our horses at Matthiessen State Park here in north-central Illinois. A third quilt is described in the article and displayed on the website.

So grab a copy here to read my article and all the rest—a really fabulous magazine! Every issue has interesting new techniques, new bios of quilt artists and tons of inspiration!!

If you are interested in commissioning an art quilt walling hanging, please contact me. I am accepting commissions for 2015! [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Business Anniversary Wall Hanging Quilt

Memory quilt wall hanging for a business

I was very honored to receive a commission to create a commemorative wall hanging for a business! Cambridge Brewing Company, a microbrewery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is celebrating their 25th anniversary. CBC is a microbrewery whose award-winning beers are being distributed in increasing numbers of states.

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72″ X 42″

Lots of memories!

I received a number of t-shirts, baseball team shirts, and even a baby t-shirt (“Brew Baby”—so cute!) I got creative with many of the t-shirts, slicing and dicing and putting them back together.

business t-shirt quilt

Photo transfers

I was sent digital photos of murals at the brewery/restaurant and other images which I printed on fabric to include in the memory quilt. I use a product called Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) to transfer images from a special paper printed on my printer to cotton fabric. As you can see, it works beautifully.

Each piece is framed with hand-dyed and batik fabrics which have been strip pieced into interesting sections themselves. The earthy colors are inspired by the colors in the Cambridge Brewery logo.

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 Beer Labels

Another important aspect of this commemorative wall hanging is the beer labels. Again, I transferred the digital images of the labels to fabric and sewed them into the quilt. I carefully free-motion quilted (stitched) around the images on the labels to highlight and give them texture. Then each label was framed with my own fabrics in a contemporary manner before applying to the black background.

beer label transferred to fabric

I found a great themed fabric that featured glasses of beer on a black background which I used for a border around the whole piece. There is a pocket sewn along the top edge of the quilt (on the back) through which a dowel or rod can be inserted for hanging the quilt.

The deadline for finishing this piece was met and I received word that the quilt was very well received.

Here’s to Cambridge Brewery’s continued success!

Sports Letter Jackets Memory Quilt

Today I finished a unique quilt.

This one is made primarily from school sports letter jackets. Nice 40th  birthday gift for a guy to re-live his glory days, don’t you think?

Sports Letter Jacket Memory Quilt

 

Things I liked about this one:

I cut the ribbing off the bottoms of all the jackets and made the border/binding around the outside of the quilt with them;

ribbing used as binding
photos on memory quilt
 I found a buffalo check in his school colors for the back
(notice the strips are on the bias for contrast with the squares);
buffalo check background
Quilting around lettering and graphics besides the
free-motion quilting make the front AND back interesting and textural
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free motion quilting memory quilt