Butterfly Bliss mini-art hanging

These days my creativity is best sparked by challenges organized by groups I’m in. I haven’t made an art hanging in a while, so when the call-out came to make a piece using some art material (I’ll let you know which when the challenge is over), I decided to use it in a mini-art quilt. As it’s prime butterfly season, incorporating my favorite flying beauties into the piece was a gimme.

Butterfly Bliss

I had the butterflies in my stash. They were photographs I took of an anise swallowtail and a monarch butterfly that we raised and released. I printed the photos onto lutradur that I treated with Golden Paint Digital Grounds. When I need to print something onto lutradur, I fill the entire sheet with images so as not to waste any of the treated material.

Closeup anise swallowtail butterfly on lutradur

To set off the butterflies, I sewed them to some gauzy fabric bits that came in a flea-market home decor fabric sample book. For the background, I chose another larger piece from the sample book.

Closeup monarch butterfly on lutradur

I chose another piece from the sample book as a backing for a finished look, and slid a piece of firm stabilizer in between so it will hang without folding. I folded the top over and strung a leather cord through before I sewed it closed, for an easy hanger.

I love art quilts because they can be as simple or as complicated as you wish. If you don’t like to sew you can even just use double sided tape to add elements and make the seams. They’re a great use to upcycle discarded clothing or other fabrics. Have you made an art quilt? Post links here to any of yours that you’d like to show!

Egret in flight lutradur art quilt

I took a photograph of a gorgeous Great White Egret flying at the Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline in Point Richmond.  I blended it with my photograph of an allium flower in bloom, ending up with this collage:

Egret in flight

Egret in flight

I printed the blended collage onto lutradur that I coated with matte-for-porous-surfaces Digital Ground (for more on that process, see my prior detailed posts about printing on lutradur with Digital Ground).  I thought the print turned out very well – the detail in the egret’s wings is nearly as good as a print on inkjet paper, and the color is accurate and saturated.

I decided to use the piece in an art quilt. I backed the lutradur print with soft batting and did some free motion stitching around the abstract lines, using a few different colored threads.  Here are two closeups of some of the stitching:

Egret in flight closeup

Egret in flight closeup

Closeup of stitching

Closeup of stitching

For the frame, I chose an elegant dark gold silky fabric. The lutradur print is about 7.5 x 11 inches, and I added about 2 inches to each side for the frame.  I added another layer of batting to the back of the gold fabric, and did more free motion stitching to adhere the backing to the lutradur print.

I decided to use a simple pillow-type technique to finish the piece.  I chose a patterned sturdy off-white fabric for the backing, and sewed them face to face, leaving an opening to turn the piece right side out and small openings on both sides near the top for my hanging apparatus.  This is the finished piece:

Egret in flight art quilt

Egret in flight art quilt

To hang it, I painted a wood dowel with dark gold paint, and slid it through the openings at the top.  I wrapped a length of wire link chain around each side. Here’s a closeup:

The hanger

The hanger

This is the finished piece as it hangs from the chain:

Egret in flight art quilt

Egret in flight art quilt

A word about inspiration and motivation! I printed this piece months ago, but it had been lying in my “to make into something” pile since then. I’ll be teaching a workshop on using lutradur at the New Pieces Quilt Store on January 23rd, and I wanted a piece to show their customers how lutradur can be used in their quilts. This was the result ….