there’s no FABRIC but it’s still a QUILT

I’ve been viewing some other fabric-related blogs, in a very wide range of topics, from personal progress in fiber art to industrial management of textile shops. In reviewing these sites and searching for motivation in my own artwork, I have also decided on one or two concrete plans for making myself more productive. When I go about creating a new work of art (usually three-dimensional) the procedure usually goes like this:

  1. I first amass a great deal of my selected supplies, be they glitz or garbage.
  2. I start attaching them together–usually with a sewing machine–whether they belong that way or not.
  3. After a short amount of time, they have usually told me what they want to be made into, and so I follow that path.

I know it’s a frustratingly scientific process, but the better part of my projects go this way. I spent years of my college education trying to make up a better description than that to no avail. I’m sticking to what I know: the art makes itself.

Ah-hem.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I can divulge my slightly less-than-spectacular, but still important plan. I am in my “quilting phase” of learning about the technical aspects of manipulating fabric, and it’s fair to say that I have become bored very quickly with the idea of just using fabric as the medium for making a quilt. Oh sure, I have used quilting techniques on paintings, clothing, and various non-fabric materials. I will continue to do so in the future.
Blustery 2007 - Jamie K. McIntosh (fabric, leaves, acrylics)
My most recently completed fabric painting, Blustery, is an example of how I just found some things and let them become what they wanted to become. I started out with the scraps of fabric and sewed them to a piece of canvas, not really planning on stretching the canvas onto a frame. I also wasn’t planning on using any paint, but I wanted to match the lavender color in the bottom scrap and didn’t have any more of that fabric. (There–the secret is out.) Honestly, I can’t say how the stuffed fabric tree roots came about. The art creates itself!

And I know that people enjoy “quirky” art quilts where beads and ribbons and men’s ties are used for decoration. So, I intend to push this a bit further, making a “block-a-day” for my quilt. Using fabric and fabric-like materials, I will pick a theme either in media type or color (I haven’t decided which), and each block will differ slightly within that theme. After the quilt top is finished, I will then back this with fleece or something similar, and stitch all the layers together to make a hopefully functional quilt.

“Functional” being the operative word.

“Hopefully” being the snag in my confidence.

But my question is, will anyone be interested in a quilt made from some things that are, say, plastic-ey or–heaven forbid–unwashable?! The practical side of me says, “Don’t waste your time. No one will be interested in purchasing a quilt that they can’t toss in the washing machine. It will end up as a wall-hanging. You may as well have just made another fabric painting.”

Well, if that’s the case, at least I will own one helluva beautiful, original, hand-crafted quilt that the children will be forbidden from using lest they soil its hallowed threads! Phooey.

About Jamie

Jamie is an award winning artist who specializes in textile/fabric pieces (art that you wear), but also creates paintings, sculptures, and quilted works of art.
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