Segmented Designs

Three years ago in the Denver Botanic Gardens I took this pic of this lovely path in one part of the garden, printed it out and have had it up on my pinboard on and off for ages, feeling I had ‘to do something’ about it.

mosaic path DBG blog

Mosaic style pathway, Denver Botanic Gardens.

More recently I’ve discovered fabulous installation hangings by Christine Mauersperger whose simple stitch designs I’ve always loved, and buzzing around somewhere in the depths for several years has been some of the work by Olga de Amaral one of whose beautiful hangings stopped me in my tracks in the foyer of the Hotel Santa Clara, Cartagena, Colombia.

On the weekend I found some bits of metallic finished leather that were surplus to several pieces I made in the Tracks series.  Well, I ‘found’ them when the biodegraded bag they were in fell to bits in my hands and they cascaded to the floor.  In the Tracks quilts, leather pieces were laboriously hand stitched from behind to the base fabric, which was then quilted.  It was hard on the hands and won’t do anything more that way.  For some reason just then a lightbulb came on – leather snipped into bits and machined onto base fabric could make a mosaic-like surface.   Heartened by a quick sample, I realised it would make a good 12″ square piece for the SAQA Auction – so here it is completed.  Two layers of fabric were torn to size and bonded together with fusing web; then the machine applique using gold metallic thread was also in effect the quilting (through two layers of fabric)  The leather pieces stopped at the rough edge – no binding or other finish was necessary or imho appropriate.

Mosaic quilt blog

12″ quilt for SAQA Online Auction September 2016.       Full view left, detail right.

While working on that I had other ideas, and today fiddled a bit with slivers of mylar-backed ripstop nylon- left side of this pic –

Mosaic samples blog

Samples – mylar/nylon left,   metallic leather right

I bought several metres of this mylar/nylon, about 150cm wide, @$2/m, in the cheapo fabric zone of Santiago de Chile, several years ago, mainly because I can’t resist glitter and would have bought gold, too, if they’d had it, and also I guess because it was a cheap challenge.  The piece I have in mind will make a slight dent in it, and I could also use the mylar as a base fabric…goodness, I’ll have that stuff used up in no time!

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2 Responses to “Segmented Designs”

  1. oh how satisfying! The texture and gleam must be fab in person… Maybe I’ll get to see it sometime. About sewing the leather bits, did you use a big needle and they went through the machine stitching fine? You see, I have some thick leather I want to put somewhere in fiber work, and have pulled it out several times, then put it back… LeeAnna

  2. Alison says:

    Thanks for your comment, LeeAnna. The thread is metallic – can’t tell you what brand – its a big cone that only had the brand on the wrapper 🙂 With all metallics I need to use a larger needle, in this case it was either a 100, or a topstitch. In the bobbin was a light grey bobbin thread – Gutermann’s Skala, which I use for all piecing and usually under anything I’m quilting with – but I often have it on the top, too. Its a fine multifilament polyester thread. (I have cones of black, dark and light grey, cream and white) Try out everything first including tension top and bottom – and sew slower than normal speed and you should have no problem. There are probably books with magic answers in them – but I don’t own them, and I just find it effective to try a sample first – if it works fine – if not, I vary things a bit until it does. If you don’t have any, get some Sewers Aid if you’re using metallics, you put a drop or two on the reel every now and then and tub it in – its a lubricant — excellent, as the metallic feeds more smoothly. Loosen the top tension a little and sew more slowly.

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