Simple ways to start art quilting
Have you ever wanted to try art quilting but don’t know where to start? I have a few easy ways to help get you over the hurdle of getting going! I have lots of tricks for making projects that look great but are really pretty simple when you break them down. These are all landscape style quilts.
Let’s start with the background. There are several ways to give yourself a head start. Use a watercolorish fabric, which looks like a landscape all by itself. (Seagull Sunset quilt) Or, use a panel that doesn’t have too much going on in the foreground, they are out there! (see two chickadee quilts) If you are a bit braver, you can make a simple striped background. (two single crane quilts) I like to have a bit of gradation in mine, but that’s not always necessary. If you are even braver, do a curvy stripe background. Just three carefully chosen fabrics cut with curved edges begins to look like a world! Basically, the top one needs to look skyish! (quilt with three crane silhouettes) From there, it’s not too hard to add mountains….then trees… It’s kind of addicting once you get started :-)
Once you have a background, there are some simple ways to add a foreground. The simplest of all is to do a silhouette. Several of these quilts were done that way. (more below) The Seagull Sunset quilt is done with only two fabrics other than borders! I also added a bit of thread sketching for some details, but only two fabrics. For the background, I cut it in half and flipped one half vertically so the sky and water are mirror images. So not only two fabrics, but only two pieces of each one! A step up from silhouette appliques is more detailed appliques. Those can be as detailed as you’d like. As you get more confident, you can add thread painting or other embellishments.
Another little trick is to use lots of borders. The teal tree quilt has only a small area that has the actual scene on it, the rest of the stripes are basically borders. The crane potholder is another example of that, and the iris and the swan. And I often do not make my borders the same all the way around, that is another way to make quilts artsy. I add details to borders with bead, buttons, quilting, decorative stitching or other art quilty techniques.
Once you break quilts into parts, you can see that you can do a lot of fun projects without doing anything super complicated. I hope you will give them a try, and send me a picture! Either like my On the Trail Creations Facebook page and send a message, or join my On the Trail Creations VIP facebook group.
And of course, our kits and patterns are another way to give you a head start on your art quilting journey!
7/20/2019 10:12:36 am
I’d love to see what you do 😊
9/15/2022 12:49:57 pm
If you make a quilt with acrylics. Will it still be soft?
11/12/2022 11:09:48 am
I just saw this, something is not right with my notifications 😭 Acrylic paint or fabric medium will add some stiffness. Inktense with water or aloe vera gel will not, but it’s harder to control the bleeding 😅 Tsukeniko inks are good too, but same issue. Mostly you just have to try things. I make almost exclusively decorative stuff so I don’t really mind a little stiffness.
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Beret Nelson's On The Trail Creations Blog Page
I am a homeschooling mom of three fun kids, who are now old enough that I have a little time to pursue my passion for sewing! After several years of making quilted cards and art quilts, I'm now designing kits and patterns. Some of my designs have been in Keepsake Quilting and Art Quilting Studios magazine! I teach classes online, and am starting to do more traveling and teaching. I also have many tutorials, including some on YouTube. I am blessed to live in Alaska where I am surrounded by the inspiration provided by the beauty of God's creation!
Free card pattern and also an e-book, and a quilt planning checklist!
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I am also an independent distributor for Plexus supplements, since I credit them with enabling me to be healthy enough to do all these fun things! They target blood sugar and gut health, which are at the root of so many modern health issues. E-mail me for more info, or check out my website! I am as passionate about getting people healthy as I am about getting people creating :-)