24 November 2015

Wonderful Light - Making the background

Two weeks ago I promised I'd be back with more process images of how I made my award-winning quilt Ex Tenebris Lux. I realised that it's quite a long process, so I've split it into two parts. This is the first part, which is all about how I made the background fabric.

I already told you that the quilt was inspired by a page in one of my art journals. If you remember the image you may also remember that it had an Asian feel to it. Regular readers of this blog will have noticed that I've been inspired by Japanese design for the last two or three years.

There are two areas of Japanese design that I'm particular inspired by: shibori dyeing and sashiko embroidery. In the quilt I looked to sashiko for inspiration when I needed something to bring interest into the background. I found a sashiko pattern called maru shippo, which contains circles and is therefore connected to the sun as the circle is a Japanese symbol for the sun. It felt perfect for my quilt, and I began by making a maru shippo stamp and stencil for the background.

The reason I made both a stamp and a stencil was that I wanted to have a dialogue between darkness and light as well as positive and negative printing. In other words: my palette of choices for texturizing the background was to print with a colour that was darker or lighter than the base fabric and with a tool that let me print a positive image (the stamp: the motif has a different colour) or a negative image (the stencil: the background has a different colour). I used textile paint in both a thick and a thin consistency. Thick for printing, thin for spraying. The finished background looked like this. I knew the middle would be covered by the figure, so I didn't worry too much about that area.

The base layer was painted wet in wet with silk paints before I printed it, and I used a wooden frame to stretch the fabric prior to painting at that stage.

The background formed four main areas in my mind: shadow, light and two areas of transition.

The shadow

The transition from dark to light 


Light defeating darkness

That was a bit of information about the background layer. Next time I'll show you how I painted the face and tell you a little about the quilting process.

Thanks for reading! See you again soon!

1 comment:

  1. Well described painting. I come across so many art and drawing pieces but very few artists share the detailed information about the whole process of making it. Thanks for sharing each and every detail.