New Work: Neon

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This is my latest portrait quilt. I was inspired by the hair color industry and the funky neon hair colors that are available in the cosmetology industry. I have been searching and purchasing neon fabric and embellishments since last fall and recently had the time to make this quilt. I really love the yellow print that I used for the dress and wanted to use more of it in the borders but since I do not like yellow in large quantities I chose to use this print for the backing fabric instead. The fabric for the lipstick and the pale yellow highlights was purchased while at the IQF Houston 2014 Show last October which gives me good memories! I used Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics  for the gradation of 6 skin tone fabrics. They are hand dyed cottons and work very well for skin tones and are are equal to me as batiks. I purchased a fat quarter packet of browns for another project and love them to bits!!

I decided to take photos of the various steps of this portrait quilt to show how it come alive with each step of stitching, borders, fabric paint and embellishments. This is just the center of the quilt. I chose to cut some of the top off the center once it was completely fused because all the background was not needed.

This is the top with the various borders added. I love the swirly fabric on the left and bottom borders since it reminds me of the fashion designer Emilio Pucci! I fussy cut the directional pattern once I discovered there was a double direction. My cat Jack photo bombed this picture! Hi Jack!!

The quilt is quilted, bound and on cardboard being blocked. This is a step I only was taught about 4-5 years ago which changed my world because it will square up a quilt and make it lay flat. This is VERY important for having a quilt hang in a quilt show and the judges love a straight quilt without any wavy edges!!

I collected neon colored embellishments. I have a variegated orange/yellow ribbon, a fun neon colored decorative elastic, loose glitter, nail polish, rhinestones, and a variety of beads. I did not use everything which is the part that is hard because I have to use good taste and know when to stop adding more bling!!

This is the finished close-up of the face. I added the ribbon and elastic to the dress neckline; the loose glitter was used for eyeliner; rhinestones were used to make an earring; nail polish was used in the yellow of the hair to add to the highlights; rhinestones were added to the right and top borders and beads were sewn to outside of the binding. I intend to enter this quilt in a national quilt show and beyond!!

Sapphire and Topaz

This is the photo of the brain buster quilt!! It is big for me at 51" x 40" and I am entering it in an unknown contest based on a minimum size requirement. The design influence began with a small photo of a hairstyle in one of the beauty supply catalogs I receive. I have a female attorney as a hair customer and consulted with her about copyrights and using this photo. After the conversation I decided to mirror image the woman in the picture, change the colors of the hair, and I added things to the face and hair and took away the body of the woman. I feel it is okay now and is not a copy but an inspiriation. Any thoughts on this subject??

I then decided to work in a blue and orange color palette because I was doing the lecture on the elements of design and these colors kept popping up in the research. I also have not worked in this color combo so why not. Pink is my favorite color but orange is my new favorite and I had fun with these colors. They remind me of Appleton West High School colors and the orange reminds me of summer, sunsets and warmth!!

I chose a realistic color palette for the face and suprisingly I kept the face fairly simple without glitter and rhinestones because I thought it turned out nice the way it was. The way the batik was cut I was able to get great shading without trying too hard!!

For the hair I found this great metallic which had both blue and orange and a batik that was interesting. for the highlights/lowlights.

The background was made of various oranges cut into squares and I sewed many, one weeks worth of, circles to look like a bullseye using an orange variageted thread. The blue outer border repeats the circle motif and is free motion quilted with a freeform flower design using a Sulky Blendables thread. I always block my quilts when they are finished but this piece became very distorted from the circular quilting and I "preblocked" the quilt and then added the flowers, binding, and embellishments and blocked it again when it was completed.

Next I used three different large scale florals and fussy cut them to add to the outer border, the hair, cheeks and a few scattered. I then sewed blue felt and regular buttons to repeat the circle theme and orange flower buttons, both felt and regular, to the quilt. I have beads in both colors in various sizes to accent the flowers using Silamide thread which is awesome!!



This quilt took me so long mostly because of all the machine quilting and hand stitched beads/buttons. I named it after the color theme and "Blue and Orange" seemed a bit bland so it became "Sapphire and Topaz" since topaz is my birthstone so it seemed fitting.