It has been nice to have some less busy times to experiment with some new techniques in piecing art quilts. I recently finished two art quilts of red rocks, from images from the southwest United States. I’ve traveled there several times with my husband. We have always been mesmerized by both the starkness of the landscapes and the richness of the red rock formations. Coming from rural Pennsylvania where lush green surrounds us much of the year, the colors and formations of the southwest are distinctly different.
These red rocks lend themselves to art quilts! I made a few Red Rock quilts last year. This time I tried a new approach. I wanted to capture the rock layers and the many different rust, red, brown colors of the rock formations themselves. I started by making strips (about 2″ wide) of all my rust and light brown fabrics. Then I sorted them into 3-4 different piles, grouping color tones. Next I sewed the strips of each group together in layers, trimming the strips down to very thin layers of color and print, sometimes wider at one end or narrow in between…depicting the layers seen in rock faces.
With a general idea of the quilt design I was heading towards, I started cutting out sections of rock from these created pieces of “fabric” I’d sewn together initially. I cut the rock sections so that the strips went different directions. I added fabrics were needed to get the design I wanted. In one of these new Red Rock quilts, I created a background of mountains and a small valley for some depth in the quilt design.
I like the effect of cutting the rock sections from pieced fabric, a two step process to creating the pieces for the art quilts. I had some photographs from my travels which I used as inspiration for the way I placed the rocks sections together.
I used fairly tight rows of stitching for the quilting design, following the slant/direction of the rock strips. By using print, batik, and blender fabrics, the quilts have nice depth and texture simply from the selection of fabrics.