ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Fleur du Soleil

I am pleased to share with you my recently finished commission quilts, "Fleur du Soleil". Doesn't everything always sound more elegant in French? I chose the word "Soleil" (sun) because I used that word in the titles of the previous two sunflower quilts I made earlier in my career.

The photo above was snapped with my cell phone on Friday while I was having the works professionally photographed, so I will share a professional photograph when my photographer has finished editing them and I have a chance to select some and make a post. There is no way I could have photographed this piece in my home because I simply don't have a free wall where I could hang something so large, and I certainly wouldn't be able to light it correctly for photography.

Let me share just a few details. This photo shows the centre panel. I completed it first because I knew that it was the star and that the side pieces would have to bow to it.

A few detail shots.

I took a few photos while building each panel. This one shows the start of the panel on right. I hadn't attached the petals yet so I only had to lift them to add in the collaged centre you see in the next photo.

A few close-up shots

I saved what I thought was the hardest piece (the left panel) for last. I was right. It doesn't have a collaged centre so is a bit different in look but had to be planned to blend with the other two pieces. In the end, for all pieces, I ended up tracing each of my patterns onto a dark green piece of hand-dyed fabric using Saral transfer paper (available at art supply stores) between the paper pattern and the background fabric. It was easier to do it this way than build on muslin because I did not want to see any shadowing of the dark green background under the edges of the soft yellow petals when I placed the dark green fabrics to represent background.

Since the petals are yellow and gold I was able to see my pattern lines through the fabric, and that enabled me to build one petal at a time easily, placing hi-lights and shadows based on what I saw through the fabric. 

Here's the finished petal shown above.

I was then able to just place each finished petal into the appropriate place on the background fabric. I found I only needed to trace the petal shape and not all the details within the petal to the background.

Here is the left petal finished. One thing I learned while making this piece is how you only have to suggest something to make it believable. I've seldom worked this large before, and I was always amazed that when I stepped back (which I had to do with a camera because my house is small) a few simple shapes would tell the story.

To be honest, the most difficult part for me was trimming all the quilts to the same length, and getting the left and right panel the same size. Oh and getting that big 4 ft x 4 ft centre straight! I confess that in the middle of that task there was a period when I had to step outside and breathe!!

Things checked out on the kitchen floor tiles.

And I was especially pleased that the pieces hung so well during photography (see first photo in post).

My client is currently visiting Ottawa, and I will be meeting with her to deliver this commission later this week. I am grateful to have had this opportunity, especially at this time. It was a difficult winter in many ways but this project gave me a needed focus, and allowed me to earn income from home while I took some time to take care of myself.