Sunday, March 25, 2012

Art Quilt Tips - Painting Your Quilt

This is my first blog post with tips about art quilting . . . and I have decided to jump off the deep end and suggest a technique that you might not have considered using in your quilting projects . . . Painting your quilt after it is all finished!

Don't be horrified now!!! This can make a quilt come alive in a way that you never expected.

In this first photo you will see a traditional quilt block that has been free motion stitched with a leafy design inside softly curved ripples ... and then the leafy area has been painted with White pearlized Setacolor Textile Paint. See how the quilted stitched show up so nicely ... and the patterned background recedes a bit in the area that has been painted but it is not totally covered up.

In order to keep the paint from going outside your desired area, you can cut a piece of freezer paper into a stencil and then iron it onto your quilt block to protect the outer areas. To do this you will use an almost-dry brush and use light strokes to brush the colour across the top of the quilted design. Several light coats of paint looks better than one heavy coat. Because the paint does not go down to the stitching, it creates a valley of contrasting colour and texture which adds appeal to your art. If you want to use more than one colour of paint, the first should be dry before applying the second coat of paint.

Here is a photo of a section of a little purse that I made for a customer who requested that I incorporate a peace sign into the purse. I couldn't find a commercial fabric with peace signs that appealed to me so I created a stamp with the image and used it to discharge the colour from the purple fabric . . . it discharged to a beautiful soft blue-grey. I then used a irridescent turquoise, pearl white and violet paint by Jacquard to highlight an area of the purse that I had previously quilted with a swath of circles . . .

This is a wonderfully lighthearted technique (once you get your breath back after the first stroke of paint) and I can highly recommend it as a way of creating drama in an art quilt . . . or perhaps to rescue a quilt that was destined to the rag bag. As with all new techniques, be sure to try it out on a sample that has been made with the same fabrics so that you can figure out how much paint to use and to have a bit of an idea of what the finished art quilt will look like.

Have fun!!! . . . posted by Kathy Kinsella

Kathy Kinsella is a fibre artist who lives in British Columbia, Canada and whose work includes original fibre art purses, art quilts, and liturgical vestments. Her Etsy shop is


Jerimi said...

This idea is so "outside the box." I LOVE it!

Jerimi said...

This idea is so "outside the box." I LOVE it!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kathy! Great post! I am working on a quilt(and painting/inking it) at the moment and always find inspiration in your work. :) Quiltinjeni

QuiltieComments said...

Cool, what a great technique!! I love paintstiks, so I'm going to try this with them!

I'm excited about your art quilt posts, thanks so much!