I love attending the Quilt Expo held in Madison during September each year. I’m so lucky–I only live a few miles away! It’s sponsored by Wisconsin Pubic Television and Nancy Zieman, and has a wonderful quilt show, workshops, one-hour lectures, vendors, and much more. I found 3 days last year a bit overwhelming, so I decided to concentrate on two days this year. One day was filled with shopping, taking in the quilt show, and a few one-hour lectures. The second day (Saturday) I decided to take an all day class by Susan Hoffmann entitled “Landscape Painting with Fabric”.
Here’s a photo of Susan at the start of the workshop.
We had about 20 or so students in the class. Susan was so patient and easy to understand. She told us not to be intimidated by the class and assured us that everyone in the class would go home with something they loved. She was right, as you’ll soon see.
We were each given some batik fabrics, fabrics for trees, heat-n Bond Lite to create our landscape, and a Copic marker, blender, and soft pastel chalk to use during class. The other items we brought with us.
Here’s the start to my landscape. Susan gave us great step-by-step instructions on how to piece and fuse the background, and the techniques used to draw on the fabrics with the pastel chalks. We added shrubbery above the sky line, and tree trunks and branches onto the background with the Copic marker. We even drew in a faint outline of a full moon in the sky.
The next few photos show the progression of the project … In this one, I’ve cut and placed fabrics to resemble birch and other trees. The trees are fused down using Heat’n Bond Lite. You can see it’s beginning to look like a landscape, but it’s rather flat.
Now the fun really beings–we started shading the tree trunks with a darker charcoal grey on the right, and a light pencil on the left of each trunk. I chose to incorporate some oranges and browns into the background.
Finally, we added shading using the full moon as our light source. Can you see the difference in how flat the first photo was with the shading in the final photo? It’s really remarkable.
The last step was to have her spray a fixative onto the fabric to set the chalk. Every one of the students had something completely different, yet they were ALL beautiful!
After I got home, my husband liked it so much I decided to frame this piece instead of quilting it (I’ve never done that before). I got out my coupons from Hobby Lobby and away I went. It only took a week or so. And because Susan had the foresight to give us a diagram so the final framing would fit into a standard 22 x 28 frame, it wasn’t as expensive as I had imagined.
I think their suggestion of the rough wooden frame along with the linen-like texture mat brings out the birch trees, and the additional thin black frame helps to stop your eye.
If you ever get the chance to take a class from Susan Hoffmann, I highly recommend it. (See more about her classes at her website here.) Don’t be intimidated, just have fun. It’s a learning experience. I was amazed that I came away with something I like so much. You will too, I’m sure. She’ll be doing another full day class at the next Expo–and I’ll be there!
Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!