I had the privilege of attending a quilting retreat on the weekend, organised by my friend Michelle from Handcrafters House in Midland, Western Australia, and taught by one of Australia’s most well-known and internationally recognised landscape art quilters, Gloria Loughman.
On the Friday night, Gloria had a ‘trunk show’ where she showed some of the quilts she and her previous students had made. Baggage limits meant she wasn’t able to bring along some of the big quilts that feature in her books, but what we saw was inspiration enough.
This weekend’s theme was ‘Escape to the Rainforest’ and we learned how to paint backgrounds on fabric (a new experience for me — it was fun and opens up a whole lot of possibilities), as well as how to create a sense of depth and dimension in any scene.
For our ‘rainforest’, we could either use the tree and leaf motifs that Gloria provided, or work from a tree or forest picture of our own. All day Saturday (and into Saturday night) and most of Sunday was spent creating our landscape, the quilt top.
I chose to do a single tree from a photo I’d taken a few weeks back.
I was able to get to the point where almost all my surface stitching was done, so I’ve only got a little to finish before putting on borders, then layering it with batting and backing fabric and quilting it. Unfortunately, I was totally immersed in the process and forgot to take pictures as I went (!), so you can’t see how a plain white piece of fabric got transformed into this piece via paint, more paint, and then fabric, more paint, more fabric and stitching — you can only see the almost end result!
It was a terrific weekend — great learning, great people, great organisation (thanks Michelle), great teacher (Gloria is a born teacher and really generous with her time and really friendly; she joined in everything, and she and her husband seemed to really relax and enjoy themselves), and great food, location, and hosts (Avalon Homestead, Toodyay).
Update July 2011: It’s finished! http://sandgroper14.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/estuarine-eucalypt-art-quilt-finished/