quilted strata

This month’s two-colour challenge for the Art Quilt group I belong to, was purple and orange. We could do anything within the general theme of flora and fauna, using only the two colours of orange and purple. This is my final result.

Orange & purple challenge: 6 * 6 inches

Orange & purple challenge: 6 * 6 inches


I want to use these challenges to try out different techniques and different media, as I figure it’s an excellent opportunity to play and experiment. So therefore my approach in creating this month’s task was not to think about what could I depict using only those two colours, but instead to consider what method or materials I wanted to try out this month. I started off by deciding to use paper as the base. Using paper, I wanted something with up-and-down texture on the surface by manipulating the paper.
Who knows what mysterious paths the brain takes as it mulls things over, considers all the options and factors, discards this idea and that before settling on something. For some reason, the image of strata popped in my head, as well as a fossil. That would do- a fossil fits in the flora and fauna scheme?!
I then remembered I had some ‘Modelling Compound’ that I’d once bought but not yet used: using that could achieve the rough texture to resemble layers of strata. So I started.
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I used some hand-made paper and painted it with some purple ink. I stirred up the modelling compound, which has the texture of really thick white goop, and to that mixed in some orange acrylic paint.
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I traced a shape of a fossil onto some freezer paper and stuck it in the centre where I wanted the fossil to appear. This was just to act as a mask and stop the paste flowing over it, as well as allowing that circle to be indented with the strata edges rising around it, like a fossil would have.
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I then spread the orange paste over it all , putting lines and heavier bits in some sections, and digging some back out to reveal little glimpses of the purple. I then left it to dry.
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Taking off the freezer paper mask in the middle, I had smeared just a little colour over that centre circle. It set with a rubbery texture so I was able to then do free-motion stitching all over it to (attempt to) resemble strata lines. I also stitched the fossil shape. The needle went through the orange ridges and stitched easily enough, although I did have to experiment with the thread to find one which could resist being ‘cut’ or breaking on the fine edges of the strata.
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I think it sort of looked how I envisaged! although the paper I originally wanted to utilise ended up being an under-layer and not a feature. The orange appears a little too intense, so it could have been toned down a little. In fact, I would even say it is a little ugly, but it was fun experimenting!
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One thought on “quilted strata

  1. Just loved it- didn’t think the orange was too bright when looking at the real thing.
    Happy birthday Karen!

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