"FLA-GO-MIN", 17.5" x 41", 2018

"FLA-GO-MIN", 17.5" x 41", fused applique, 2018


March 27, 2020

"FLA-GO-MIN" was done for a "black and white plus one" quilt challenge in 2018. Black and white fabrics were to be used along with one color. I chose pink because I knew my piece would involve a flamingo somehow. The perimeter had to fall within a certain range but the shape was up to the artist.

How did I do it?

You can see some thumbnail sketches on the small piece of paper. I did a quick color study on the ones that had potential. What was unusual about this particular project, was that I took a poll of family members for their reactions and opinions about which sketch to pursue. It made sense since the contest exhibit involved a People's Choice vote and three cash prizes. (Alas, I was not a winner, but I like to think I came in fourth - though I'll never know for sure.)

I made the full scale line drawing of the chosen design and did some color placement. I used green chalk to show the more white than black fabrics on the white background. It was the only way I could check for balance in the composition.

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I refined the drawing and numbered each piece so I could keep track of what went where for fusing. (You can see some of the fusing process in the photo to the right.)

The color study was fine as a starting point, but now it was necessary to lay out specific pieces of fabric for balance and direction. I consciously used every bit of knowledge I possessed regarding composition to optimize placement to keep the eye moving around the piece.

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Here you can see all the thumbnail sketches, the actual flamingo drawing, the numbered pattern and the final piece. You've been reading about how the end product doesn't "just happen"; indeed there are many steps along the way.

Though they appear disjointed, the head and body of the pink flamingo are true to the drawing . The pink "legs" are stylized to enhance the composition.

You may have heard about artists listening to what the art tells them. It's true. As I sewed the appliqued segments together and pinned them to the black background on the design wall, a bit of serendipity occured. The extra black space between the segments made the groupings sing, so I strayed from the original design and used that extra space. I stayed true to the concept by connecting the segments to each other.

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Because I made the unplanned improvement, I did not have as much black background as I would have preferred. The black binding on the quilt both extends the black a bit and covers the flamingo print backing fabric.(unseen in these photos) Would you believe, that after stitching, the dimensions of the fabric are smaller? The lesson? Next time be more generous when cutting the big piece. Yes, fabric is expensive, but it's much better to be able to trim some off than wish it was bigger!

Participating in challenges is rewarding. There are some guidelines and a whole lot of freedom for creative interpretation. Plus, it's a great excuse to try something different - hence "challenge". And, possibly most importantly, a deadline!

Yes, art should be fun!    I like what I do.

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