Tiny Art

The teacher/mentor of the art quilt class I am taking challenged us to create a tiny art quilt that would fit inside the opening of this frame (in reality a ceramic tile with a square opening in the middle). The frame measures 4” by 4”, and the opening is 2” x 2”.

little frame

I decided to do something abstract, because the size felt too small for something more realistic. I pulled out a piece of fabric that I’d painted in one of our earlier classes. I used the window in the tile as a viewer, moving it over the fabric until I found a spot that looked nice. I marked it with a wash-out pen using the window as a template, then trimmed the fabric around the area. I layered it with batting and backing fabric and did some free-motion stitching. Keeping the backing larger made it a lot easier to stitch on – it really helps to have something to hold on to.

free-motion stitched

I was just doodling around at first, outlining some of the colour shapes, but eventually I started stitching circles and spirals. The spiral in the upper right was stitched quite heavily until it started to pop up from the surface in a conical shape. I finished the stitching by adding some highlights with some copper metallic thread.

finished stitching behind frame

When that was finished, I decided that the frame was the wrong colour for this little piece. I considered trying to paint it, or foil it, but in the end decided to cover it with fabric. I found some silk in my stash of embellishing materials that looked nice.

fabric to cover frame

I kept it simple for this project by marking out the inside of the frame with a wash-out pen and clipping diagonally from corner to corner like this:

fabric for frame

I wrapped the fabric around the tile and used tape to secure it on the back.

tiny piece with covered frame

I think it looks a lot better. Time to add a few beads. I picked three colours of seed and delica beads, and stitched them on in random groups by colour. Then I trimmed down the little quilt to fit behind the frame and taped it on.

finished piece

Here’s a close-up of the tiny quilt.

close-up

It was fun working on such a small scale.

One thing I would do differently would be to think more in advance about the quilting I wanted to do. I jumped in without a plan, and eventually came around to one, but I think the piece would be more successful without some of the meandering stitching. There are a couple of spots that look messy to me. But overall I am happy with how it turned out. I love the way that the dense spiral stitching pulled the fabric into a cone, adding more dimension to the piece. I stitched in a spiral, moving from outside to the centre and then back again, over and over. I want to try that again on a larger scale.

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