Now that you have your art quilt all layered and sewn together, it's time to start embellishing it. This can be a bit overwhelming at first. I'm sure you're wondering where to start. First let me say, that you have to let go of how you think it should be and allow it to be what it becomes! That is very important with art of any type. Try not to stress over it! Just go with it and let be what it wants to be.
With that said, there are some basics to help you get started. You can begin to embellish anywhere on the quilt that you choose but my suggestion is to start with the focal point. If you used a photograph, that's where the eye will start before moving on and around the rest of the quilt.
I started by choosing a few lace appliques. I always pin them on at first and always wait to dye them until I get a "feel" for the colors.
I love to use Silk Ribbon Embroidery with vintage photos because it has a soft look to it. If you don't do SRE, you can add some "sewn on" satin flowers. Sew them on or glue them on, it's an art quilt not a sane quilt. There are no rules. Gluing them on with a glue gun goes much faster than sewing them on by hand but if you choose to sew them on, not a problem.
If you look closely at the above photo, you can see that I kind of followed the fuzzy yarn trail and used that as a vine, adding SR flowers on either side of it. I didn't cover the entire vine though. I thought it would add more interest to leave some space for something else later.
At this point, I dyed my lace pieces and moved them around a bit:
And because this is a garden quilt, I added the tiny bird's nest with eggs to the glove. You see, the inspiration comes as you go along. If you go with the inspiration when it comes to you, you will end up with a very flowy and unique project. If you're set on it being a certain way, it'll end up looking stiff and too pre-planned.
I had actually just been to a flea market where I found a whole bag full of little birds nests and eggs. The inspiration just happened. I went with it and it worked great!
As you move around your quilt, dig through your stash and see what other unexpected things you have on hand. My mom had just dyed some salvage edges of fabric that she had laying around. Mom always says, "waste not, want not". She shared some of these with me and the moment I saw the one that says, "Coming Up Roses" on it, I knew that had to go on here! So I wrapped it around the glove, which by the way, I glued on with the glue gun rather than sewing it on. Saved time.
Next I pulled out some of my vintage millinery flowers and started to fill in some of the empty spaces on the vine. I worked with the colors from the photo. Those too are glued on with the glue gun.
Finally, I did a lot of beading and added sequins. Well, ya'll know I like things to sparkle! I added some little bugs, some flower beads and alphabet beads spelling out the words, "Marys Garden". That's the name of this quilt and it's based on the nursery rhyme, Mary, Mary quite contary, how does your garden grow?!
I added the feathers to enhance the bird's nest and then when I stood back and looked at it (always a good way to view your work. Look at it from a distance for awhile.) I noticed that the pink applique flowers were a little too overpowering and distracted from the photo. So I pulled out some white pearly paint and with a small paint brush, I painted the edges of the appliques. Much softer now!
As I mentioned earlier in this post, the inspiration comes as you go along. You just need to find a starting point and the focal point is always a good place to start. I didn't have the name of the quilt chosen at first. It came to me as I was working on it.
One of the most fun things to do is to use unexpected things and things from your stash. I never recommend going out and buying anything special. Use what you have and what you have collected.
One more thing that I plan to do is to add a little glitter to the millinery flowers. I suggest that you wait on that until the quilt is sewn together or you'll have glitter in your sewing machine and all over your floor. Of course, if you don't want glitter, you don't have to use it. I'm into bling but that's just me!
It's really not all that different from crazy quilting, but there are no seams to stitch on. That's the difference and the mental block that I ran into when I first tried art quilting. Once I let go of that, art quilting just happened for me and I truly love it! I love the freedom of it.
I hope you find this tutorial helpful. The final part will be on how to finish it. I'll have that ready in a week or so. Until then, if you've decided to give this a try, please drop me a comment with a link to your blog, website, Flickr site or Facebook page where I can see your project. I will gladly post photos here on my blog so everyone can enjoy your project! And of course, feel free to email me with any questions that you may have. I am always very happy to help!!!
Happy Embellishing Everyone!