I am often asked what fabrics I prefer for my art quilts or what my stash contains.
For art quilts I use:
sometimes batiks as they make great skies and slightly textured looking backgrounds, they are a blank canvas for threads but without looking flat (and they don’t fray)
fabrics I can easily use for pavements, buildings, grassy lawn, floors and walls etc
hand-dyed & hand-painted fabric for the grungy arty kind of look, I like no pattern, just random paint going anywhere on the fabric, I love Distressed Threads fabric but they have closed the business now, Catherine is continuing it under the name Mallee Textiles
solids/plains (preferably Kona)
Kaffe Fassett collective fabrics I find also work really well in both modern and art quilts and that’s actually the only printed fabrics I think that I like for both
I do really like printed patterned fabrics but find they are not so useful for my art quilts. I like Tula Pink’s older fabric, Alison Glass’s ranges especially ‘ex libris’; I love day of the dead and folklorio prints, script, newspaper, glow in the dark prints, some of the more unusual Liberty’s like recent ones by a street artist, comic book prints (ex comic and card collecting geek).
I keep all of my scraps as they are always useful for tiny fused bits on my quilts, I also keep other people’s scraps when available because they give me a wider range of colours and patterns. I learnt from Mary Transom that she even keeps her threads too so I have now started keeping those, I have yet to do something with them though.
I also like net, tulle, velvet, wool felt, flannel, leather and lots of other fabrics and am guilty of buying fabric just to look at or to touch, so I’m like every quilter I’ve ever met apart from a rare few who are so self controlled they buy for just the project they are working on at the time and stick to it.
When it comes to choosing fabric, if anyone is feeling unsure about their choices and they’re attempting an art quilt for the first time, pick something that you love the look of, because the more you love the fabric the easier it will be to make art with it, never be afraid to take a risk, no you don’t know if it will work out but how will you know the answer to that question if you don’t try it? You have to have the confidence to try new things.
I think it is more difficult with bold large prints but hey maybe you will be the next quilt artist who specialises in amazing quilt art using wild bold large prints!
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