Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Gaïa's Garden

If you're interested, Gaïa's Garden is now on display at the Mississippi Mills Textile Museum as part of the Out of the Box (OOTB) artists group's Summer Fibrations Art Show.

Gaïa's Garden

It's been a long time coming. I've been thinking of this piece for about a year, wondering how I would make it.
Gaïa's Garden art quilt
I played with the placement of the fabric, one section at a time, until I liked what I saw. Some parts were easy while others were a real struggle. I'm not sure why. It may have something to do with expectations.

I suppose that this could be called the second in two series, depending on how you define the series. It's my second "fantasy garden" piece and also my second Gaïa piece. Here are the first in both series.

Morning Has Broken
Art with Fabric, Spring 2018
Gaïa Mother Earth
Art with Fabric, Fall 2017

Both of these were made for the Art with Fabric Blog Hops, Fall 2017 and Spring 2018.

Free Motion Quilting 

Free motion quilting (FMQ) this piece took a very long time. I had said that I would be using different threads, but in the end I decided to stay with the Kimono Silk thread. since it was going so well,.
FMQ all the fun details in the fabric
I remember that I started with bright yellow thread and worked on many, many pieces that needed to be FMQ in that colour. Then I got bored before I had finished with the bright yellow and changed thread and kept going to another part of the quilt. That went on for a very long time. Eventually there were only some small spaces left to fill in.

I love how the quiet space of the swamp came together
Solving a challenge

The trickiest part of this piece occurred just as I thought that I was almost finished. I had noticed that my image of Gaïa seemed to be a little lumpy. I decided that I would deal with it once I had finished putting all of the fabrics onto the piece. I ended up ignoring the problem until after the FMQ. Better to deal with it later....right?

It might not have been such an obvious problem if I had sewn down Gaïa a little more right from the start, but somehow I doubt it. All I know is that there was a largish space that had not been stitched while all around it was heavily can see it coming, can't you?

Gaïa had many sags
I might not have needed Gaïa to be svelte, but she was sagging quite a bit. Well, I've always wanted to try trapunto, so I ended up making a slit at the back of the quilt and giving her a little padding. The first time I sort of overdid it, and discovered that although I had sewn Gaïa to the background fabric, I hadn't sewn around her once the batting had been added.

I overdid the stuffing of Gaïa
I almost never un-stitch or redo things. I usually try to find a way around the problem, however after sleeping on it, I decided that it was worth while un-stuffing poor Gaïa, and at the same time sewing around her through the batting.
I added the label on top of the opening.
Here is a final picture of Gaïa's Garden, taken on the way to delivering her to the Mississippi Mills Textile Museum.
Gaïa in her fantasy garden
What I learned
  • I'm not sure that re-doing the stuffing was worth it. After finishing the piece, it seemed to be fine but in the pictures, it looks a little off. As a friend said, Gaïa would probably have a few lumps and bumps, wouldn't she?
  • I am happy that I took the time to re-do Gaïa. If I want to take my art to the next level, I will need to seriously consider un-doing work more often. I generally know right away when a problem arises but I usually talk myself out of doing anything about it. 
  • I think that if I had sewn the image of Gaïa onto a fusible web, that it might have avoided the problem and kept the image flatter. On the other hand, if I had done that, I wouldn't have a 3D art quilt😊
  • I also need to plan my FMQ a little more when filling up spaces that really show. I had practiced drawing the stitching that I wanted in the sun but ended up starting the FMQ too quickly. I ended up only one side being what I wanted. I think that being a little more deliberate would have been worth it.
Related links
Post related to the making of Gaïa's Garden
  • Summer Fibrations Art Show, June 23, 2019
  • Gaïa's Garden is coming along, June 2, 2019
  • Making Gaia's Garden, May 20, 2019 
  • FMQ practice and planning, April 20, 2019

  • Linking parties
    Gaïa's Garden has been my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for both May and June. I'm really happy to be linking up to the June Finish of the OMG. I will be linking up to Muv's Free Motion Mavericks as well as many other great linkup parties. Let's see what's going on! Moving It ForwardMonday MakingWhat I Made MondayTuesday Colour Linky PartyLet's Bee SocialMidweek MakersWondering Camera, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?, Finished or Not Friday, Friday Foto Fun, TGIFF, Off The Wall Friday, Main Crush Monday, Favorite Finish Link-up in June, June's UFO and WIP Challenge,

    Project Details

    Gaïa's Garden
    20" x 22"
    Materials: hand-dyed and commercial cottons, silk, tulle, gauze, silk thread
    Techniques: appliqué, free motion quilting, trapumto, improv piecing


    1. That is very cool! Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly goal and congrats on your finish!

    2. What a nice finish. I think sometimes we have to work through those things we think are glitches, because even if, after finishing, we think we could've have left it, we learn something. Right? I do like her with a little more oomph. We all need that sometimes :-)

      1. Hi Wendy, I'm sure that learning is never wasted, no matter what the lesson. Often though we would probably rather not have to learn, wouldn't we?

    3. Nice finish! I'm glad you kept at it, trying to solve the stuffing issue.

      1. Thanks Susan. I'm really glad that I kept at it too!

    4. Beautiful! The 3-D effect adds a lot! I tend to let things go and find solutions instead of taking out stitches too. I have been following a blogger who shows when she takes out stitches and redoes her plan and the effects are always better. I guess there is a balance.

      1. Thanks Shasta. If you don't mind emailing me the blogger you follow, I would love to learn from her too!

    5. Your Gaia's Garden is a vision splendid, Andree! All those gloriously coloured flowers jostling for attention are stunning. I did smile at your description of Gaia before her 'nip and tuck'. =) Beautiful detail with all the pretty quilting. A most beautiful finish!

      1. Thanks so much Kim for your wonderful comment.

    6. Beautiful piece of art! Your Gaia is very pretty, and I love this 3D effect. Good to deal with what you think is a mistake, great result!

      1. Bonjour Frédérique. Thanks for your comment. It's really gratifying when a mistake is fixed or adapted to.

    7. My of My. How wonderful! A gorgeous array of fabrics and expertise.
      Truly a heirloom.

    8. Absolutely fabulous, a real work of art. Valerie

    9. Gaia looks fabulous! I love the three dimensional look; she really is walking in that beautiful garden of flowers!

    10. That is an amazing piece of art. I love the extras that you did - I think it makes it even a better piece. What Talent!!

    11. It is so wonderful that this beautiful artwork in now on display at the museum. Congratulations! I love how the quilting gave it depth and definition. Gaia and her garden are beautiful!

      Thank you so much for linking up this post on Wandering Camera.

      1. Hi Soma. Thanks for hosting. I enjoy your post and love to read the links when I can.

    12. Hello Andrée,

      What a fabulous garden! All that densely packed detail is amazing. Seeing the finished piece is just the shove I need to get on with my project.

      Unstuffing Gaia is hilarious. Was she annoyed that you had given her a fat neck? You did exactly what I would have done, find a way in through the back.

      Love, Muv

    13. Of course, all the imperfections are only glaring to you. The rest of us look at the whole piece and love it. Well done, beautiful!! And I'm glad you gave Gaia the trapunto treatment.

    14. Those are beautiful. Such lovely quilts x #wanderingcamera


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