November 1, 2014

Final Four-in-Art Mini; Lights

It's time for the reveal of our final Four-in-Art mini quilt for this year. The yearly theme was Urban and the topic for the last quilt was Light. Our previous topics have been; Maps, Structures, Landmarks, and Contrast. See the end of this post for a recap of all my Four-in-Art quilts.

Light seemed like a nice way to finish off the year because 'I saw the light' several times throughout my year long journey with the group. More on that later. I knew right away what I wanted to depict for light. I grew up in northern Indiana where the landscape is flat and the view restricted. There are very few high vantage points from which to see off into the distance. Gray skies and a relatively short, close-in perspective of the horizon make it feel is if you are living under a dome.

When I traveled west for the first time, I was quite struck by the sweeping views, the expansive skies and especially the dark silhouettes of the mountains with the lights of the city in the foreground. There are so many high vantage points where you can see for miles and miles . . . no gray domes here. This view of dark mountains silhouetted against the twilight sky with twinkling city lights stretching out for miles has become one of my favorite images of living in the west. So this is what my mini depicts.

I decided to approach this mini a little differently than I have the others. I have long admired the artists who manage to create small works of art in a short amount of time with materials on hand as a form of daily creative excercise. This improvisational, quick approach is so not me, but that's what I tried here. No pre-plan (very hard for me). No computer designing at all (also very hard for me). No drawing anything out . . . well almost no drawing. Just an kernel of an idea.

I raided my stash and found this bit of batik from who knows when and why. Perfect to depict city lights. A few solid blues and some fusible and I was ready to begin.

As usual, I didn't remember to take process photos as I went along but it went something like this. I fused a foreground and sky fabric to my base of fusible fleece. Added a couple of mountain shapes using Wonder Under. Added a few more foreground foothills and then the batik fabric to depict the city lights. No fussing about the shapes. No elaborate templates. Just simple cutting and fusing. I like it!

The final step to complete the top was to enhance the lights. For this I raided my scrapbooking supplies for blue markers and a little fabric paint. A touch of marker here and there to dim down the "lights" and a touch of fabric paint here and there to create brighter clusters of lights and my mini was done. Well almost done.

The quilting was simple and fast. A few wandering lines to create layers to the landscape. A few cloud outlines to evoke a bit of sky and I called it done. For finishing I thought of doing a facing so the edges would just disappear but in the end went with a simple binding. I did use two colors of blue to match the sky and the ground.

And there you have it. Not nearly as fast as the daily exercises of some artists, but faster than my usual by far. Yea!!! Writing this post is taking nearly as long. I'm pleased with the results and happy to reveal my final Four-in-Art mini . . . "Twilight in Colorado"

What would I do differently? Well, overall not much. I used three shades of blue and would have liked a slightly darker blue for the mountains to give them an even deeper, more foreboding and looming impression. That's how the mountains feel to me when they are silhouetted against the evening sky. Dark and mysterious. I might have cut a few more organic lines instead of the straight edges I used. The biggest thing might be to have used a different format. I think a long horizontal would have really enhanced the whole concept of the vast expansive views I so like. Overall the whole idea feel into place much as I had imagined and I'm quite pleased with my final quilt.

Here's a recap of all the previous minis I've made during this little quilting adventure.

#1  Maps, my hometown in Indiana.

#2  Structures, highway overpasses.

#3  Landmarks, the Flatirons of Boulder, CO

#4  Contrast, city vs nature.

In closing, I'd like to say I joined this small group as a means of jump starting my desire to explore making art quilts. It was appealing to think of finally making art quilts after only dreaming of making them and the small size made it all seem quite doable. It turned out to be both a very good challenge and doable too. However, I learned over the course of the year that making art quilts isn't really my passion. At least not at this time and perhaps not with specific themes attached. In the future I might return to exploring smaller art quilts but I think they will be on a more abstract, less thematic, basis. I enjoyed the year and am much better off for the experience. But I also came to realize my real passion is designing quilts and developing them into patterns, so I have decided not to continue with Four-in-Art next year. It was a hard decision because I value the friendships and connections that were made. I will look forward to following along throughout next year to keep up with what everyone does. Thank you Four-in-Art members for all the wonderful inspiration you and your minis have given me. Keep up the great work.

Thanks for following along on my journey into the world of art quilts. All the more power to those of you who truly excel in this area of quilting. Please take a look at how the topic of Light was interpreted by all the other talented Four-in-Art quilters.

Amanda at
Betty on her Flickr site:
Elizabeth at