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


  1. oh I love hearing you tell about the making of this quilt! And what a great finish. I would have been so hesitant to haul out the fabric paint, but your decision just made the quilt. Thanks for showing us all your quilts from the year - I've really enjoyed watching your group create.

  2. I think this is probably my favorite of the bunch. I can totally identify with how hard it is to let go and make something without planning. My favorite part might just be the clouds. Its been great to have you as a part of the group this year.

  3. Anne, I just love "Twilight in Colorado" - a perfect note to leave on and yet another sample of your talent. The design is simple, yet it totally represents the theme of "Light". I've enjoyed your participation in our group and look forward to seeing new creations as you move forward with pattern design!

  4. You perfectly captured the twilight silhouette of the mountains. I'm happy you chose to live here so I could grow up under their shadow. I love to see the scattered night lights and see how and where "civilization" is, and the looming flatirons rising over them. They have always been an anchor to me. I'm glad you explored making art quilts and it will make you more fearless to approach your own art quilt themes in the future <3

  5. I love your interpretation of "light' Anne! Those dots certainly remind me of night time scenes, even here in Australia where we really don't have high mountains! But we do have twinkling lights! Your whole series are wonderful- I love seeing them all together!

  6. This is a brilliant little quilt, with the right amount of dusky mountain ranges and a perfect amount of lights glittering far off on the city. I enjoyed reading about your technique and your journey; even without the photos it is still insightful. And yes, I've enjoyed working with you in Four-in-Art this year. Your quilts are all masterpieces and I'm forever envious -- and admiring -- of your talent.

    See you soon in Austin!
    :) Elizabeth

  7. Beautiful interpretation of the theme!

  8. I agree with Elizabeth, this is a brilliant quilt. Beautifully designed and made!

  9. Anne, this is a great little quilt and so effective in portraying the theme. I enjoyed your narrative, too. Thanks for showing all of your awesome are so talented!

  10. Anne, You did a wonderful piece. City lights, tiny when seen from afar, but numerous! I have heard of using paints, markers, etc. to bring something to, or take away, from fabric. In your piece it made it much more realistic. The quilting is lovely. Thank you for sharing your process with us. Happy quilting to you.

  11. Twilight in Colorado... just perfect. The way you used that dot to convey pinpoints of light make it just perfect. And the touch of white quilting for the clouds is the chocolate shavings on the cake! You have such a nice group of quilts here. I hope you have a special spot where you can hang them all together.


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