It's a quilted wallhanging, about 26" x 36" Here's the center:
It all started because I have shelves full of beads, buttons, rocks, dice, Scooby-Doo figurines, marbles, poker chips, ice cream sticks, corks, beer caps, Scrabble tiles - you get the idea, the j-word. (junk.)
One of my favorite compartments is devoted to keys. Old keys are like old friends - I can't remember what they did, but I can't throw them away.
So one day I decided to trace some. I placed one on my sketch book, and then changed my mind and decided instead to lay them all out and take their picture.
So much character! So few memories! Mostly of unwheeled family suitcases!
I started thinking that I might print the photos directly onto fabric.
But then it came to me: I live in Southern California! I can sun print them! Sun printing is also called sun painting or heliographic art. Certain fabric paints - like Setacolor Transparent and Dy-Na-Flow - can be used to safely and easily print objects, The paints cost a few bucks more than craft store acrylics, but the special effects make them worth it.
Experiment #1: I painted a stretch of wet white muslin with a mixture of green Setacolor Transparent paints, and arranged the keys (and some wee padlocks) on top....
...Left it in the sun to dry, and voila!
In experiment #2, I laid the keys in a circle, smallest toward the center, on a Setacolor purple background:
I overpainted that with blue Dye-Na-Flow, and laid buttons in the spaces between the key shadows. Set that out in the sun:
Removed the buttons. Now the keys were light blue, and the button images were purple.
What's not to love? It looks like an explosion in my junk cabinet! Running with the explosive theme, I tested button clusters....
That earthy green-and-white key sun print above just didn't want to play nicely with the subtle center. Which led to experiment #3, sunprinting more small objects on fabric painted blue first, then green:
The fabric above became one border. I selected three more borders, all prints.
Once the quilt was constructed, I started stitching things down for good. I started with tiny lavender and white beads toward the center, then the buttons, then colorful small safety pins (just pinned on, no need to stitch). Further out, I stitched larger multi-hued glass beads, and the paper clips...
Above, in the lower right hand corner , I also threw in a white glass sneaker bead.
The sunprint border was quilted and embellished with hand running stitches and bugle beads.
For another border, I used this Japanese-ish chrysanthemum fabric from an old skirt:
I dressed it up with iridescent lime green beads in each flower's centers, plus vintage white buttons between motifs. (Too much is never enough!)
For a third border, I used an atomic fabric graciously gifted to me by the queen of All About Appliqué, (Thanks, Kay!) to which I added iridescent faceted beads....
Finally, to the fourth border, I stitched a variety of green bugle beads.
Two outer borders consist of fabric that looks like graphed data. I added plastic alphabet and question-mark beads. and silver glass beads.
For the outermost borders, I cut key fabric from an old shirt. I haven't embellished it at all (yet).
The finished quilt is at the top of this post.
Interested in trying sun painting? I buy my Setacolor Transparent and/or Dye-Na-Flow from two places. One, the Dick Blick store near me. If I'm too busy to go there (parking is a pain), I buy it online at Dharmatrading.com. [Update: I am told that Dharma is out of many Setacolor paints right now. Setacolor transparents are in stock at Dick Blick's online store; at Pro Chemical and Dye; and MisterArt.com. No financial affiliation.]
Explore other sun printing possibilities using Dharma's handy search window. Select "Browse by Technique," then click "Sun Painting," You'll find several different products.
PS Shared on Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday. Take a look to see many links to beautiful and interesting art quilts!