butterfly art quilt

Hey Everyone, welcome back to Story Time Monday.

A couple of years ago when we returned to Canada we were walking down the street and found this moth/butterfly on the road. It had gorgeous colourings and all 3 of took some photos of it. Mine were just the standard photo with no manipulation what so ever.

photo of butterfly on road

Original photo

My father-in-law decided to play with his photo in a program on his phone and see what he could come up with. This is what he produced. The butterfly had looked like it had blended into the pavement and was distorted like it was being reflected. Very cool and when I saw it I thought that would make a great quilt.

manipulated photo of butterfly

Manipulated photo

Fast forward to the beginning of 2013 when the theme for this years International Women’s Art Show was revealed and it was ‘Reflections’. Instantly I thought of the picture of the moth/butterfly and knew that would be my piece. Some people tell me it is a moth and others a butterfly so I am not really sure. Regardless it is very remarkable and unique.

I had a very busy winter and spring and thank goodness the art show was moved to June. I have to say I was certainly under the crunch to get this piece done but I did and I put in many a long hour to get it done.

To start I picked 2 fabrics to create the pavement as a mosaic – a background piece and a piece for the mosaic. The background fabric was a muddy black fabric and the fabric I used for the pavement pieces was a black/grey/white piece of stones. This fabric worked out perfect for this and the best part is I had it in my stash.

The top pieces of the pavement are sharped edged whereas the bottom pieces are rounded to mimic the elongation or distortion in a reflection. To learn more about how to make a mosaic check out my blog post on making a mosaic pattern. There are over 300 mosaic pieces in the quilt – thank goodness I didn’t have to stitch around each one individually to sew them down.

mosaic tiles being placed

Start of the mosaic section

The butterfly in real life had more muted colours and I decided I wanted my butterfly to be quite bright and not get lost in the pavement. I decided to use the complementary colours of turquoise and orange with some cream added in to highlight certain areas of the wings. I also gave it a body which the butterfly in the photo did not have.

The top wing is normal shaped and the bottom wing has been distorted so as to appear that it is being reflected into the wet pavement after the rain like a mirror. All the pieces were traced onto Lite steam-a-seam and then fused together in sections. Once the sections were made they were then placed onto the background and fused into place.

In order to get that look of distortion and reflection and I covered the whole piece with tulle. The top half of the piece is covered with a single layer of white tulle and the bottom with two layers of a silver/grey tulle. They were pinned in place overlapping slightly in the middle. The tulle also played a second role in covering the mosaic pieces so they didn’t each have to be individually stitched in place.

All the stitching on the butterfly is done with a tight free motion zigzag stitch. I used a rayon thread for this so that it would have some shine to it and stand out. Most of the thread is a couple of shades darker than the fabric so that there is some contrast between the two.

stitching on butterfly

Close up of stitching on butterfly

Upon completion of the stitching I took a look at the piece and thought it is all just blending together there is no definition of the top and bottom. To help with this I couched some yarn through the centre of the body and the pavement. This did the trick and added a line of distinction between the top and bottom.

photo of couching

Couching to create a line of distinction between top and bottom

Lastly I stitched the background with multiple threads. I did the top half first with straight lines that mimicked rain falling. I used grey and silver thread. Every few rows I added in some bobbin play with a 12 weight metallic thread called Razzle Dazzle.

close up of straight stitching

Straight line stitching on top section

The bottom of the quilt was quilt in the exact same manner only I used wavy lines to distort the straight lines from above in the reflection.

wavy stitching

Close up of wavy stitching on bottom

Finally, I finished it with a facing and added the hanging sleeves. Curious as to how to face a quilt? Then check out my blog post on how to face a quilt. It is a great way to finish off an art quilt without using binding. It is especially effective on quilts with no border.

The piece is 26″ x 37 ½″. I am afraid that the photo does not give a true representation of the reflection. Even in real life I find that I have to stand back a good 20 feet to get the full effect – some pieces of art are like that.

That’s the story on my Reflected Beauty Butterfly/Moth. Time to work on another art quilt.

Happy Quilting!

Jen Transparent Signature