Monday, October 18, 2021

Black and White Show

The Southern Highland Craft Guild holds a themed show for members every two years. The theme of Black and White became this years choice with 70+ members participating. The guild is the home to many artists with wonderful artistic skills practiced in the Appalachia area; woodworking, jewelry, clay and fiber to name a few. 

I thought long and hard as to what I would create ......the choices and ideas were endless but eventually I settled on re-creating a ruin we happened on while in Ireland. This was on the Ring of Kerry.
One of the most refreshing things about this beautiful country is that ruins and the like are left alone...they are not demolished to make way for the new. The history of the land is allowed a peaceful demise in it's own time and way. 

To start this project, I first had to create a drawing to use as a reference/pattern. I needed a light table (which I don't have) so a make-shift one was put together. I pulled my tables apart and laid a piece of plexiglass over the open space and slipped a photographer's light underneath. I was able to really target the light to shine through the pattern where I was then able to trace onto my fabric.
I thought of incorporating overlapping circles but scrapped it quickly as it was too busy.
Next thing to do was to create fabric that resembled old bricks. I happened to have a stencil, mixed up several grays; white and black paint were also used.
Using a stencil brush, I was able to recreate an interesting brick wall.
I knew I wanted to use a sheer overlay to create dimension...Silk organza is always my fabric of choice for this. I painted it with Dye-na-Flow which is a very watery paint, leaving no hand (stiffness) on the fabric. I intentionally created lots of air bubbles which leave a wonderful mottled effect when dry.
I like the way it works with the ruin but it will also need a backing fabric, I decided on black.
I also wanted to add some kind of leaves, weeds, vines and a little experimenting. The rocks were created from pictures I had of taken in Ireland, I printed them out after cropping and enhancing in Photoshop. The leaves were replaced with vines.
Originally, I wanted pure black for the backing but fell in love with this black with gold looked like twinkling stars...perfect!
I wanted the finished piece to be 24" x 30" so I could wrap it on a pre-stretched canvas.
I have a set of 4 long and wide pieces of poster board. I can move them individually to change the size for framing or binding and also see the best area to use.
I marked the areas to quilt with chalk...since this part of the process can be very time consuming, I only wanted to quilt those areas that would show. I used a gold metallic thread that would 'hopefully' shine through the painted organza giving a nice effect.

Once the black backing fabric was quilted, the sheer overlay was laid on top and further quilted with a clear monofilament to hold it in place. The effect I was hoping to achieve, worked. The black fabric with metallic gold thread quilting did show through, along with the small flecks of gold in the fabric to make it look like a beautiful night sky.
I created some heavy vines and tall grass using thread and paint.
The moon was a white fabric, lightly mottled with a watery paint. The rocks which I created digitally were placed both behind the organza overlay and in front to give it further dimension.
And the finished piece...." 'Still Standing' - Ring of Kerry, Ireland" My husband made a black floating frame for it and it was photographed at the show which featured blue walls.

The show Black and White 4, will run through January 16, 2022 in the Folk Art Center's Main Gallery. The FAC is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, NC.


  1. Your step-by-step photos and text was such a helpful glimpse into your detailed world of creating art quilts. Always thoughtful, always visually interesting & skillfully constructed. I’ve seen this piece in progress and the completed version. As they often say…the photos don’t do it justice. That’s sure the case here. If you are anywhere in the area of the Folk Art Center….make it a point to visit this exhibit and see Judy’s masterpiece in person.

  2. All I can say is WOW! Love this.

  3. So generous of you to share your process in making this beautiful piece!