Monday, November 8, 2010

Fabric Portrait Quilts: some references and ideas

     I wrote on October 26, about a portrait fabric workshop I took with Esterita Austin. I thought I would pass on some book titles I have found since then that might be helpful using fabric and soft textile paint (So Soft, Jacquard).
     In the past, when painting oil portraits, if something did not look right, and I had a photo, I would scan it into the computer and use a filter in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to get a fresh look at what was wrong. The Cut-Out filter or the Posterizing filter were amazingly helpful to find the needed emphasis.
     Now I am thinking about making a small wall portrait quilt for someone's gift from fabric rather than oil paint. One idea is to take a photo, remove the color and use a filter. You would outline the shapes on freezer paper, cut out each shape as a template for fabric, cut fabric in one of the 5 values from white to grays to black, fuse each piece w an iron to a background fabric and layer the finished piece to batting and a backside fabric...finishing the edges and quilting as inspired. Susan suggested I use this photo of Beth and the girls. Click to enlarge.
cut-out filter

color removed

Photo-Inspired Art Quilts: From Composition to Finished Piece by Leni Levenson Wiener
Portraits for Fabric Lovers by Marilyn Belford
Work in Fabric & Thread by Deidre Scherer
Portrait Quilts: Painted Faces You Can Do by Bonnie Lyn McCaffery 
and thanks to Sharon (in comments): Quilting Arts Workshop Making Faces: Beginning and Advanced Portraits  (DVD) by Maria Elkins


  1. Fascinating. They will love having this quilt made BY YOU.

  2. Linda:
    I am a friend of Rosemary in California.
    I learned the same technique from Maria Elkins on a Quilting Arts Workshop DVD. A lot of fun with good results. I can send you photos of two examples if you are interested. One is quilted, the other is still in progress.
    Sharon Hightower

  3. Fantastic picture. Where was it taken? Are you going to make this picture into a quilt, or are you just using it as an example?

  4. As you can tell, I sent your blog post info to Sharon for her to read/see. How neat that she responded! She's a talented quilt artist and superb knitter. I love your picture of Beth & the girls. Can't wait to see what you will do.

  5. Sharon, I followed your lead to Maria Elkins. I would love to see photos of what you have done! Thank you!

  6. After seeing many lovely portrait quilts at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, I am excited about your enthusiasm about making such a quilt! YOU are the perfect one to do these, with your knowledge and background and expertise in painting! I'd love to try, and someday I will, but my learning curve would be so much steeper than yours. Go for it, and this photo would be the perfect one.