Monday, January 24, 2011

Maria Elkins Art Quilts

At Original Art Quilts by Maria Elkins, this gifted artist explains that more than half her fabric stash is blue and white. We imagine that this is true of many quilters, as there are so many different shades of blue ; and neutral white is such an important component of quilt backgrounds and foregrounds.

Teacup, 42 x 42  by Maria Elkins

We think that teacup quilt patterns are really adorable and so much fun, because they are a chance to get in touch with our "inner child" and hark back to our girlhood days of playing "tea party" with our dolls and stuffed animals clustered around us. The enchanting, highly original, "Teacup" quilt above was created by Maria Elkins in 2002, when her quilt guild challenged its members to create a quilt using only blue or white. In addition, there was one blue and white fabric which everyone had to use; and that is the fabric on the upper right and left hand corners of the quilt.

Maria explains at her website that she machine pieced the curves of the cup and saucer, then she used a print fabric of blue and white plates to cut out, fuse, and machine applique them.  They form a row of fanciful scallops around the perimeter of the plate. On fabric, she  hand painted the hepatica flowers and the water surface of the teacup, then she appliqued them to the cup and saucer, using rayon rattail cording for the centers of the flowers. She stenciled the scrollwork using Setacolor and Lumiere paints. This magnificent work was then quilted with metallic, rayon, and invisible threads.

Evening Star, 31 x 39",  by Maria Elkins

Evening Star looks exactly like a photo, but it is actually a "quilt within a quilt".  An outstanding example of Maria's portraiture quilts,  "Evening Star" was made in 2002 for a quilt show with the theme of  "Night Sky" in Dayton, Ohio. As explained in Maria's blog, it depicts Maria's oldest daughter pointing  out a constellation to her sister, while both are wrapped in a lovely Amish star quilts. Maria created the girls' hair and sweater by using Tsukineko colored inks on commerically printed fabrics. She quilted their hair with rayon and mettalic threads. To create the star quilt, she fused multiple fabrics onto a single piece of fabric, which is the sashing between the stars.  She also quilted the sky with black metallic thread.  As a dazzling finishing touch, Maria attached small rhinestones to create the sparkling stars of the sky. 
In addition to creating her unique, innovative, quilts, Maria also gives lectures and presentations. She is also the author and producer of a wonderful DVD,  Making Faces, available at the Interweave Store (also, check out the Interweave coupon page).  In this workshop, Maria, teaches how to edit and embellish  your photos with computer software to create fashion portraits with fused applique. She then explains how to use a photo to draw faces on fabric with colored pencils, pens, fabric paints, or inks.

Image credits:  The quilt images are the copyright of Maria Elkins and are shown with the generous permission of the artist.

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