Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Painting with fabric: the art quilts of Lenore Crawford

As part of our Color Series, we've been focusing on artists who inspire us with their use of color in design.  Lenore Crawford is an amazing artist who blends fabric and paints to create breathtaking pastoral scenes of elegant beauty.  These works are so painterly, we can't believe they're made with fabric!  Even better: many of Lenore's designs are available as patterns.  Join us as we take a virtual journey to the villages and fields of Europe, the setting for much of Lenore's award-winning work.

Window with Shutters pattern, 23 x 18, by Lenore Crawford

Here's a new pattern, a lovely window to the past, which is available for purchase at Lenore Crawfords's website. Since we've been talking about complementary colors, notice the beautiful green-and-red complementary color scheme in the geraniums. Lenore writes, "I have been wanting to create a pattern of architecture, especially with flower pots. This one was created on the lime green background fabric, then the detail and shadows were added with fabric paints." The texture in the fabric and paints gives a wonderful three dimensional quality to this art quilt.

One Poppy pattern, 13 x 18, by Lenore Crawford

With her paints and fabrics,  Lenore expertly creates texture and depth for her flowers to produce very sensory images. As viewers, we find ourselves wanting to reach out and touch this entrancing flower. A pattern for One Poppy is available at Lenore's patterns page.  "One Poppy" is a smaller version of her stunning Grand Poppy, a watercolor-style quilt which won the Viewer's Choice Award at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago in 2007.  You can see Grand Poppy and many other watercolor quilts at Lenore's gallery page.  Also, Lenore sells a CD-ROM on Impressionistic Fabric Blending, which provides a detailed description on how Lenore creates fabric blended art quilts.

Port of Cassis, by Lenore Crawford, winner of Outstanding Art Quilt at the 2011Road to California Show (see Road to California Win)

"Port of Cassis" is one of Lenore Crawford's latest show-stoppers. It's a stunning scene of a small village on the Mediterranean, close to the famous town of Monte Carlo, Monaco. In our opinion, one of the reasons this quilt is so eye-catching is that it is a study in contrasts. The crisp strong geometric lines of the houses and boats are reflected as languid,  shimmering shapes in the water, which are enhanced with quilting (click to see the detail). Also, note the very effective use of complementary colors. Rust tones and cinnamon red unite beautifully with the soft aqua blue sea tones, and the bright blue windows in the houses complement the orange buildings.

This scene is so romantic and intriguing that it is easy to see why it keeps winning awards at national and international shows:  in February 2011, "Port of Cassis" also won third place in the Innovative category at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival XXII and in November 2010 it won second place in the Art-Pictorial category at the 2010 IQA Festival in Houston.

Dogwood Blossoms pattern, 17 x 22, by Lenore Crawford

These giant flowers have texture that is so lifelike,  that they almost pop right off the quilt ! They remind us of exotic orchids that emerge from lush tropical greenery.This pattern could be seen as a monochromatic color scheme for the blossoms. In places, their neutral white color has been shaded to gray. This gorgeous pattern is formal enough that it could be displayed in any room in your home, with any decor. You can purchase the pattern at Lenore's website.

Also, please see Lenore Crawford's Workshops: Fusing and Fabric Painting to Create Realistic Fabric Art.

Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Lenore Crawford.


  1. It's unbelievably that these are quilts, I never saw such stunning quilts.....

  2. Fantástico! The Port of Cassis, eu olho e olho (aumentei a foto) e eu não posso acreditar que foi feito de tecido. Fantastic!

  3. Thank you both for your comments ! (Helo Zanardi from Brazil says: "The Port of Cassis, I look and look (enlarged the photo) and I cannot believe it was made with fabric." That was our reaction too !

  4. Very lovely! I especially like "Port of Cassis" and "Dogwood Blossoms".

  5. It is challenging to put my appreciation of these magnificent quilts into words, no less fabrics! Incredibly gorgeous and realistic!


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