Monday, August 4, 2014

The Bean Quilt

original rough drawing on overhead plastic
The Bean Quilt was made for a joint challenge with the Chicago Modern Quilt guild and the Naperville Modern Quilt guild for a show at the International Quilt Festival in Rosemont, IL this June.  The theme was "modern in the city".  The first thing I thought of was the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millenium Park.  There are many modern art pieces in downtown Chicago, but "the bean" is probably the most well known and visited.
rough paper template
I created the template using photos I had taken of the sculpture and lots of online pics.  The challenge for me in creating this quilt was the curved piecing on the bean and the quilting to reflect the distorted image of the surrounding landscape.  I had originally planned to use a piece of shiny silver lame' fabric to create the bean, but in looking at all the photos, I realized you never really see that silvery surface - you only see the reflection of the surrounding landscape.

Quilting the Bean
I used as many repurposed/upcycled fabrics as I could - men's dress shirts, upholstery remnants, and some Marimekko scraps from my days at Crate & Barrel.  The remaining fabric was mostly Kona cotton solids with a tiny piece of commercial printed fabric for the green light on the top of one of the buildings.
Background pinned and ready for quilting!
I quilted using sketchy black lines to imitate the original drawing I had made.  I liked the loose artsy feel of the messy line over line stitching. 

adding borders

quilting detail on building
quilting detail on bean
I ended up doing some hand quilting on the blue background at the last minute which isn't shown in these pictures.  This quilt is now going to be on display with other modern quilts in the Healing Arts program at the University of Chicago Hospital for a few months.  I'm super excited to have some of my quilts out there for the world to see!