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What Do You See Here?

Frequently, I don’t understand what is going on inside of me until whatever it is comes out in art. A few months back, I started playing with thumbnail quilts to try out some new-to-me techniques. From there, I decided I wanted to make a Tree of Life quilt. I used water color pencils,  paint sticks, and assorted threads. I’ve been working on this quilt – which is actually a study for the final quilt – on and off for a few months. Yesterday, I was working on the veins in the leaves and suddenly realized I needed to put something of me into the quilt.

I know what I’m trying to say with this quilt, but I don’t know if I’m saying it. Please look at the photos (this is still a work in progress) and let me know what it is you see in the quilt.


Yes, I need to make myself a design board so I can take photos easier. It’s on the list of things to do. I also need to figure out how I want to quilt this piece. Quilting will be done by machine, but I haven’t decided what the quilting will look like.


Leaves done with paint sticks. I like the effect, but the oil in the paint stick tends to bleed and the paints are NEVER absolutely set. I ironed these. Twice. I waited several weeks. I still got paint on my hands while doing the embroidery.


I used watercolor pencils for these leaves. I like the effect, but I don’t like all the uncontrolled bleeding. For the final quilt, I’m going to be using a sheer fabric and making appliquéd leaves.


This is what came out of my head yesterday.

So… what do you see when you look at the quilt? Many thanks.

I’m linking up with Nina Marie. See what she’s been up to and check out the others who link with her blog. There are some wonderful inspirations there. Click here.


I retired from the Public Defender Dept. November 12, 2015 after 16 health destroying years. Now, I'm a full time multi-media artist and writer on a new adventure. As an artist, I create with beads, fabric, fiber, and ceramic clay. Sometimes separately; sometimes in assorted combinations. You can find my on-line store at:

8 thoughts on “What Do You See Here?

  1. If you have a “goddess sheet” for fusing and MistyFuse, you can create fusible leaves for your work…and then stitch or not stitch, by hand or by machine, as you wish…It will more with a little care.


  2. Love, love the metallic work on the leaves. Reminds me of how fall colors seem to sparkle in the sunlight. I would do more leaves – lots of them. As for the quilting part, maybe for more movement, follow your major shapes in repetitive fashion? Great start!


  3. Your tree says depression to me, the drooping branches and the leaves on the ground. The Trees of Life I have seen from India, Persia and even modern ones, have all been vibrant reaching for the sky. Perhaps you intended a Tree of Sorrow – if so, brilliant.


  4. Hi Deb! I think what you might add is depth/perspective. It might be that your quilting decisions will provide it. From 2D to 3D. I dont know if you intended it, but there is a kind of humility, or resignation, implied by the structure of the bottom of the tree and accentuated by the leaves either hanging down or on the ground. That is what speaks to me the most. My Freudian side says the shapes under the tree are humus, and the whole a result of your acceptance of the cycles of life. I dont mind being wrong.


  5. Deb, I love all the different techniques that you are experimenting with. I’m not sure what your question refers to, but To me, your tree depicts the other side of life – a life that has been well lived, but is winding down. Remember that is my interpretation, not necessarily what your feelings are.


  6. To be honest, my emotional reaction is sadness. Though the leaves are all pretty colors and the beads are sparkly, the branches are all drooping and the leaves all hanging down, already on the ground, or headed in that direction. Were you asking for advice about technical issues or for this kind of feedback? With the watercolor leaves, if you paint them first, then outline them the bleeding will still be uncontrolled but you can disguise it better!


    1. The following popped into my head as a title: Fall Beginnings, sort of an ironic antithesis. ‘Fall’ as in autumn which indicates dyeing but as I added ‘Beginnings’ also leading toward renewal since the leaves are bright, or even hope. So ‘undecided’ – beginning anew or ending? Art should be ‘thoughtful’ not just pretty, also allow the viewer some input IMO of course.


  7. Deb. I like it. The idea of appliqué on a shear fabric is good, makes me think of weak winter sun or fog. The watercolor effect goes with our wet weather. I’d look for it in fabric.
    Seola Creek


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