This photo of our dad has always been a favourite in our family. It was taken in 1940, about a year before he married mom. He’s 29, posing proudly with his first car, a Plymouth sedan. I wanted to do something to honour my dad and decided to make an art quilt to remember him by.
Dad loved to drive. In fact, I was a married adult before I realized that some people just stayed in one place for a vacation. Dad earned his living as a truck driver and when he retired he bought an RV. He and mom travelled around North America. An art quilt featuring him with first vehicle seems fitting.
Before I could make the sketch I needed, I had to add the missing piece of the car. Luckily, my brother came across an image of a car like Dad’s and I could use it as a reference. Once the missing bit was added, I sketched it out, emphasizing the important lines I would use as my guides. A friend lent me her overhead projector to help me enlarge it. It worked well but I think next time I will use my laptop and projector- eliminating the need to create a transparency.
Once I transferred the sketch to a piece of 100% cotton, I took it to my sewing machine to “sketch” my drawing. I used a darning foot, dropped the feed dogs and had at it.
Now I had my “canvas” and started to paint it. We aren’t sure of the original colour but my brother and I both recall Dad mentioning dark blue. (That memory may be questionable but I preferred it for the final image and went with it.)
NOTE: This post contains links to some of the products I used in making this piece. I may receive commissions if you click the links and make a purchase. However, that did not influence my choices, which were personal and not necessarily meant as a recommendation.
I thought I’d be using strictly Pebeo’s Setacolor paints and Derwent’s Inktense pencils – both of which are permanent on fabric. I mixed paint to achieve the deep blue for the car but I quickly realized I couldn’t get the nuances of colour I wanted for the skin and suit.
I did some research and learned that by adding textile medium to some watercolour crayons I already owned,, I could use them. I had never done this and wondered just how permanent they would actually be. I held my breath when I washed the piece but they proved as colourfast as the everything else.
The last step was the quilting of the background. Using a Frixion erasable pen (best invention ever!) I drew in the lines for the buildings, working on perspective to give it depth.
I started to quilt with white thread because I wanted it subtle to keep the focus on Dad and his car. However, the white wasn’t working for me and I realised the colour of the pen was perfect so I “had” to make a trip to the fabric store to get a selection of gray threads. I made the switch and it was exactly what I wanted. (Glad I listened to the inner prompt.)
Finally, I created a border for it with a multi-shaded gray fabric my friend had in her stash because by then, we were locked down again for Covid reasons. I owe her big time because I wanted to get this in the mail. My brother is undergoing some health issues and I wanted to send Dad along look after him since I can’t get there until travel opens up again later this year.