Magnolia: an Art Quilt

From ice dye to magnolia petals. The Grateful Dead's joyful song, "Sugar Magnolia" comes to mind: "blossoms blooming" and "Come on out singing." The magnolia has a sentimental association for me, linked to time and family. I just read that it is an ancient tree, appearing before there were any bees, and pollinated by a "wingless beetle." It evolved to be tough to protect it from the insects. Tough and lovely.

From petals to tabletop quilt: 32"w x 42"h (81 cm x 107 cm)

I could not have envisioned anything like this when I first dyed the cloth, but February arrived with the first blossoms, and I felt compelled to make a quilt to honor them. Would I paint on cloth? piece the petals? I couldn't decide, until I suddenly visualized the ice-dyed pink fabric. I wasn't entirely fond of it as a whole, but most painted things look respectable when cut into pieces.

I cut out a rectangle and adhered Heat 'N Bond to it, then cut out the shapes. Printed wood type via letterpress on white cotton. Machine-stitched and a little quilting on the petals in white, metallic copper, and dark pink. Hand-quilted with white sashiko thread and random running stitches. With some bits of white cotton velveteen from Dharma Trading around the edges. So this quilt is part pieced, part appliqué. Feeling much better about my binding and corners now.

When it gets warmer I will be interested to see how the white velveteen accepts the dye and variations I can explore.