Monday, May 9, 2016

Art with Fabric..."The Kiss"

Welcome to my stop on Alida's Art with Fabric blog hop!!!

I was delighted when Alida asked me to participate but also completely clueless as to what art masterpiece to try to re-create in fabric.  Little did I know that the piece I choose is considered to be of higher value to the art world than the Mona Lisa. I must have a good eye for art ... that I was totally unaware I had... "Unlike the Mona Lisa, which disappoints when you confront it and the crowds gathered around the salle in the Louvre that holds it, "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt surpasses expectations" writes, journalist Adrian Brijbassi.  At nearly 6 foot square and gilded in lots of gold leaf, it is easy to see how it's grand scale and beauty draw admirers to it's exhibit at The Belvedere Museum in Vienna, Austria. It's use of gold leaf depicted in a work of art featuring the earthly pleasures and sensuality were considered blasphemous and profane at the time it was created in 1907-1908, as gold should have been only used in religious depictions according to society at the time. Scandalous indeed.  Gustav Klimt never married and is said to have possibly fathered 14 children, so I am guessing he wasn't too overly concerned with what others thought of him. 

Gustav Klimt "The Kiss" [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons  

"The Kiss" may be a self-portrait of the artist himself but the woman is thought to be a few different women he knew.  Some believe it is Emilie Floge, a long-time partner and fashion designer Klimt had a long relationship with, others believe it may be Adele Bloch-Bauer, the wife of a sugar industrialist (and Klimt's lover) who he had painted another picture of earlier in the same year, still others think it is 'Red Hilda' a model Klimt had employed for some of his other paintings.  'The Kiss' was bought by the Belvedere Museum for 25,000 crowns (equal to about $240,000 today) before the piece was even done. But how could Klimt refuse to sell it when previously the highest amount paid for a piece of art in Austria was a mere 500 crowns. In 2006, Klimt's less renowned, Adele Bloch Bauer 1 sold for $135 million, which at the time, was "the highest sum ever paid for a painting" noted the New York Times at the time of it's sale.
While Klimt is noted for the saying---All Art is Erotic---I was immediately drawn to the Art Nouveau quality of this piece along with all it's wonderful geometric shapes not it's eroticism.  While not the most erotic piece of art I've seen I will admit all those triangles, rectangles and circles really got this quilter's heart all a flutter!!! They were just begging to be the subject of a quilted piece.  I also made an immediate connection between this piece and Kaffe Fassett fabrics I adore and that was where I started this for just the right stuff.  I also, love grunge fabrics, and for me all those brush stokes in the sky were just perfect for the grunge line of fabrics.

And below is my finished art piece rendition.  I cut it down to a nice rectangular shape as I prefer that shape on my walls.  My piece finished at 33 x 42 inches.

I started by drawing the piece out onto a couple of 18x24 inches of newsprint taped together with the help of a projector. I originally thought I would just fmq those swirls into the piece but instead free motion quilted the swirls into the background and put some matchstick quilting in area above her dress.  I really didn't want quilted swirls distracting from the gorgeous Kaffe fabrics.

Then I just began tracing each individual section onto another piece of paper and started paper piecing it, working my way across from left to right, with each of those smaller sections then joining together to make a piece of the puzzle come to life.  Below is a picture a little way over half way there.

This lower section of the piece took me one week of evenings after work each night.  Each night I did approximately a fifth of the distance and felt triumphant and overjoyed with the results.  But next up was just as much work with the undertaking of the flying geese sections. 16 sections to be exact.

I think if it were possible to count the pieces of fabric that I used in the making of this I would be in shock.

At this point, I took a week of vacation to try to finish this up.  I have never been a fan of raw edge applique but as this was going to be an art quilt --- that would hang on the wall --- it didn't bother me as much to use some steam-a-seam product since the added stiffness was going to be on the wall not to be cuddled under.  I ironed the pieces together on a white sheet of fabric that I put over my light box so I could get them all put in just the right places.  What I loved about this process was how quickly the piece really started to look fantastic!!!

Before long it looked like this.  I sewed the flower fabric onto the bottom of the flying geese and trimmed it to size. Both the flying geese and the lower yellow, black and white rectangle sections I glued onto the white background with a permanent no sew glue called Speed-Sew.  Where the yellow,black, white rectangles meet the flowers and curve, I was able to turn the fabric under and top stitch so I could eliminate the raw edges on the pieced section that would not have laid flat. I didn't want any seams in the brown background so I used a method that I have used in circles before involving flanges. I ironed on freezer paper on the back of the brown background in the shape I needed and then cut it out a generous half inch larger that I needed it.  Then with the freezer paper still attached I cut flanges into the fabric and spot glued the with an Elmer's glue stick onto the freezer paper. After working my way around the entire piece. the pulled out the freezer paper working it back into shape with my iron and then glued it to my piece around it.  In this manner I was able to create a turned edge applique shape out of my background.  I then just took it to my sewing machine and top stitched it down.

I didn't take a picture of this part of the process but the picture here shows what I am talking about with the flange process. You just need to pull out the freezer paper and flip it over and iron it back into shape and applique it into place.

After getting the background into place, I then free motion stitched around their hands and her feet and then added facial features. I have dabbled with sketch sewing before and although it still makes me nervous, I for one love what it adds to the artwork of the quilted piece.  I just use a very fine black thread by Madeira and go around the area to outline a couple times, sometimes three trips around gives me the look I want. I then used some Intense Ink pencils and some Staedtler Watercolor crayons to add some color to their facial features, even adding a little shading on her feet and arms.

While the flying geese in the green are paper pieced, I found it easier to just raw edge applique the triangles over the feet and in her dress.

I said yes to Alida's request to join this blog hop because 1. It was an honor to be asked and I appreciate her as a blogging friend and 2. I like pushing myself beyond what I think I am capable of from time to time.

Although making deadlines is not my favorite thing to do...the benefit to me so outweighed the inconvenience of time involved.  Not only did I end up with an outstanding piece of art, I gained much needed practice at applique, sketch sewing and it was my first time using my art ink pencils, too!!!  But best of all....I used my new Grace frame and stitch regulator for the first time since buying them last September.  I get bogged down sometimes by my own insecurities of not knowing what I am doing that I just don't try.  This frame and the stitch regulator cost me a pretty penny and it's just been sitting there.  I can't tell you how many times I had to watch You Tube videos just to figure out how to get the quilt on the frame and all the stress involved getting to get the tension set correctly on the Juki.  You can see in the left corner on the take up arm all the thread problems I had at the start, luckily I got them worked out and the system worked well and I think for a first time using this frame and regulator that I am tickled with the outcome.

Thank you so much Alida for giving me the opportunity to push myself past even what I thought my limits were and realizing I can do anything I set my mind to!!!  After conquering my fear of the quilting process it was time for adding the binding and embroidering some flowers in my lady's hair.

I love this white and black binding choice! It really complimented the white and black in the piece and added the perfect frame around it.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing my art rendition of Klimt's Kiss and are inspired to give creating your own masterpiece a try soon.

Please be sure to check out what all the others participants have been creating with this art with fabric assignment. I am sure you will be as blown away by their talent,skills and ingenuity as I have been.   Here is the list of fellow participants, please hop along with us and see what other masterpieces have been created in the process and how they did it.

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Friday, May 13th, 2016


  1. Wonderful. I used the same piece as my inspiration but I didn't get as far as you did!!!! Great job

  2. You managed to turn a sweet painting into a cozy quilt! It looks wonderful, and I love the little details you added, especially the flying geese.

  3. Kathy, so much detail in your piece. I really like your use of Kaffe fabrics and the piecing in the lowest part. No wonder it took so long. Good for you stepping out of your comfort zone. Congrats on a great piece.

  4. What a wonderful interpretation of a masterful piece of art. I really love your fabric choices and how the prints work so well to create the same feel as the art. The details of the piecing of two lovers (and especially the flying geese) are beautifully done. :)

  5. ahhhh you chose my favorite painter, in the world. Klimt. So quilt like in his details. So rich.
    I already interpreted his work in my other art group, making a female with 3-D mica chips in her headress. I would LOVE you to come see now that you've done one. The link is

    Your interpretation is astounding in detail. I just love what you made. Applause!!
    LeeAnna at not afraid of color

  6. I love Klimt and your interpretation is amazing! The fabrics are so well chosen. All those details! What a work!! What a great job!!

  7. I love Klimt and your interpretation is amazing! The fabrics are so well chosen. All those details! What a work!! What a great job!!

  8. Awesome piece of artwork! You did an excellent job in using all the different techniques. It's truly a masterpiece that you should be proud of.

  9. Amazing work! Your interpretation is really wonderful and you mastered all the skills you used to create it! I am happy that I encouraged you to push your boundaries and to challenge yourself with something that now you can enjoy! Thanks for participating in the hop and for sharing all the steps of the process!!

  10. Oh my goodness! This is absolutely wonderful! Beyond Awesome!

  11. Your piece is beyond beautiful! I love "The Kiss" as well although I don't think I would have tried to tackle it. Thanks for sharing your process. It was enlightening.

  12. Beautiful interpretation of the Kiss! Wonderful work!

  13. Ok, did you hear my jaw hit the floor? This is just spectacular. Oh the hours you have in it.

  14. Ok, did you hear my jaw hit the floor? This is just spectacular. Oh the hours you have in it.

  15. Wow! You did a fabulous job on this! A lot of work on your part but it is so worth it! I like your version better than his. Your background makes it pop and the quilting gives it so much texture. I think the museum should buy yours for $300.000.00


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