My underwater fantasy art quilts are created on a table rather than on a design wall. I call it the fabric layering technique. I create a scene and then cover it with tulle netting and free motion quilt the three layers(back, batting,top) together.
I begin by choosing the top fabric. I prefer to choose a fabric with some dimension already on it, light and dark spaces. If I choose a dark background, then I will choose lighter colored materials for my plants, fish, rocks and other items . If I choose a lighter background, then I will choose darker colored scenery.
Step 1 -The back fabric is flat on the table. A piece of batting is laid on top of that. You can see the white batting hanging a bit over the edge. Then I laid a piece of moddled commercial fabric on top. The piece is about 14″ by 14″. I let the fabric’s different shades of coloring do part of the work in creating interest and depth in the piece. I lightly baste the layers together with an Avery glue stick.
Step 2-For this piece, I cut out light colored rocks and placed them in the foreground. I cut out irregularly shaped dots of different colored batik fabric for the jellies(formerly called jelly fish). I place the jellies as if they are swimming in the current.
Step 3- Next, I cut out plants and place them between the rocks. I add decorative threads for the tenacles of the jellies being aware of the movement of the water. When everything is in its place,I baste the pieces in place with a light dab of glue.
Step 4-I cover the scene with tulle netting and pin the tulle in place.
Step 5- I free motion quilt the three layers together. I lower the feed dogs on my machine to allow me to move the piece however I want. The quilting creates another level of movement.
Step 6-I finish the piece by zigzagging the edges twice. For larger pieces, I often attach a facing and turn it to the back and stitch by hand.
Here is a photo of the back of the piece where you can see the machine stitching easier.