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SAQA at 20 – Bird of Paradise

This year marks the 20th anniversary of SAQA, the Studio Art Quilt Associates.  They put out a call for entries from members a while back for small pieces for a traveling show.  They will all be matted with an 8×8 opening, so finished size had to be 9×9 or a bit larger (with the excess hidden under the mat, and used for mounting).  Since I make TONS of thread changes in a piece, even one that small, I decided to make two almost the same, send one to SAQA and prepare the other for sale.  I did take a photo of the SAQA one, but managed to delete it accidentally, but here is a photo of the 9×9 piece I kept (which is nearly identical).

Bird of Paradise block

Bird of Paradise block

It is made from my hand-dyes, commercial batiks, thread, yarn (edge-finish), and prismacolor pencil (there wasn’t enough contrast between the “spear” of the flower and the background, so light green pencil to the rescue…I hope).

I wanted to try something for this that I had done on smaller pieces…mount it on a painted/mixed media canvas.  I had some teal cloth out on the work table, tossed the piece on it, and it looked great.  So I  used mat medium to adhere acid-free tissue paper to the canvas, then painted the canvas the same teal color.  Bleah. It definitely didn’t work the same way. I added some green.

Bird on Blue canvas

Bird on Blue canvas

Still needed more, so more paint to the rescue.  After checking with Frayed Edge Kathy D., we agreed it needed way more green.   In the end, it needed green and raw umber.  I painted the colors on, then swiped with a paper towel.

Here is the finished piece.  It will be for sale directly from  my website for a few weeks, then I’ll take it over to the Ducktrap Gallery that has my work here in Camden, Maine:

Bird of Paradise full shot

Bird of Paradise full shot

And here are two detail photos that show the texture of the canvas, which I rather like:


Bird, detail 2

Bird, detail 2

Amazing…. after two years working on the book and assorted family crises, I get to make art!  I’m looking forward to MORE!

9 Responses to “SAQA at 20 – Bird of Paradise”

  1. Jacquie Says:

    Gorgeous! And I really like the final painted mat — sort of marble-like.

    Another pattern in the making?

  2. Dale Anne Says:

    FABULOUS!!! I LOVE seeing all your quilting – must do more of that myself and it looks GOOD on the canvas.

  3. Barbara Says:

    Beautiful and your quilting adds so much. Hope to see it in person at a show.

  4. Debby, in NC Says:

    Ok, Queen of tutorials that I read and save to my computer! Please, with heaps of sugar on top, give us a step by step tutorial of the way you prepared the canvas (love love the texture!) and then how do you mount your quilt piece to the canvas, sew it on? I’ve heard of this and I’ve seen it on other websites, but I knew I could ask you something this simple… maybe a magazine article in it for you, because there are some of us out here who don’t actually know how this is done. We sew, but don’t have much experience with art canvas. Thanks for anything that you’re willing to share!

  5. Maggie in E. Central Illinois Says:

    Another super piece of art! Thanks for sharing your process!

  6. Valeri Says:

    Lovely piece of work. I actually preferred the darker blue canvas background as I felt it gave the piece more zing, but then we all view things differently!

  7. Loreen Leedy Says:

    This looks great mounted. I’ve mounted a couple of pieces flush to the edge of the stretcher bars, haven’t tried leaving a ”mat.“ (I’m too lazy to paint it, that’s the real story.) With either method, the firmness of the support gives a very nice effect, methinks.

  8. Judy Sall Says:

    Sarah, thanks for posting about mounting on canvas! I have been wanting to try this, and you have given me some great ideas! And I love your ‘Bird of Paradise’, one of my favorite flowers!

  9. Barb Says:

    What a beautiful piece. I just realized that one of the plants we have in our new house is a bird of paradise. Now if only it would bloom!