Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thom's Global Warming Quilt - Finished!

Dees, over at Works In Progress, reminded me about my brother's quilt, Global Warming, which Thom started while visiting us last summer. I posted about Thom and his quilt here. Dees reminded me that I promised to show pictures of the finished quilt.

art quilt by Thom Atkins, Global Warming, anenome detail
art quilt by Thom Atkins, Global Warming, puff detail
Above are two reminders from the previous post. Thom fell in love with some turquoise disc beads and envisioned them as the centers of anemone-like sea creatures (top picture). From this thought, his idea for an under-water scene, one that suggests changes we may see with global warming, emerged. The puffs, a barnacle-like sea creature (second picture), came into the equasion because a friend had just shown him how to make these puff forms using polyester organza wrapped around pebbles and tossed into boiling water. The puffs and turquoise discs were the two starting points for this quilt.

After returning home (Santa Cruz, CA), Thom made a trip down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium where he photographed fish. He then printed the fish on fabric using one of the commercially-available products that can be run through an ink-jet printer (more on photo transfers below). This picture shows how he cut out the printed fish (pinned to design wall to left and right of quilt) and began sewing them to the quilt.

art quilt by Thom Atkins, Global Warming, fish detail
The finished quilt is 18 inches wide by 52 inches long. This is a size Thom has been exploring for a couple of years. I think he's working on another one as I write this and did others before Global Warming. It's a difficult size to photograph... long and narrow.

art quilt by Thom Atkins, Global Warming
When you click on the picture to enlarge it, you'll have to scroll down to see it all, which makes it difficult to appreciate the whole. Therefore, I have divided it into thirds and put all three pictures together here in this post.

art quilt by Thom Atkins, Global Warming, top detailart quilt by Thom Atkins, Global Warming, center detailart quilt by Thom Atkins, Global Warming, bottom detail
One interesting thing about Thom... he's more of a perfectionist than I am (although both of us share this trait to some extent). After he finished the quilt, he decided there were too many beads... that the top of the quilt was too heavy with beads. So he removed quite a lot of the water current beads from the top section. In case you're curious, here's how the top looked before removing the beads.

art quilt by Thom Atkins, Global Warming, top detail
I haven't seen Global Warming finished yet, but from his pictures, it seems mighty compelling! I love the texture and all the big and little elements in it. I'm willing to bet that when it's in a show, people will stand and look at it for a long time, perhaps pondering the significance of the message in it.

Transfer photos to fabric...

There are many ways to transfer your photos to fabric. I've tried a few of them, most recently in a quilt I'm making for my niece, Margaret. Surely, as I make progress on it, I'll post some pictures...

For Margaret's quilt, I used poplin cotton sheets and printed them with my inkjet printer. The brand I use is PhotoFabric, which I buy at Joann Fabrics in the craft department. I like it better than the kind available in the quilting supplies department. It's very easy to use... only four steps: print - peel away the paper backing - wash - iron. And you'll have permanent, washable pictures on fabric. The same company makes several types, including silk fabric sheets.

I believe the trick to really great photo transfers isn't in the fabric transfer product so much as in the quality of the image. Learning to work with Photoshop is a skill I've never regretted learning. It took time and patience, plus some books, a seminar and a class... but over and over again, I'm grateful for my acquired skills with this amazing photo editing program. Speaking of gratitude...

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Tomorrow is the day we set aside every year to be thankful. Generally we slip out of the thankful mode, except perhaps as we say grace before stuffing our bellies full of good food. This year, Robert and I decided to stay home and fix a very light and simple meal. All week I've been thinking about gratitude and fortune... particularly about how grateful I am for YOU... how special and important our blogging interactions are to me. Thank you! Have a beautiful day tomorrow and every day.


  1. Dear Robin,
    I am especially grateful for you and your generous sharing on your blog. At times, even including now, when art-making is difficult for me, your sharing of so much artistic beauty inspires me. I know that I will once again love creating, and learn to do it freely and without such loaded expectations. Until then, thank you so much for helping me stay connected to something very precious within.

    Have a lovely day tomorrow with your sweetie.

  2. I forgot to say how exquisite Thom's quilt is! Interesting to learn it all started with a bead and a polyester puff. I do like the removal of the extra beading - there's less competition with the barnacles and fish. Interesting viewpoint showing some creatures unphased and even thriving from global warming.

  3. i am just in complete and utter awe of thom's quilt! it has so many elements, yet it is not chaotic...everything is in perfect harmony. i just can't put into words everything i'm thinking when i see's just amazing.

  4. Very beautiful quilt

  5. Thom's quilt is amazing. I think it is very difficult to make something look watery but he has got it spot on.

    Your comment about people pondering the significance of the message made me smile as the fish looking at the 'No Fishing' sign appears to be doing just than :-)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. That's beautiful! I love the details of the puffs and anenomes. The overall shape is one that always appeals to me to. Thom, you do good work!

  7. Wow, that is amazing and beautiful!! I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving, too! :)

  8. Its hard to put into words just how beautiful and magical Thom's quilt is - thank you for sharing it. Also thank YOU for being there this past year as I've gone through my first year of encrusted beading - from the instructions I followed in your books to you ever informative blogs to your 'sponsoring' of the BJP - I say thank you Robin.

  9. Dear Robin,
    I feel honoured by you mentioning my blog at the top of your post!
    What a marvelous quilt it has become! I agree with coral-seas that Thom has succeeded in catching a dry spot in the midst of water! You'd just want to join the fish, or at least wiggle your toes in the pond...
    I am grateful for people like you and Thom, who share their artistic insights, ways and works with us your readers.
    Have a happy Thanksgiving.


  10. oooo my! gorgeous, lovely, stupendous quilt by Thom.

    Thank you, Robin, for everything!

  11. Everytime I see Thom's work, I'm in awe. There is so much detail in his quilts. You really have to study them to catch it all. I miss having him in the BJP. Is he going to join us in January?

    Robin, you are a blessing for all of us. The way you share your skills and insights, you touch so many people. You have been an inspiration to me and I'll never forget it.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. HAPPY THANKSGIVING, to you & yours, dear Robin!

    Today I have been thinking a lot about what I am grateful is a good enterprise to be engaged in every now & then and one I should do more often. One thing on my list is this: I am grateful for folks like you, and your bro Thom, who are walking on this planet creating, teaching, inspiring, and sharing your beautiful work. We are all the richer for it.

    Thom's finished quilt is SPLENDID! The colors themselves are so inviting I just want to slip into the briny brink with all those creatures and flipper around awhile. Thanks for posting the technical details as well - makes me view the piece in a different way when I know those fishies were photographed at the aquarium and those barnacles are organza-wrapped pebbles! Who knew?!! BRAVO!!!

  13. Another lovely post, and as one of your beadie friends, I'm thankful for your warmth and gentle encouragement. Not to mentio your being the leader of the Bead Journal Project. What a sharing and caring site for the soul and an ever evolving delight for the eyes.

    As for Thom, his piece is beautiful, topical and very though provoking. I'm sure that I'll be seeing it in some future tome.

    BTW, if anyone is interested in learning more about the different types of phototransfers, you might like to join the InkJetTransfer Yahoo group. Nice people, very knowlegeable and informative. Several well known authors are either list mom's or active participants. They don't just focus on fabric, but many of the techniques could be used for this.

  14. Anonymous4:22 PM

    I've loved Thom's quilt since your first post about it, and this follow-up is wonderful. As everyone has said, his work is incredible. I have a friend who will be in one of his classes in CA during the new year. I've sent her the link to this blog post, and I hope he takes this quilt to his classes so she can see it up close and personal.
    As for thankfulness, I am eternally grateful for discovering your work and improvisational beading. You have been an inspiration
    to me beyond measure. Thank you!

  15. Hi Robin.
    Thanks for sharing Thom's spectacular quilt! I am probably going to break my dryer now with my newfound fascination for wrapping stones in fabric and popping them in the machine!!!

    I am so grateful to know you all year long...It feels exciting to reconnect with my blogging community after a long journey! I even started a new beaded doll this weekend...I thought of you with many of the stitches.
    Blessings, Camilla

  16. Camilla, If you check Robin's original post, you'll notice that Thom actually wraps the stones and then boils them in water for 10 minutes. Please don't put them in your dryer, I'm thinking this might cause some damage. - Anne Marie

  17. I just have to say that everything on this blog is eye candy for the mind! Beautiful! And this quilt is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!