Exploring Skies

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

My current interest in a series of art quilts on seas and coastlines has created an opportunity to play a bit with skies.

I have been dyeing cloth to create different moods of skies. If you remember, my last art quilt ,which I have decided to call After the Storm, used some cloth I dyed in Elizabeth Barton’s class earlier this year to portray that sky.


                                                    After the Storm

For this latest dyeing adventure, I worked from the formula I used in Elizabeth’s class. For one piece, I overdyed a blue with a black (upper piece) and then reversed the process to overdye black with blue (lower piece).


My next step will be to play with ‘cooling down’ the blue by adding a touch of green.

While I was working through that dyeing process, I also continued to assemble the pieces for the art quilt that I mentioned in this blog back in April, based on Kerstin Hellman’s photo of  the Irish coastline. What I have  decided is to create two separate art quilts from Kerstin’s photo as the sky and most distant rock formation in my ‘draft’ totally captivated my attention.


Initial work

Version 2

Focus of first of two art quilts

This week’s project then was to develop that first piece. Using another piece of fabric from Elizabeth’s class for that sky, part of my process this week was to sample quilting for the sky. I created a mini-landscape to test out quilting for the rocks, sea, and sky.


I wasn’t satisfied with the quilting technique for the sky in the mini.  So I tried an echo technique similar to what I used in After the Storm to highlight the branches against that sky.


Using that approach to highlight the ‘storm clouds’ in the sky felt much better in the sample so it is what I used for my actual piece which is now in process.


I think you will agree that the echo quilting was the way to go!

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday so please check out what other artists have been up to this week.




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  1. Carol McDowell says

    Oh my goodness! That sky and water is wonderful! Gives me that melancholy feeling at the beach on a stormy cloudy day. Very inspirational. Interesting how you echoed the sky clouds – I like it. I do a lot of skies myself and may try that sometime. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Just beautiful how it’s turned out! Thank you for sharing your process, too. I’ve learned a bit of something to try myself, and have to say I love Elizabeth Barton’s work, too.

  3. Love the way you are working out that piece, Judy. The colour in the sky is terrific!

  4. I just love those dyed cloths. And you’ve used them perfectly. It’s funny how you and I are following similar paths of study with dyeing and hand stitching, but with different teachers. I’ve got Jane Dunnewold for dyeing and Jude Hill for stitching and you’ve got Elizabeth Barton and Karen Ruane.

  5. Judy, what fabulous work! Love it all!

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