Saturday, November 7, 2009

Flowers for a Cure: Linda Cooper

Linda Cooper continues to use her art for good and as you can see from this guest blog, she puts her imagination, varied techniques and all around best efforts into each quilt. Her Flowers for a Cure certainly reflects her talent and eye for beauty. It's so good to have Linda back as a guest blogger. Check out her Kinetic quilts guest blog, too -- Dawn

My art quilt teacher, Cyndi Souder  returned from the Houston Quilt show in 08 armed with a challenge for her students and a large box full of bridal gown fabrics. She had talked at the show with LaNelle Heron, a representative of the Making Memories Foundation which raises money for breast cancer patients by selling donated wedding dresses.

They were interested in having quilts made from pieces of the gowns no longer wearable. Karey Bresenhan, Director of the International Quilt Festival, (Quilts ) had offered display space for some of the quilts to be hung in the 09 show.

The quilts could be made of the recycled fabrics or any wedding-dress type fabric. I added to those materials by raiding the remnant bins and tables for more white fabric: satins, sheers, metallics, silks and polys. I decided to experiment with Setacolor and painted selections of all the remnants. They painted beautifully! (see photo) I used a technique I learned from Phil Beaver.

My initial design was going to be a stained glass window from Messiah UMC Church in Springfield, VA, (shown here) with an adjacent vase of flowers. I wanted the window in perspective.

The problem when I enlarged my initial drawing was that when I observed the drawing from the one side, it looked correct, but from the other side, the perspective was all wonky. Ironically, the Washington Post ran an article that week about Master's Paintings with the same problem.

Those paintings only looked correct if the viewer was at the observation post of the painter. My solution was to add a second window on the other side, making a bay window.

I transferred my window patterns onto muslin and used that foundation to stablize the slippery fabrics. The window mullions are made from purchased gold bias binding which I fused in place. I used a narrow zigzag stitch to attach pieces to the muslin to prevent the fabrics from slipping out or ravelling. Often I glue-basted the edges to keep them in place for sewing. I replaced the window inserts with the breast cancer pink ribbons.

To make the background of the center window, I fastened a large piece of fabric to wooden canvas stretchers and I painted that in an ombre style. I mixed a small amount of teal paint with water and after each stroke across the fabric, I added another tablespoon of water, giving me the paint dilution.

I used images for flowers either grown by my son and daughter-in-law (Matt and Jennifer's photos shown here) or from copyright-free images I found on the net. I enlarged the color images, printed them, and laid a piece of vinyl over them to trace with a large marker. Then, using a light box, I laid sateen fabric (which I stablilized with freezer paper) over the vinyl and transferred the outline. I painted the flowers with Tsukineko Inks and Fabrico Markers. (photo of flowers and vase before quilting)

Then I finally appliqued them by machine using variegated threads and my own raw-edge Broderie Perse method.

I had to eliminate my initial vase (which I loved) because it didn't look strong enough not to tip in the real world. My friend, shop owner Judy Gula (, is always encouraging me to bead and the flowers looked much better when I followed her advice.

I was happy to donate this quilt to Making Memories. I've known so many people whose lives have been affected by breast cancer. The windows are a memorial to them and the flowers are a tribute to the researchers and health-care givers who are working hard to fight the disease.

The size of Flowers for the Cure is 63x 45 inches. (Photo: Close up of beaded flowers)

BIO:  Linda's family has endured her quilting obsession for the past 20 years. Linda loves all aspects of the quilt world but has gravitated to art quilting in the past few years. She teaches fabric painting, raw-edge appliqué, and other classes at Artistic Artifacts Annex in Alexandria, VA. She is also available for lectures, workshops and commission work.

Her Flowers for a Cure was in the IAQ 2009 Quilt Festival's special exhibit: Making Memories. Her Fading Memories quilt with hand painted background is currently on tour with Ami Simm's Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative traveling exhibit. See more of Linda's work in her Subversive Stitchers guest blog featuring her kinetic quilts.


Laura Krasinski said...

Great story.. love the flowers... I would love to come to Judy's store and take a fabric painting class or just to visit..

Elizabeth said...

Linda is absolutely one of the nicest most talented giving people you could ever hope to meet, and I am lucky enough to know her and somehow I am going to get into one of her classes soon!! We cross paths often but are rarely in the same place a the same time. She is one busy lady and passionate about fabric and paint!!
Thank you Dawn for having her back for a return engagement with SS!

Anonymous said...

I probably should know all of the people in this picture but do not.
The woman on the left of the picture
is the former Governor General of Canada (the Queen's representative)
Adrienne Clarkson and this was a serious charity affair for Breast Cancer.

Marilyn said...

I notice your picture of the boob scarf. This was a serious undertaking for Breast Cancer donations. I should know all of the people in the picture but do not.
The woman on the left is actually the past Governor General of Canada
(the Queen's representative in Canada) Adrienne Clarkson

Kay said...

This is a lovely, lovely quilt. The background fabric sets of the flowers perfectly.

Linda Cooper said...

Thank you, Dawn, for inviting me to post and for making it look so beautiful! And thank you all for the wonderful comments.