Shielding Children

Shielding our Children Part 2

In my last blog post, I started explaining how my art piece about the instinct to protect our children came to life. In that post, you can read all about the inspiration and how I created the quilt with layers of black tulle that include words representing the things we want to shield our kids from. What I didn’t explain in that post was the creation of the figures that represent our family.

Just like in the Web of Guilt piece, I wanted to create three-dimensional figures for this piece that would huddle together in the bottom right. I started with photos of everyone in our family and tried to get the relative heights right in Photoshop. Then, I traced us onto tracing paper. Those outlines were put on two layers of purple batik and I sewed on the line, leaving a small hole for turning.

16 traced people 17 sew figure

Once the outlines were done, I used Fray Block to make sure the edges didn’t fray and cut the figures out with a very small seam allowance.

18 Paper off 19 Fray Block 20 Cut Figure

Then it was time to turn the people right side out and stuff them with pipe cleaners and stuffing.

21 Turn Figure 23 Pipe Cleaner 25 Stuff Figure

Once the people were stuffed, I realized that I should have used purple thread instead of the white that was in the machine. But a little purple fabric marker helped fix that mistake. And I used purple to hand stitch the hole used for turning and stuffing. At least I learn from my mistakes!

62 White stitching on person 63 Purple fabric marker 67 Hand stitch person hole

At first, I had made all the figures out of the same purple fabric, but when I put the daughter in the mother’s lap (below left), they blended together too much and it was hard to see the two separate people. So I went back and tried another child in a different fabric (below right). This worked better, but it also meant I needed four different purple batiks, which was harder to find than I thought it would be. After looking at three different fabric shops and raiding my mother’s fabric stash, I had four that worked well enough together and I made new people with the new fabric.

28 Figures Same Fabric 29 Figures Different Fabric 56 New People

When I put the four people on the quilt with pins, the mom seemed a little too bright for the piece (below left), so I went back to the purple fabrics and chose a darker one and made another mom for the piece (below right).

65 Family Bright Mom 70 Dark Mom

Once I had the right four people (and the extras that my daughter likes to play with when she comes into the studio), I arranged them huddled together in the white space of the quilt where the darkness cannot reach them and hand stitched them in place.

71 sew family together 72 sew family to quilt

And the piece was done! Except for a title. I’m still struggling with a title. Do you like “Shielding our Children” or “The Protective Instinct”?

73 Done Side View 74 Protection

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