Allow me to share with you an extraordinary attainment by a very modest woman named Bonnie B. Barbera who is a quilter. She makes bed quilts and everyday items from leftover pieces of material. These same leftover tiny pieces of fabric also become her palette for the creation of her Art Quilts. From “scraps” of material, that you and I would throw away, Bonnie creates art masterpieces.
These beautiful art quilts start with saving and maintaining a fabric stash. I saw multiple colors stored in bins, all from scraps of material. I was impressed. When I asked Bonnie about the task to collect and sort, Bonnie’s answer was a modest one.
“A fabric ‘stash’ is a practice that is certainly common for many, many, quilters. Patchwork quilts have been made for hundreds of years out of saved scraps. As you can see, I store each color range in separate bins.”
Sustainable Living circled in my head as I viewed this amazing artist’s studio where she worked. I then asked Bonnie about the art quilts she was currently working on and she explained by saying, “The art quilts that I’ve done incorporate fabric collage, raw edge appliqué and free-motion quilting. I use bits and scraps of cotton, denim, silk and other fabric blends that I have saved from all of my more utilitarian quilt projects over the last 9 years. I try very hard not to purchase any new fabrics (with the exception of small amounts of white muslin when I absolutely need pure white). I always try very hard to make what I have on hand work. If I can't find the color I need in my stash, I'll take two or more scraps that once combined, will produce the color effect that I seek.”
“A quilt has thee layers - Top, Batting and Bottom. The part that is shown pinned together is the top layer. After I pin the image, I sew down all of the tiny pieces on the sewing machine to secure them. That is not the only time I sew the image. I then ‘sandwich’ the top with two layers of batting beneath that, and a backing layer of cotton for the bottom layer. Once that sandwich is pinned securely, I then machine-quilt through all of the layers in a way that enhances the depth of the piece and provides texture where I want it. Finally the quilt edges are bound.”
For more of Bonnie’s work, she can be reached at her Instagram Link:
Merry Christmas everyone!
Bill Lauto, at GoingTrueGreen.com
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
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