The Fox Prince of Prince Edward Island

After I finished Nigel You Never Knew Her, I was looking for a new subject for fabric collage. My friend, Charles Williams, shared an article he wrote for the Enterprise Pursuits magazine about Prince Edward Island. One of his pictures was of a magnificent red fox.

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Charles said the fox and he “bonded” – or at least the fox wasn’t shy about being photographed. He took quite a few photos, and he agreed to let me try to render the fox as collage.

As it happened, I was about to take a class with fiber artist Erika Carter sponsored by my quilt guild, Quilters Anonymous, in Shoreline, WA. Erika’s class was all about the artistic process she uses, and it’s a little more involved than what I normally do. We listened to music, did word play exercises and made a variety of sketches before beginning work on our quilts.

I was pretty sure when I came to the class that I wanted to do the fox, and my pencil sketch helped me concentrate on areas of light and dark in the fox. I also decided to focus on the head and front legs, despite that magnificent tail.

20180309_140510So instead of blowing up the photograph to transfer to the background, I had a FedEx office blow up the sketch, and then transferred it to muslin as a foundation for the quilt.

The collage process for the rest of this quilt was pretty much the same as I use in most of my collage quilts, a method taught by Susan Carlson of Maine. Starting with the eyes, I cut small pieces of fabric and begin pinning them to a piece of muslin, also pinned to a piece of insulation board. Here are a few pictures from the process:

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Closeup of the head in the early stages.

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Here, you an see the head and shoulders beginning to take shape, with the cartoon of the drawing visible on the muslin. The white dots are pins holding the fabric in place.

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The body begins to take shape, with fabric pieces pinned to the left as I audition fabrics.

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The main image is mostly finished, although it can still be changed as I go.

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Time to start gluing the pieces in place. As I remove pins, I use small dots or smears of glue to hold the fabric in place, leaving the edges loose so small bits can be inserted to fill gaps.

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Here, I have made considerable progress on the background. Fabrics pinned at right are for possible use in the background or as borders.

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The background is largely finished, and it’s clear there will have to be some trimming to square up the piece. The board I was working on was a fragment of a larger piece, and it was not square.

After this stage, I covered the entire image with tulle to hold all the edges in place as I quilted. Then, the quilt was trimmed to an oblong shape. I debated putting on a variety of borders, and I did most of the quilting to leave that option open. I took the quilt with me to the Quilters Anonymous retreat in April, where I finished the quilting and asked other members to help me decide whether to add borders or simply put a binding on the quilt. A green binding was the winning choice.

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The finished quilt. I named it Prince of the Forest for now, but it could be changed if I or you come up with something more clever. Finished size is 24.5 inches by 41 inches.

Thanks to Charles Williams for his generosity with his image, to Erika Carter and my Quilters Anonymous friends for their input and for Susan Carlson, who started me on the journey of collage quilting.

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