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Behind the Scenes of “The Planting of The Apple Tree”

I thought today I would share with you some “behind the scenes” images and processes on the creation of one of my new art pieces – “The Planting of the Apple Tree”.

One of the workshops I teach is Fabric Painting, and in creating samples for the workshops, I’ve painted a few pieces that have been sitting around waiting for me to do something with them.  One of them is this green apple which spent some time pinned to my design board.  I would stare at it and stare at it and think of ways of finishing it, and finally decided.

paintedThis is the original painted apple.  I wanted to try something different on it, so I decided to experiment with gold leafing – metal leafing – as I used to use it quite often when I painted. (Metal leafing – not metal foiling).  It is one of my favorite finishes.  It adds a great finish to surfaces.  I had never used it on fabric, so I started experimenting.

Because fabric is porous, I found out I needed to seal it first, so the sizing (the glue that you use to adhere the metal leaf to the surface) doesn’t dry too fast.  I use Golden gel medium applied with a brush to the area.  Once dry, I applied the sizing, and let it dry (read manufacturer’s instructions).


The top white part on this photo is where I applied the gel medium to seal it.  I used masking tape to get a straight line and define the area where I am applying the metal leaf.


Starting to apply the metal leaf.  It’s quite delicate and it breaks easily, so I applied the sheets – usually 5″ x 5″ – and then went over it once again with sizing in the areas that needed better coverage until I was satisfied with the results.

When it came time to make a decision about quilting design, I decided I wanted to use text.  I used the poem “The Planting of the Apple Tree” by William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) – an excerpt below:

“What plant we in this apple-tree?
Buds, which the breath of summer days
Shall lengthen into leafy sprays;
Boughs where the thrush, with crimson breast,
Shall haunt and sing and hide her nest;”

apple-finishedHere’s the finished product.  I love the way it looks.  I used a lime green rayon thread to quilt on the metal leaf; it was lovely to work with and needle through.  no issues whatsoever.  Is it stiff  – you may ask?  A bit stiffer than the regular fabric, yes, but still pliable.

Some details of the quilting:



The last finishing touches I added was seed stitches to the right area of the pear, to simulate and enhance the shading.

I love the way this turned out, so I can see more metal leafing in my not-so-distant future.

I hope you enjoyed a brief glimpse into a new process.  Stay tuned for more.  I love to hear from you so drop me a note and let me know what your thoughts are.

Thanks for reading. Keep quilting!


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