In and Out of Love

I was delighted that my recent quilt In and Out of Love was selected for Fine Art Quilt Masters shown at Festival of Quilts last week. 

Let me tell you a bit more about the quilt. It's one of the latest in the series where I'm exploring the idea of using the quilt as a canvas. That is to say, to work on top of a pre-existing quilt with a variety of surface techniques.

You all know that I know how to make a quilt. So I hope you'll agree with me, that it's not necessary to prove that ability with every piece of artwork that I make. For this piece, I purchased a vintage quilt from eBay that suited my needs.

The first stage was to take scissors to it to alter the size and proportion of this large bed quilt to the wallhanging that I intended to make. The quilt was very nicely handquilted but I'm used to taking a rotary cutter to my own work, though I did wonder what the original maker might think as I took to the quilt with scissors!

I do all of the preparation and digital printing in my studio so I've got complete control over the process. Once the image was created it was time to print it to the quilt. Printing on a quilt is not a standard practise but with all the experimenting I've been doing lately, I'm starting to get a feel for what is practical and what isn't.

What's very important is that the surface already has stitch and that the printed image happens across that texture and thread. This is quite a different approach to printing a flat piece of fabric and then quilting it. I like working both ways, but this one had no post-print stitch at all.

Digital print, especially with a photographic image, can appear cold and maybe even clinical. I printed this one with the idea that areas of the image would be broken and fragmented, like an old photo that might have been damaged over the years.

In the gallery at Festival of Quilts I was in good company, with 18 or so other pieces of work that had been selected from about 100 entrants (I think, don't quote me!).

During the exhibition, I was over on the Through Our Hands Gallery in the next hall, but some people did manage to come and find me, and check I was OK 'after the divorce'. Ha! We're not even married. Seriously though, I'm always happy for viewers to put their own interpretation onto a piece of my artwork. Someone said that it was brave of me to make a piece of work that was so personal. Maybe that person didn't realise that all my work is about very personal things and thinkings. It's just not so obvious when usually you don't have your own face on it.

For the record, the words I put on the artist's statement were: 

"Time goes by so quickly. We've watched all these other people fall in and out of love, but here we are." 

On my dress, printed very subtly so you can only read it up close, were the words "You can choose what stays and what fades away", (slightly adjusted, but thanks Florence). You make up your own mind, but for me, it's about those old themes of love and loyalty. 

You'll notice it's a layered image, six portraits in all, stacked, fading, coming and going, all present at once, but some stronger, some almost gone. Trying to convey a movie of a lifetime in a single flattened still image of a moment.

In and Out of Love
Laura Kemshall

Digital print on quilt, hand painting.
140cm x 185cm


Thanks for visiting the blog today.
Love Laura


  1. love it Laura. Can you also put the one in the making. I forgot white al my last minute shopping to come over and take a Picture. So I mis it. Hi to Emelie

    1. Hi Duffy, So lovely to see you at the show. Yes, I'll blog about the one I made during the exhibition. Look out for it soon!

  2. I saw your quilt on Sunday and got completely what you were trying to say. I will have been married for 30yrs next year and I sometimes wonder what it is that makes us go on when other couples, who seem perfect, don't stay together. I found it very emotional looking at it and reading the text (which I didn't realise was there until I got right up to it) and it made me think about the things that I thought were important 30yrs ago which now are not important at all. As for it being a 'bought' quilt. I don't think it matters. You buy fabric and think nothing of that and this is just another fabric, which you have put through different processes to create a wonderful piece of work, something unique and your own. I love it and would have picked it to win.

    1. Hi Liza, Thanks so much for your comment about my quilt. I'm pleased to hear it resonated with you!

  3. I love the idea of printing onto an existing quilt. I have an Epson 3880, which is a medium size printer, and would love to try doing this. Did you print on to paper and then transfer on to the quilt or print right on to the quilt? If you transferred on to the quilt what was your process. If you printed right on to the quilt did you use a carrier sheet of paper?

    1. Hi Darcy, I've developed the printing process after a lot of experimentation and I'm afraid that I'm not familiar with your printer so I can't advise. I print direct to cloth, but just be wary that printing onto a quilted surface is quite unlike a flat piece of paper or even a piece of fabric. It can be extremely easy to seriously damage your printer so do exercise caution. You may find that some sort of transfer process would be more straightforward to try. Good luck with your experiments.

    2. Now I understand what you mean that you didn't do all that hand quilting. (I commented on the picture of this on Instagram) I was thinking why would somebody quilt it for you?! Now I get it, what a lovely idea of giving a new life to a vintage quilt! I loved the title and as I read your artist statement I understand it's a celebration of your relationship (not about a break up) I didn't know you weren't married together, I work and create art with my partner, we have 2 kids together and we're also not married. Your piece is a nice inspiration to create something to celebrate our decade together, will give it a thought!
      Anyway congratulation on being chosen for the fine art!!


Post a Comment