This wall hanging was made during a quilting course I have just completed. I decided to focus on my favorite art movement. I adore the Art Nouveau period and wrote numerous essays about it and the artists that inspired it whilst at college. The natural look of the movement really appeals to me. Alphonse Mucha is probably my favorite artist and I really liked the idea of his work inspiring mine. I learnt different applique techniques in order to make this wall hanging, some were fun, others were a really big struggle. I will go through each panel in detail below.
Flowers play a big part in Art Nouveau and poppies have a particular appeal to me. I remember a drawing of my Mums that was a colour pencil drawing of poppies from when I was a child. These poppies are separate pieces of fabric fused to the background with Bondaweb and highlighted with machine stitching and the stems being made from satin stitch.The background pattern, made with free machine embroidery, was inspired by Gustav Klimt’s, The Kiss, 1907-08. I used this piece for inspiration when completing my Art GCSE. Although this pattern plays a small part in Klimt’s painting, it made the biggest impact on me, I still doodle this design today everywhere!!! I was fortunate enough to see a Klimt painting in real life at a museum in Prague. I have to admit I forget which one! However I was in awe at the sheer size of it, the size of an average living room wall! Photos in books do no justice to scale in paintings.
For this section I learnt how to make Bias Strips. As most people will be able to tell Charles Rennie Mackintosh inspired this panel! His roses are so simple yet obvious as to what they represent. The colours are also very bold and striking, something unusual for Art Nouveau which normally relies on earthy colours. The Bias Strips are held in place with hand stitching to look like thorns and the roses themselves are circles of fabric, with wool to highlight the shape, again held in place with hand stitching. The leaves were cut straight from a fabric, the pattern was of roses, so these leaves were perfect!
This block uses Mola, a cut away/reverse applique technique. It is a technique practiced by the Cuna Indians from the San Blas islands off the coast of Panama. I will admit I had problems with Mola when I first started, hence the satin stitch around the leaves! I did however persevere and the result is great. I found the bigger the area being sewn the better. As a novice the small, fiddly flowers were a mistake. The main flower does indeed use Mola, with french knots to highlight areas. Using a silver thread worked really well and I am happy with the result. I finished this panel on holiday in Florida, so it does hold some happy memories!
My favorite of all the panels. It was based on a lamp by Louis Comfort Tiffany with another little Klimt doodle. I used reverse applique with four different layers. I especially like the shiny wings, I used a shimmering fabric that would still show the grey colour underneath. The eyes are made from giant beads I had and really add character. Although I did not want to use satin stitch on the whole panel, it does make it look striking, neat and tidy.
This panel was based on ‘Plate Decorated with Violets’ by Rene Lalique. It uses free machine embroidery, satin stitch and reverse applique. I found this panel the hardest as it was a complete nightmare. It started off using freezer paper to help sew fabric on top of the cream silk. Well I gave up on that as it was too fiddly and went with reverse applique again. I have to admit they look nothing like violets, or indeed the plate by Lalique, but they do look good!
The peacock features heavily in Art Nouveau works, so it is only fitting that I add one to my wall hanging. Not to mention this part was based on Mrs Mucha’s Necklace, 1906. I searched high and low for a Mucha element that I could add to my wall hanging, however as he is most famous for drawing women, I could not easily produce that with applique!
The fabric underneath is called fused fabric, I made it buy placing lots of different small pieces of fabric onto some bondaweb and ironing it to a backing piece. I then secured it with free machine sewing and made it neat and tidy with the satin stitch. The triangles in the corners are called prairie points and frame the peacock nicely. I thought the sequins were a nice touch and added an almost 3D feel to the overall wall hanging.