The term "landscape quilt" is a generic term referring to quilts that represent natural landscapes, and that are intended to be hung on a wall as art. As the art form has matured, many landscape quilters now refer to themselves as Fiber Artists, and to their artistic creations as Fiber Art.

Landscape fiber artists bring their own particular blend of artistry and quilting techniques. Often their works are inspired by a scene from nature, from another artistic rendition (even from scenes from a movie), from flights of imagination, or from a combination of these. They then apply their own technical expertise to express their artistic vision.

Although each of my landscapes is different, I typically follow certain procedures and techniques. I begin by conceptualizing an original design (I never use a pattern.) Beginning with a piece of muslin as my "canvas," each element of the design is created by cutting fabric into shapes resembling natural elements and layering them to create a picture. Much of the artistic joy in landscape quilting comes from finding a piece of fabric with just the right pattern, color, or visual emotion. All of the elements of good art, such as color, perspective, and shading, come to play as the design takes shape.

Once the pieces are in place, they are then secured with free motion overcasting to encase the raw edges using translucent thread. Colored rayon and fluorescent threads are machine embroidered free motion style to further enhance and fine tune the branches, leaves, grasses, and so on. I use many batiks, but also some fabrics are dyed, over dyed, painted, and over painted to achieve the necessary colors and effects.

After the entire quilt top is created, I then add the batting and backing layers. The the actual quilting is also done once again in a free motion style on my standard sewing machine. This free motion method of working enables the me stitch in any direction and to create an artistic product that is not encumbered by conventional sewing techniques. The quilting process is as much a part of the artistic product as the initial design.

Finally the quilt is bound and blocked to assure a beautiful hang. All the elements thus come together as a unique, one of a kind, landscape quilt, a work of fiber art.

Sue Gilgen
May 2014