Sean Patrick Flanery, actor and author, posted a particular photo on Twitter a while ago. I like the composition he’d created, and asked if he’d allow me to turn it into an art quilt. With his permission given, I began my journey.
The actual assembly of the quilt only took a few days, but the time it took to figure out how to get from digital image to a tangible quilt took more than a couple of years. I kept running into stumbling blocks whenever I started on this particular quilt. Finally, I had to pull what work I’d gotten done off of my design wall. For whatever reason, I couldn’t seem to get beyond the first few pieces.
I knew I was going to continue the work. I needed to figure out how I could get the design out of my head and put on my wall.
When I pulled this quilt back out to work on, I kept staring at my base pattern and the fabrics I’d selected to work with. Something wasn’t right. I was missing something. Darned if I could figure out what it was. It’d be a couple of days before the idea of combining black & white with sepia tones whispered from the back of my head. Once that idea started to focus, suddenly I knew where and how this quilt was going to go together.
After a run to get some browns and tans, work began anew. This turned into this I knew I was on the right track, once again.
i wanted to start getting his face into place, as this is where most of the details are.
It’s unusual for me to have issues with browns and tans, but this particular shade seemed to be in that odd area. After picking a couple of different colors from the same line of fabric, a clerk at a local quilt shop gave me a funny look when I told her I couldn’t see the difference in the two options. She insisted the colors were obviously different, but you couldn’t prove it by me. (One of the speed bumps in being partially color blind. You get used to it.) I can say that I liked how her suggestion worked with the other fabrics I’d selected. It gave me the definition I wanted. It was time to keep moving.
Yes, there were particular areas that I purposely did in grayscale and the others in sepia. You’ll see how all of this plays out as the image plays itself out. There’s a certain kind of intensity that I’m aiming for. The original image was imposing; I wanted to make it stand out even more.
It was time to find the rest of his face. There he is! By the time I’d called it quits for that night, some of my beta viewers were asking how big the image was going to be. The best way I knew to explain the scale I was working in was to send them this That’s how big the image is. I’m not done yet.
The next morning, it was time to start adding in more details. This is the part that I enjoy the most – making it all work. Not too shabby, but still missing some key pieces. I’d paused here for a few moments to really look at what all needed to be done. I’d managed to capture Mr. Flanery’s smirk. While I was pleased the smirk comes through, I have to admit to being a little creeped out that my quilt is now smirking at me. 😉
I’m on the homestretch. Just a few more pieces left to cut and place, and then the final inspections happen before I pull the pins.
It wouldn’t be too long before I started quilting this piece. From the time it took me to remove it from my design wall, quilt it, bind it, and have it back up on my design wall was less than three hours. That’s even with having issues with the backing fabric, extra quilting, and making the binding. Yes, I quilted it.
The finished quilt:
Shine Until Tomorrow…
Image by Sean Patrick Flanery, used with permission
Finished Size: 41 3/4 x 44 3/4 inches
Cotton fabrics, cotton/wool batting
Raw edge applique, machine quilted
Completed: August 3, 2017
Edited to add:
Mr. Flanery was in Chicago for a fan convention, so I took the quilt in – hoping he’d get a chance to see it and possibly autograph it. His response was everything I could have hoped for. He seemed thrilled and excited. Yes, he autographed my quilt. Yes, I specifically asked that he put his catch phrase on the front. It’s important.
Thank you, Mr. Flanery. Thank you so very much.