Royal Turtle Assemblage
Using batiks in fabric collage, especially a collage with natural world themes is the best way to add texture and depth! I save all my batik scraps while always on the hunt for new yardage. Selecting the right fabric for your fabric collage art piece takes patience, great lighting and an open mind as far as color choice.
My favorite fabric collage is my Royal Turtle piece set in a Marsh.
The background batiks were selected and assembled first. A light mottled teal for the marsh horizon and a dark for the marsh ground were seamed together. A section of left-over Hobbs batting was cut to fit and a muslin for the back. Then I made strips of a batik with a linear dark and light Aztec print pattern. These strips were cut in such a way to simulate reeds. There were twenty reed strips that were raw edged appliqued unto the march background which had already been seamed and lightly quilted.
The batik selected for the turtle shell was in a fat quarter size scrap. A review of various options occured some more realiz=stic colors.I selected the part of the fabric that seemed to show the sun bouncing off the top of the turtle shell. Now there is not purple turtles that I am aware of, so I had to be open to portray the turtle in a unique way but with the same tonal content as in the natural world.
The turtle was assembled in separate pieces. The head, legs and tail were the same dark batik cut in the preferred shape and interfaces. The appendages were then embroidered with a colorful variegated thread. I selected a silk ribbon for the bottom of the shell overlaid on a golden batik cut to size. Once all the turtle pieces were complete, they were assembled and pinned to the marsh background and appliqued on. Always rehearse your placement of fabric collage pieces before you start sewing. I usually pin and then take a break and come back or take a picture on my phone and review placement in the photo. Not sure why the photo option works in perfecting placement, but I always have an easier time in my consideration of the art piece.
A word on thread use: Variegated thread for fabric collage work provides significant texture and shadow. I always audition the thread and the stitch I select on my Brother Dreamweaver.
The turtle is framed and in my living room. The significance of the turtle is a reminder of a close friend who passed away in June 2020 and later that afternoon as I considered the loss on my patio a turtle suddenly appeared and ran up to me so quickly. I had never seen a turtle in my yard in the over 30 years I had lived there. The lesson here, art should have a personal significance or tell a story.