Mini Art Quilt Series – Fire and Color

Fire! This is my mini art quilt theme for the next few months.

As I mentioned in my post on 5 great art quilting books, I recently joined an art quilting group.  We are working through the Art Quilt Workbook by Jane Davila and Elin Waterson.  The book is broken down into chapters covering different concepts and techniques in art quilting.  After we discuss a chapter, our homework for the next meeting is to make 9″ x 12″ art quilt  on that topic. Each of our  mini art quilts are tied together by a common theme.  My theme is fire!

I am pretty excited about it because I have wanted to make a large campfire art quilt for a while now.  In the summer, my husband makes a fire in our fire pit 2 to 3 times a week. Clearly, his boy scout roots run deep. 🙂  And I have come to associate the smell of a campfire with relaxing summer evenings.  I want to capture that feeling in an art quilt.  These mini-quilts let me play around with some different ideas!


The first topic we discussed  in our group was color. So for my first fire themed mini quilt, I made a quilt using complementary colors. In case you aren’t up on your color terminology, a complementary color is a color on the opposite side of the color wheel.  So for my red-orange fire, I decided to work in some vibrant blue-green.

First, I dyed my fire fabric using a layering technique from Ann Johnson’s fabric dyeing book, Color by Design. ( By the way, I love this book for fabric dyeing and her DVD workshop is awesome.) I love this fabric!  Especially how the red and yellow colors seem to bleed into one another just like fire! I also added a bit of blue dye to one piece to incorporate that complementary color.  You can see it in some of the process pictures below.

Next, I drew some sketches of flames on tracing paper. After fussing with them for a while, I cut out my pattern pieces. I  traced them onto my fire fabric and some yellow and green solids backed with fusible web. I cut everything out and  placed them on red-orange background fabric.  Incorporating the  blue green solid was a bit tricky.  It took a lot of layering on top of the green to get to an amount that wasn’t too bright that it detracted from the flames.   I quilted free-motion flame pattern into the top and use the flame pattern as a guide for some stitching around the individual flames below. I finished the edges with the zigzag stitch in the green color to pull it all together.

I am pretty happy with the end result. I think the fire dyed fabric makes the mini art quilt. I will definitely be trying to replicate it.  I figure you can never have too much fire fabric!