Silk and Santa Fe

Trees and science fiction – must be Art Quilt Santa Fe. Betty Busby was the teacher this year. Her award-winning quilts are fabulous, as was her four-day workshop. She had us painting on silk, which I have done before without much success. This time was different. Betty encouraged us to relax and let the fabric and the paint take us on a journey. Once I let go of my expectations and allowed the end product be a surprise, I had a blast.

As with last year’s workshops, I planned to use my projects for my tree series. We started with our backgrounds. Betty had us painting from light to dark vertically. I painted a sunbeam filtering through a forest.

Next we made patterns. I sketched out a tree trunk with branches, then Betty enlarged it with a computer resizing program. The design is printed out in separate sheets, and taped together.

We cut our designs out of Remay, which we had also painted in a light-to-dark gradation, and fused them to the surface.

I’m not certain what I’ll do for borders, but I left my options open by leaving the tree branches loose over the edge of the silk.

We also worked with paint sticks. Here is a cedar I painted on a scrap of satin. The trunk is a line of copper paint stick.

I promised you sci fi, and here it is:

We painted another piece of silk in a circular gradation from light to dark. The idea was to fuse a single organic image graded from dark to light on top of the silk. By this time, however, my silk was chattering away and made sure I could see it was a galaxy. And it wanted space ships. Pink and blue space ships.

Who am I to argue with the galaxy?

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4 Responses to “Silk and Santa Fe”

  1. quiltfever Says:

    What a fun and productive workshop. I love your tree and I like the idea of having the branches extend past the quilt border. Your space ships are way cool too. Do they fit into one of your series?

  2. Lani Longshore Says:

    The space ship quilt sort of fits in a series. Michelle Jackson taught a landscape class with fusible applique, which I turned into a landscape on the planet of my bug people (in my not-quite-finished novel the humans call the planet Thorsdottir IV).

  3. TheaM Says:

    Well, Lani, now I am officially green with envy – a class with Betty Busby!!! seriously… her quilts are astounding!

    I need to try that circular gradation next time I dye silks…. I just got some new supplies… did you use a cone base? I draped a silk piece over a wine bottle and dripped a dark color onto a pastel and had good results. I have to wait for better weather so I can do more dyeing & painting outdoors.

    • Lani Longshore Says:

      A cone base – what a concept! We painted on a flat surface, and while I liked the results I can already see the variations you could get by putting raised surfaces underneath. Lani

      Lani Longshore Death By Chenille ( Broken Dishes Repertory Theatre (

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