||Birds of a Different Color
AQS 2000: Best of Show,
$18,000 Purchase Award
- Copyright © 1999 Caryl Bryer Fallert
- Size: 93" x 74"
- Techniques: Hand dyed and painted, machine pieced, and
- Materials: 100% cotton fabric batting: 80% cotton
/ 20% polyester
- Owner: The National
Quilt Museum of the United States , Paducah, KY
See details of quilt, design, concept, and construction
This is one of a series of quilts about
birds as symbols of freedom and the joy if life. In this
quilt the birds are very abstract, and function as graphic
design elements. The forms are intentionally ambiguous,
so that each viewer can use her/his own experience with
birds to guess their species. Even the number of birds
in the quilt is subject to interpretation.
The colors represent the spectral colors
of refracted light The darker values of red and purple
begin at the bottom of the quilt, and graduate through
orange and yellow in the center to blue and green at the
The machine quilting was done with over
100 different colors of Madeira Poly-Neon thread. In the
feathers of the birds the quilting is reminiscent of the
traditional "Feathered Plume" quilting pattern.
On the back of the quilt is a single piece
of cotton fabric, hand painted in a rainbow of colors,
echoing the colors of the birds on the front of the quilt.
At the AQS show in 2000, the most frequently asked question
was "How long did it take?" This is not
a simple question to anwser. It took approximately
two weeks (8-16 hours per day) to do the machine quilting.
It took approximately four weeks, full time, to piece
it. It took approximately one week to draw the design,
and ten years to figure out how to draw the design.
Learning to make the quilt in this amount of time took
twenty years of practice.
I began this design by drawing a number of abstract
birds on paper.
Each bird drawing was scanned into the computer,
and I spent several hours playing with various combinations
of birds. In addition to overlapping each other, the
birds were mirror imaged, rotated, and resized to find a harmonious
The arrangement I liked the best was printed
out, and I continued the drawing by hand, filling in negative
spaces, removing lines I didn't like, and adding connections.
The line drawing was rescanned and converted
to a vector drawing using Adobe Streamline. In Corel
Draw, I colored the spaces between the lines in shades of
black white and gray. I used this value study as a guide
as I chose the colors and values for this quilt.
The line drawing was printed onto acetate, and
projected onto a large piece of paper (72" x 93")
using an overhead projector. Using a pencil, I drew
the major design lines.
The big drawing was then put on the floor of
my studio and I spent several hours refining the drawing and
making any changes necessary due to change of scale. I used
this one original drawing as my actual pattern. I don't
make a second copy. I feel that by using only the original
I get very precise accuracy in piecing the templates together,
and my quilt tops lie absolutely flat when they are complete.
|I also drew in all the
little orientation marks that would be needed to accurately
piece together the curved lines. I used a permenant felt
tip marker for this. The marker soaks through the paper
pattern, so the lines are visible on both sides. The permenant
marker (unlike a waterbased marker) does not transfer to the
fabric when the pattern pieces are ironed to the back side of
|Here are the orientation
the front of a section of the drawing
|Here the orientation
lines show through on
the back of the same section of the drawing
front side of the paper templates was sprayed with 3M Photo-Mount,
a temporary, repositionable, adheasive. This allows the templates
to cling to the back side of the fabric while they are being
cut out, and pieced, and is easy to remove after the piecing
is complete. Since this product smells very toxic, and
gets all over everything, I spray the templates on my dye table
in my garage/outdoor, summer dye studio. I'm very careful
not to inhale any of the spray.
Once the big drawing was complete, I hung it back on the wall,
and began cutting it apart in sections. Each shape was
cut out with scissors and used as a template for cutting the
fabric. The fabric is cut ¼" larger than the paper
The pieces were sewn together in each section as I went along,
so they didn't get confused. When two or three sections
were complete, I sewed them together into larger sections.
I'm using my hand-dyed fabrics in every color of the rainbow
and every value from very light to very dark. I also pulled out lots
and lots of multicolored painted fabric, and it's all in a
jumble on the floor of my studio. I need to have visual
contact with it as I work.
Here are several of the fabrics I used to create graduated
templates and visual texture in the quilt.
Click here to
see how the quilt grew on the wall of my studio from begining to
|click pictures for larger
Main gallery of the National Quilt Museum, Paducah
- Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival,
(juried) Feb. 23-27, 2000, Williamsburg Marriott Hotel, Williamsburg,
VA (Third Place)
- American Quilters Society
Show 2000, (juried), Paducah, KY April 2000 (BEST
- Caryl Bryer Fallert: A Retrospective, New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA, August 20 - October 31, 2015
- The Paducah Sun, April 13, 2000, pp. A1 & A18
- Southeast Missourian, April 15, 2000, p. 1A
- American Quilter, 2000: Fall, BOTH COVERS, pp. 2,7,26,27
- Hancocks Fabrics Catalog, Summer 2001
- American Quilters Society
Quilt Show & contest Video: BOTH COVERS
- SOUTHERN LADY, 2000: Summer, pp. 85 & 87
- American Quilters Society,
Wall Calendar, AQS Books, 2001: BOTH COVERS
- American Quilters Society,
2001 Show Poster (to
see this poster, click here)
- Weaving New Rhythms: Diary 2002, Rubicon Publishing Inc.,Ontario,
Canada (to purchase contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Windhover: A Journal of Christian Literature, Baylor University
Press, 2007, Cover & page 18
- Skywest Magazine, September/October 2010 p. 22
- American Quilters Society 25th Anniversary Show Poster, 2009
- Textile Fiber Forum, 2015, #119, p. 19
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