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"C-Thru" -- Portals Theme--14" x 31.5"

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

My wall hanging “C-Thru” plays off the basic idea of a portal as an entry point or entry way, rather than the more formal door or window definition.

I’ve been working for quite some time with Pro-Chem textile paints on canvas using masking tape and other types of sticky materials as resists. When I thought of the portals theme it reminded of two painted pieces of fabric I had on hand. I had used a combination of round stickers and hole reinforcements, normally used for notebook paper, within the designs. To me, they abstractly reflected the portals theme.

Then for the past several months I have been sampling various patterns for Dorset Wheels. For those not familiar with them, they are a style of button made in England going back several centuries. Dorset Wheels are created by working a blanket stitch around a ring which can then be further decorated by wrapping threads or yarns in a variety of patterns and colors. Here are a few I’ve been experimenting with. My thought was to combine Dorset Wheels with my fabrics to create playful and perhaps unexpected portals. Here are some I had been working on.

I auditioned various configurations between the two painted fabrics, first trying the warmer one on top and the cooler on the bottom and vice versa.

I finally decided on this orientation, because I found the visual flow from the darker section of the cool-toned piece into the blues of the warm-toned piece visually effective.

To emphasize the more important lines, straight and wavy, I hand-embroidered them in an outline stitch with black DMC thread. For the subordinate lines, I embroidered them with matching thread.

My next step was to determine placement of the Dorset Wheels, prior to machine quilting each section. See chalked outlines.

I layered each section with batting and backing and lightly quilted next to the black outline stitches with a variegated thread that blends with the background. I decided not to quilt further as the stitched portals would also anchor the three layers.

To really play up the theme of portals, I created actual openings, treating them as large eyelets. I sampled first eyelets by hand then by machine. I liked the machine stitched version better for this particular piece.

First, I stitched around the chalked circles twice to create a firm edge. After cutting the circles out, I satin-stitched around them twice.

I created Dorset Wheels in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles, placing them for visual balance, while bringing colors from each of the sections into the other. In order to create a variety of portals, I attached some Dorset Wheels within or over the satin-stitched holes. Other Wheels were attached over printed circles, while a few were simply attached to the background. (I attached the Wheels from the back of the quilts).

After selecting charcoal for the binding and stitching it to each section, I considered joining methods. I chose not to stitch the sections together. Instead, to continue the portals theme and use of Dorset Wheels, I auditioned sizes, number, and position of rings.

Ultimately, I chose three large rings attached from the back.

Two detail shots below.

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