Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt

by Angela Bowman February 07, 2017 3 Comments

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt by Angela Bowman

"Self Portrait Behind The Pixels", 70" x 70", made in November 2016.

This is me, an actual human being behind my online presence. As we talk to each other online, please don't forget that I am a real person behind the pixels. Let's all be more understanding, respectful, and kind.

This is a concept that probably rings true for many of us; however this idea did not guide the design. In fact, I found its meaning after I made it.

It started with a selfie on Instagram - something I rarely post. Hey, I just got some highlights in my hair!

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt by Angela Bowman

I cropped the image a bit, placed it in a grid, and applied some digital effects. Why a grid? It's freeing. It makes an enormous project approachable - just make one square at a time. A grid makes it easier for me to find order and to help make a design come to life. It gives me a sense of clarity and confidence. Without it, I'm a bit overwhelmed and design is daunting. It just so happens that a grid gives a digital, pixelated effect that I love. And it's pretty perfect for quiltmaking.

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt by Angela Bowman

I brought the image into the Procreate App on my iPad, and used the Apple Pencil to translate for sewing via foundation paper piecing (FPP). Here's a video of my process: 

A video posted by Angela Bowman (@angelabdesign) on

 

Here's the resulting image.

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt by Angela Bowman

And here's the lines-only version.

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt by Angela Bowman

I brought it into Adobe Illustrator, cleaned things up a bit, and established my color key. I gave myself the constraints of only using the fabrics that I already have, and only prints.

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt by Angela Bowman

I separated each square into a FPP pattern and printed them off.

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt by Angela Bowman

As I started making blocks and throwing them on the design wall, I felt a bit iffy about the fabrics. But I just told myself to go with it.

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt by Angela Bowman

FPP is definitely one of my happy places, so I gladly just focused on that.

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt by Angela Bowman

A bit more progress, and still a bit nervous. I worried that the eye was too weird. I powered on.

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt by Angela Bowman

Finished with the blocks, now to sew them all together.

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt by Angela Bowman

Then peeling off paper from the back. Oddly satisfying.

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt by Angela Bowman

And the top is done! I changed up some of the background fabric choices, even using the "wrong" side of the fabric to give some value variation, a first for me. 

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels Quilt by Angela Bowman

Rather than quilting it myself, I sent the quilt top to my friend Laura Pukstas who has a longarm quilting machine. I told Laura that it'd be cool to have horizontal straight lines on the background, with the shapes (hair/eye/etc) to be outlined and filled with whatever she thinks is good. I love what she did.

Self Portrait Behind The Pixels by Angela BowmanSo while I didn't set out to make a statement quilt, it happened anyway. This design was guided by the simple art concepts of a grid, polygonal shapes, and materials constraints, yet I happened upon its perfect narrative at the end, without even thinking of assigning any meaning during the making process. Fascinating. I wonder how intentionally connecting meaning early in the process will affect my work.

I'll leave you with this: Let's look through the pixels, see each other as the beautiful humans we are, and make more of an effort to understand one other before passing judgment online.





Angela Bowman
Angela Bowman

Author


3 Responses

Tavia
Tavia

February 26, 2017

That was so fun to read about!! Thank you for taking us through your process! Wow, what a creative artist you are. It’s so striking! Loved to learn more about it.

Judy Abbett
Judy Abbett

February 17, 2017

I love what you do with fabric and and ideas. I’m so naive about modern quilting so I’ll just stay in my comfort zone. I will watch for the results of the exhibition.

Kitty
Kitty

February 11, 2017

This is such a cool quilt, and it is so fun to see your process! Thank you for taking us through each step! FPP is my safety net, too, and the pixelated aesthetic is amazing. The reminder to remember the person behind the pixel is so key, too, so thank you for that as well!

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