Make Fabric Collage Nests to Hurry Spring

When Vivika Hansen DeNegre joined the Quilting Arts Magazine staff as editor earlier this month, I was thrilled. I admire a lot of fabric and mixed-media artists, but Vivika makes the kind of art that I aspire to create myself. Remember the fabric collage nest I made last year that was based on Vivika's tutorial?

fabric collage nest
My fabric collage nest, "Counting the Days."

Lucky for me, Vivika works in the office space next to mine. So I walk past her smiling face and inspiring artwork several times a day.

I thought I'd resurrect that how-to to use as a way to pass the time while we in the frozen north wait for spring to arrive. It's all done with fabric scraps, threads, and fibers.

Fabric Collage Nest

1. Cut 2 ovals to about 1/2" smaller than the size you want the nest to be: one out of dark craft felt and the other out of firm stabilizer like Peltex or even Lutradur. Glue the ovals back to back.

2. Gather your scraps. I happened to have snips of threads and fabrics on my table from a recent project. If you don't have scraps at the ready, Vivika suggests you layer some fabrics on your cutting mat and use a rotary cutter and ruler to slice off snippets at least 3" long.

3. Arrange the fabrics and fibers like a bird feathering its nest, overlapping the outside edge of the oval and playing with colors until you get a combination you like.

4. Vivika free-motion stitched her scraps together onto the oval with monofilament in the bobbin. I stitched here and there with a zigzag stitch to get the bottom fibers anchored, then switched to tacky glue for the top layers. It's a little messy that way, but the method was fast and achieved the results I wanted.

5. Embellish your nest with flowers, twigs, beads, text, etc. I glued a scrap of selvage with numbers on it to the nest because I liked the graphic look and it gave me a title, "Counting the Days."

6. Like Vivika, I chose to add fabric branches, and these I did sew on because I liked the extra texture stitching provided. But glue would work as well.

7. Finally, cut out "eggs" from fabric (or you could use lightweight found objects) and glue them in place. I made my eggs 3-D by stitching three-quarters of the way around the oval, stuffing with a bit of polyfil, and then stitching the closure. I then cut out around the outside of the stitching. Again, this could be done by hand stitching or by gluing.

Now that you've made a nest, how about some fabric collage dimensional birds? I can think of no better designs than those in The Artful Bird: Feathered Friends to Make and Sew by Abigail Patner Glassenberg. It's now available as a downloadable ebook.

P.S. What's your favorite sign of spring? Tell me in the comments section below.
P.P.S. Here is a larger version of the picture, as requested, so you can see more detail:


Blog, Collage, Fabric Art, Mixed-Media Techniques


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