Prism Play: Magenta

As part of SAQA NorCal/NV Prism Play Regional Exhibit, participants were invited to create one or more 15" x 45" long, narrow panels based exclusively on a single color card from color expert Joan Wolfrom's Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool, which included the pure color, tints, shades, and tones. No pure black or white could be used. Participating artists had the option to request certain color cards or to receive a random assignment.

I was randomly assigned two color card groupings:

  • Green which included Blue-Green, Green, and Spring Green. I opted to focus on the Spring Green color card to create "WIN-WIN Wind Energy" which was shared in a previous blog post.
  • Red which included Red, Blue-Red, and Magenta as color card options.

Soon after receiving my color card assignments, I combed through my stash in search of fabrics that matched my color assignments. I quickly realized that I only had a few red and blue-red fabrics, but thankfully I had enough magenta to fill a plastic tub! Just in case I didn't have enough magenta fabric, I spent a September weekend creating paint swatches along with a bit of sunprinting using Dye-Na-Flow and ProChem ProSilk and Fabric Paints.

Everything was set aside waiting for inspiration. By early January, I was starting to panic as the deadline was a little over one month away and I didn't have any design plans for my magenta piece. A bout of insomnia led me to do a bit of brainstorming in bed which actually led me to a really cool topic. I stayed up researching it, making notes, emailing myself articles, and coming up with very rough game plan. While  my research continued, I still lacked a strong design to bring all the various elements together, so it was set aside as I got to work on my Spring Green companion piece. The Spring Green piece was finally completed Monday, February 7th which left me with less than 3.5 days to start and finish a second piece before the February 10th entry deadline. I pulled out all my research, made sketches, took photos, and realized that there was no way to do justice to my idea in such a short time, especially as I still lacked any kind of cohesive design. I was feeling pretty disappointed in myself and resolved to throw in the towel as I headed into the bathroom to take a long, hot shower. But instead a hot soak, I headed back into the studio for a bit of play.

First I revisted a few joyful photos for design inspiration:
  • A photo taken at along the Venice Beach Boardwalk during my April 2019 visit with the Westside Quilters
  • And three Design by Dice Compositions

I pulled out some of the pink fabrics, including several of my own mark-making fabrics for inspiration. I remembered all the joy I experienced while making those fabrics and decided to create a bit of pink play starting with pink Sharpie markers. A few random marks were made with each marker before spritzing the marks with rubbing alcohol. 

I experimented using the markers on prepared for dye fabric and two non-woven fibers including a new-to-me Evolon. I was first introduced to using Evolon in a Book of Secrets workshop with Margarita Korioth. During the workshop, I fell in love with the softness of Evolon, in addition to how beautiful it was to stitch by hand and by machine, did not fray with raw-edge fusible applique, and could be painted. It was pretty much love at first sight as I purchased an entire bolt of Evolon right after class. After a bit of paint testing, I cut out two panels that were a bit larger than 15" x 45" and soaked them overnight in a diluted acrylic paint bath. I wasn't sure if everything would come together in time for the entry deadline, but I sure had fun playing and had more fun planned for the next morning...

Tuesday morning (aka two days before the entry deadline), I woke up giddy to unwrap my painted panels. They had a lovely mottled coloring but were still soaking wet so I laid them out on a drying rack. After a few more hours they were still pretty damp, so I laid them out flat on plastic to soak up the sun. They were still a bit damp, but I couldn't wait much longer and proceeded to apply more marks with flicks of acrylic paint followed by brush strokes to create lines, circles, and Xs.

While I was patiently waiting for the paint to dry, I returned to the studio to attend a handful of Zoom meetings and in between meetings I was busy applying fusible onto a variety of my favorite patterned fabrics: sunprints, stripes, and dots. In between more meetings, a few of the solids were transformed into prints by stamping with ArtFoamies stamps and one of my own hand-carved stamp designs

Above you can see the entire collection with one of the painted Evolon panels. Once all the Wonder Under paper backing was removed from the fused swatches, the paper was repurposed by cutting out a variety of heart shapes to audition potential layout designs. It may be a bit difficult to see the paper hearts given their semi-transparent nature, but at first I created groups of similar heart shapes and sizes to interact directly with the background fabric. It seemed a little too planned. Revisiting those inspirational photos, I replaced the wedge shapes with long skinny hearts that radiated out from a central focal point. 

You may have noticed in the last photo above, there are still a few paper hearts in place in the final layout. Those were left as placeholders for two more techniques that I wanted to incorporate into my composition.

The first technique involved stamping directly onto the background. A freezer paper heart stencil was cut out and temporarily fused shiny-side-down onto the background before stamping with an ArtFoamie stamp featuring Xs and Os, aka Kisses and Hugs. Once the stencil was lifted, I was left with a stamped heart

Wednesday morning (aka one day before the entry deadline!) I prepared my quilt sandwich and began quilting all the hearts. There were still a few remaining placeholder hearts that I had planned to recreate using a bright magenta sheer fabric. A slightly larger swatch was cut out and held in place with blue painter's tape. The paper heart served as a template as I free-motion quilted all around, but removed before doing a second pass and adding a stitched a message of love and hope into the heart's center. Havel Snip-EZE snips were used to trim away the excess sheer fabric.

One of the sunprints I wanted to use for the large focal heart didn't have enough contrast with the painted background. It too received a sheer fabric overlay,

I had fun adding stitched textures and more messages of love into the surrounding hearts. The graffiti background was filled in with zig zag meander before trimming and facing the edges shortly before midnight which left me with almost 24 hours until the entry closed. And yes, I absolutely checked on what time and time zone the entry form was scheduled to close!

Here are most of the mark-making stamps, paints, and pen used, in addition to the collection of magenta threads used in the quilting.

Thursday morning (less than 17 hours before the entry would close), I took photographs and wrote up my Artist's Statement:

"A previous design concept wasn't coalescing, no matter how hard I reworked it my mind. Instead of abandoning all hope of creating a magenta piece, I returned to my studio resolved to simply "play with pink" to see what might happen. I pulled out some of my favorite pink fabrics: solids, stripes, polka dots, and sun prints. Next round of fun included a bit of mark-making magic using some of my favorite techniques and supplies. Messages of love were free-motion stitched throughout the hearts. By focusing on the element of play, I experienced joy at every step of the design process and ultimately learned to follow my heART!"

Both entries were submitted before 2 PM, with 10 hours until the entry form officially closed!  Later that evening I enjoyed a celebratory Industrial Strength watermelon margarita and regret not taking a picture of it next to my Magenta color card.

"Follow Your heART" Finishes 15" x 45"


  1. Mel, I love how you incorporate so many techniques in one piece of art. I am glad you like the Evolon, it's a wonderful material :)
    Send you a warm hug from TN

    1. Awww...thank you Margarita! A lot of heart and joy went into making this piece. Thank you again for introducing me to the joy of using Evolon!! I am excited to use it in more of my art quilts!! Hugs from CA to TN!


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