Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ansel Adams Inspired

Have I mentioned the Ansel Adams Tribute project? The idea is to reproduce Ansel Adams photographs using fabric, quilting, and other fiber manipulation techniques. I thought it would be interesting to see if I could evoke the same depth and texture of the black and white photographs. For my first attempt I chose his 1948 photo From Hurricane Hill, Olympic National Park, Washington. Here is a link to the photo

And here is my attempt to reproduce it. (note: I haven't attached the rod pockets to the back yet, so those odd little shapes at the top are binder clips holding it up for the photograph.)

It’s interesting as a first attempt, but clearly does not reflect the detail and subtly of light, shadow and mist in the original. I tried using a bonding product called Mistyfuse to create the layers of mist on the distant mountains, and I really don’t think it worked. The bonding agent leaves a sheen to the areas where it has been applied that makes the mountains look hard instead of soft and ethereal. Again I would try an opaque fabric like organza.

The snow was made from cotton flannel, which may also have been a poor choice. In my original project plan I was going to use a furrowing technique to create the play of light and shadow on the snow. Then I planned to add highlights with white fabric paint. After working with it for awhile I found I couldn’t get enough distinction between low and high spots, and adding detail with paints or dyes was extremely difficult because the nap of the fabric defeated efforts to control application.

This is why I resorted to using two colors of fabric. I used spray adhesive to hold the small fabric pieces in place before stitching, but even so it was extremely challenging to add small detail, and more was needed. I might have had better results just using thread in shades of grey with an open toe darning foot to add more detail to the snow. A third, lighter shade of gray might also have helped.

Anyway, it was a fun project to think through, and I’m looking forward to trying some more of these. For the next project I think I’ll choose something a bit more angular and with less detail – perhaps Church, Taos Pueblo”, which Adams shot in 1942.


  1. Wow! Quite ambitious, but you pulled it off very well. It's a very cool interpretation in fabric!

  2. Thanks for the positive feedback. I had about decided I hated it :-)