Stone Eden Starry Night - Julie Brown Neu

Stone Eden Starry Night

Recreation Van Gogh's Starry Night using thread painting with stone wall in foreground

This is a piece that has been in my mind since I was a teenager and envisioned as a quilt since I first started quilting in my 20s. It just took a few decades to be able to do it. This quilt began with a photo I took one morning while waiting for the bus at the top of the farm driveway. I stood next to a stone wall shaded by a large tree and looked into the pasture beyond that was lit by the sun. In art class in middle school (Thanks again, Mrs. Seebeck!), I began to imagine that image with Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” sky replacing the pasture and I made a very rudimentary attempt in paint during class.

Fast forward thirty years and I was again playing with paint, this time in a fiber arts workshop with Denise Labadie at Hudson River Valley Fiber Arts Workshops. I had bottles of fabric paint, several pieces of canvas fabric, a table and time at my disposal so one afternoon, I gave my own version of “The Starry Night” a try and remarkably, it didn’t turn out that badly. Later this summer and back in my studio, I began stitching over top of the paint, using a variety of variegated threads and short strokes to try and imitate the impressionist technique. I stitched and stitched and stitched until the sky was thick with thread. Then I blew up that original photo so that I could trace the stones from the wall to create a quilting pattern for the foreground. And voila! After 30 years of imaging, my Starry Night became real.

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