“Matteo 2014” in Short Order

by Sandra Bruce

Very much wanting to try a Matrix quilt in black and white,  I saw this photo of my son Matteo and knew it was perfect for the job. Nice contrasts, good composition, and interesting value changes. Plus it’s a good picture of him! I also wanted to try a 50-inch format, which proved to be a perfect size for this technique.

Screen shotMP B:W photo copy


Below is my first in-progress photo, taken on May 6th. Yup, I was a possessed woman for about 2-1/2 months working on this project!



I made a couple of “artistic license” decisions, including making the left side/top background white so that I could use easily found fabrics in white with black prints for the edge of the hair.


As with my Self-Portrait I had a lot of fun with the curly hair an using a wide variety of prints.







I knew before I even got started that the eyes would be the most challenging, and I did them over a couple of times to get them right. People don’t have perfectly matching eyes anyway, and capturing the right “look” requires some trial and error. I decided to make the pupils by appliqueing black circles by hand, using my Perfect Circles. (the highlights, absolutely necessary, were added at the end using white acrylic paint)



It’s funny how you always start out with neat piles of fabric and a wide working area and before you know it you’re throwing fabric over your shoulder because there’s no room for it and you’re working in a tiny space!



Here I am getting close to done. This is June 12, only about 5 weeks since I started. My poor family didn’t see much of me especially in the evenings.


Top done! Now, to the long-arm.




Threads selected, and a shot of the back. Since Matteo is crazy about bikes, I put bike wheel fabric on the back, along with a strip of gradated fabrics I used on the front. There’s 15 bars since he is 15 years old.IMG_7189


ere’s the finished piece with a couple of close-up shots. I very much enjoyed this challenge! I loved working in the absence of color, but I’m ready now to go back to it and am planning my next Matrix piece.

I have space left in my workshop at Zephyr Cove in September if you want to try this technique, contact me if you’re interested! In the meantime, happy summer and stay cool.

smaller file MP2014 copyIMG_7201IMG_7263

18 thoughts on ““Matteo 2014” in Short Order

  1. Wow Sandra, This is amazing! A sure prize winner. His facial expression is so typical of teenagers    Sharon Johnson

  2. Great job! It was interesting to see the quilt top come to life as you added to it. I don’t think I have the patience to do one of these quilts; but I think they look awesome!!

  3. Maravilhoso !!! Tudo de ótimo !!! Parabéns zilhões de vezes !!!! Não tenho palavras para descrever tanto talento !!!
    Wonderful !!! Everything great !!! Congratulations zillions of times !!!! I have no words to describe so much talent !!!

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