Aniko Feher Workshop: From Photo to Quilt


I signed up for this class because I love portrait quilts and had no idea how to make them. The supply list for this class is annoying long — including acetate, fine point Sharpies, freezer paper, Saral transfer paper, Steam a Seam 2 light, and water color pencils. We also needed a photo enlarged to 8×10 or 11×14.

The instructor was Aniko Feher. You can see her work at: She also gave a lunch lecture, which I missed because I stupidly mixed up the dates, and I heard her lecture was excellent.

I thought it would be cool to make a portrait quilt for my website and Facebook page. So I had my daughter take a photo. Well, that was humbling. Nothing like seeing your wrinkles, jowells and double chin up close. But I persevered.

My original portrait

This is a 2-day class. I did not enjoy Day 1 at all. It is very tedious, where you outline the shadings in your photo onto acetate and then make 2 copies of the acetate. (Let me interject that the copying was a royal pain … anyone with a size great than 8×10″ had to leave the hotel and find a copy shop to do the copying.) On the other hand, my 8×10″ portrait did not require a field trip for copying … but I soon discovered that it is MUCH easier to do a larger photo because your shaded areas are bigger.

The next step is to decided on a base color for the face. Aniko sells kits containing five 8×10″ pieces of coordinating flesh tones. Each kit costs $15 (I thought that was pretty expensive) and I bought two kits because I was too fair to use the darker colors in the kit.

Some of the flesh-toned fabrics

Once you have the colors, you assign a color to each bubble in your face. The next step is to to make a freezer paper pattern of each piece, then attach the pattern to fused flesh-colored fabric. As I said before, the process is tedious and not fun.

Day 2 was adding on to the face. We inserted the eyes, teeth, lips and hair. The project looked much better. Details were added using water color pencils. (My camera was not working, so unfortunately I don’t have any progress photos.)

It is always interesting to see an instructor’s style. Some (like John Flynn) give you steps 1 through 25 in a lecture and I manage to forget 24 of these steps when I get back to my sewing machine. Aniko gives you one step at a time. I would have preferred to have a project overview first. She was very helpful. This is NOT a good project for someone who has never fused before.

I finished my project and was very pleased with it. So I have mixed feelings about the class. It is probably my least favorite class in terms of instruction and enjoyment. However I seldom like the quilts that I make in class, and I am absolutely thrilled with my finished quilt. I am amazed at what I accomplished in 2 days.

My final self portrait (not yet quilted)


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