How to Set Up A Still Life Display

Posted by Ruth on 26 January 2016 | 0 Comments
This content belongs to Arbee Designs.


Still Life workshop with Ruth BlanchetI took this short excerpt from my Still Life workshop. It gives you some hints and tips on setting up the perfect Still Life display to making your quilt. The class sample uses a vase (lower left photo in image), but all the instructions given can be applied to your own Still Life, and usually students have time to do both; first the class sample and then practice with their own still life project.


"I find it much easier to take photos and draw from the photo rather than the real image.

The vase needs to be divided into different shades of color to make our templates and light is going to play a big part in helping us achieve that. We need enough light, directed from one area, to produce highlights on our object. Avoid having two light sources, especially to begin with. It only adds complications to drawing your templates and selecting the right fabrics.

If possible, use a tripod to set up your camera. This will eliminate any shakiness, which often happens no matter how hard we try to stand still. It also allows you to move the object and position it correctly without losing the position of the camera.

For natural lighting, place your object by a window, preferably in the late afternoon when you will have low, warm light shining onto the object. Do not place your object in direct sunlight. You can use curtains or blinds to experiment with the amount of light that hits your object. Do not be afraid to take a lot of photos, you can always delete the ones you do not need. You do need a bright sunny day for this. Dreary days will not render a good photo to work from.

I used natural light to photograph my vase on a shelf. The shelf was positioned just inside the window so the light source was perfect. The shelf also acts as a deterrent to other light sources hitting the vase from behind and to the side. However, a slight reflection can be seen here. Try to avoid this.

vases for a still life quilt project

Vase photo taken in natural light (left) and spotlight (right)

The use of a spotlight works very well for still life photos. In fact, I find it is often better than using natural light. The spotlight will cast heavier shadows and brighter highlights on your object, thus making it much easier to work with. For the purpose of this class, your main objective is to create highlights and shadows; the more contrast you have, the easier it will be to draw your design."

.... end of excerpt

This is just one short excerpt to help you prepare for the perfect display, I hope you might join me in making your first Still Life quilt.

About Still Life Online Workshop: In this class we will learn to transform similar still life using textiles. We begin by learning to make templates from a photo, which I have supplied or you may use your own. Step by step instructions guide you how to do this with ease using the free graphic program, GIMP. Use graduates of color to create dimension in your still life and then enhance it with thread work. More info...

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