Joan Brailsford – Music

Old music of the deep woods

Inspiration: I thought about the old stories of fairies and sprites who live in the deep dark woods, and I wondered if they might make the curious sounds of the woods.

I have always liked fairy stories and I wanted to finish my ‘trees’ series by imagining a woodland spirit, and I depicted him playing a violin to further imagine the music he makes giving a quiet woodland its special sounds. I used a space-dyed fabric to make the woodland background and used fern leaves to print with green acrylic paint. I then added a layer of transfer-printed organza to the bottom 2/3 of the background to give the hazy light filtering down to the woodland floor, followed by applique tree trunks. I used a commercial leaf block to print again on top of this to add more depth. I traced a picture of an old elf clothed in leaves, and pieced the image together on Tissuetex before applying it to the background.

The quilting was done by hand and consisted of shadow stitching around the figure, the tree trunks and the gold leaves. I used some silk fibres at the bottom of the piece to give the impression of mossy earth. I then added some finer branches, fern details, woodland plants and grass, then tiny gold French knots in the open areas to suggest ‘fairy dust’ falling magically down. After adding the binding I continued some of the fine branches and grassy plants to the edges of the piece.

Close up views:


  1. Truly magical scene, Joan. Now, every time in the forest I will see these little musicians everywhere 🙂

  2. WOW, that little creature makes magical music. Love all hand stitches texture!

  3. And all hand stitched! Joan this is a lovely end to you tree theme, I love the idea of little people playing in the depths of the forest. The detail of the little guy is delightful!


    A really well designed piece ! I also love the atmosphere of fairy tales and your quilt reflects
    this special atmosphere very well.

  5. A skillful interpretation of the theme, the colours are perfect for the forest.

  6. Just love this, the little man, the trees and background, the subtle colors and the whole setting, hand stitched, a grand finale of your forest series Joan!

  7. The setting and this little person are so charming! The leaves add diminsion to your overall composition.

  8. studiociboulette

    This is so much fun and a wonderful fairy tale quilt. I can hear the music in the woods. Beautiful colors, stitching and composition. I love it!

  9. A lovely finale to your trees series. The little musician looks perfect in his setting – and I love the idea of fairy dust.

  10. Again one of your wonderful tree quilts. I love the dreamy illusion you created by the soft pastel colours and the transfer painted organza. As always so much detail and beautiful stitching. Awesome.

  11. Such a magical and whimsical interpretation of music. Love all the depth, detail, texture and beautiful hand stitching. What a delightful end to your tree series Joan!

  12. This is a perfect end of your tree series. So much details and lovely “fairy” colors. This can immediately be used in a fairy-tale book.

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