The Humans Are Dead

The Humans are Dead – Art with Fabric {Blog Hop}

Blog Hop, Quilts

Alida @Tweety Loves Quilting contacted me early in the year with an idea for a blog hop. Her idea was to host an “Art with Fabric” hop where quilters would explore the endless possibilities of art-inspired quilted pieces. After much hemming and hawing on my part (I was plagued with thoughts like, “I am not an art quilter” and “Would I even have time to participate” and “I am not an art quilter”), I finally found some inspiration and committed. Alida has done a wonderful job of organizing all of us, and I am really looking forward to seeing what everyone else has created.

I have so much to say about the mini quilt I created, so we might as well get right to it, right? I am so excited to share with you “The Humans are Dead”.

The Humans Are Dead
The Humans Are Dead

My art inspiration for this quilt comes from Josef Albers’ art work, Variant. Josef created many versions of Variant, and below is a small gallery of images that I curated to start the project.

After being introduced to Josef Albers’ work by Michelle @Factotum of Arts and reminded of how my transparency quilts have similar parallels to his color theory work by Carla @Granny Maud’s Girl, I have spent some time this year learning more about Albers.

Josef Albers has long been hailed as a master of modern art, since his days at the famed Bauhaus, first as a student and then as a master teacher. Emigrating to the United States in the 1930s, Albers continued to teach and inspire students for the rest of his career. In this capacity he influenced many student artists, such as Robert Rauschenberg and Eva Hesse, at major art schools such as Yale University and Black Mountain College. His texts on color theory are primary reading even today.

As an artist, Albers strictly practiced what he preached. The color balance experiments he began in his Variants painting series fully blossomed with the Homage to the Square series of oil on masonite paintings, which have come to symbolize his oeuvre. Josef Albers also explored dimensional and structural relationships in a number of drawings, prints, and engraved vinylite panels called Structural Constellations.

Celestial Lights Palette

What really sealed the deal for me in terms of participating in the Art for Fabric blog hop was my curated Celestial Lights Palette of Painter’s Palette Solids for the Mad for Solids March Madness elimination bracket sponsored by Paintbrush Studio Fabrics. Once I had the Celestial Lights fat quarter bundle in hand, I remembered Albers and went looking for inspiration.

The Humans Are Dead
The Humans Are Dead

The Humans Are Dead is made using Painter’s Palette Solids (121-073 Sangria, 121-008 Royal, 121-038 China Blue, and 121-040 Bright Aqua). For the binding, I used Andover Chambray in Ocean that has a fabulous depth in the cross weave upon close inspection.

The Humans Are Dead
The Humans Are Dead

Due to the very angular nature of the quilt top, I felt that straight line quilting was definitely going to be the way to go for this quilt. I pulled coordinating 50wt Aurifil thread: 2735 (Medium Blue), 1125 (Medium Teal), 5005 (Bright Turquoise), and 2530 (Blossom Pink). I started with 2735 by outlining the Royal blue fabric, as it is in the center of the quilt and a continuous outline. Then I quilted straight lines about every half inch. It didn’t feel complete, so I cut that in half, and then in half again.

The Humans Are Dead
The Humans Are Dead

When I transitioned to quilting the China Blue with 1125, I quilted at half the density that I did in the first section. That allowed me to come back and fill in between with 5005 as I was quilting the Bright Aqua. I love how the thread blends together to help create a tonal effect in the quilt as well. I started thinking about the quilting lines as my “brush strokes” and tried not to sweat the inevitable bit of Wabi-Sabi irregularity that creeps in.

The Humans Are Dead
The Humans Are Dead

After I had pieced the quilt top, it lived on my design wall for a few days as I prepared to quilt it. My husband made a comment in passing one day that the design had a “robotic look” to it. Because I spent many hours very up close to the quilt as I was quilting (those lines are very close together!), that comment kept reverberating in my mind. And slowly those Sangria eyes started to look more and more shifty and sinister. Which made me think of the Flight of the Conchords song, The Humans are Dead (warning: explicit language). And once the connection was made, I couldn’t stop singing binary solos, and the name for the quilt just stuck.

The Distant Robotic Future (The Year 2000): The Humans Are Dead
The Distant Robotic Future (The Year 2000): The Humans Are Dead

Which all culminates in this most fun and awesome photo shoot of the mini quilt in my husband’s machine shop. He spent time getting dials and gauges and knobs positioned just so… and I find it eery just how robot like the whole thing turned out.


Many thanks to Alida for organizing this event. I definitely felt stretched in a good way and I am looking forward to seeing how everyone else interpreted the challenge. I hope you join me in visiting everyone else participating in the blog hop, which is outlined in the schedule below.

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?


  • Thanks so much Yvonne for taking me down memory lane to the Flight of the Concords. Crazy funniness right before work is sure to make my day go well. I hadn’t heard this particular song.I hear what you are saying about not being an art quilter I say it all the time as well. Great interpretation of Albers. I need to put that colour reference book on a wish list for my birthday or something.

  • It’s a wonderful quilt and the last photo does indeed make it seem just a bit creepy. Great work with the quilting too. I am going to follow along on the blog hop as I am sure there will be other quilts as inspiring as yours.

  • YESS!! I knew that title sounded familiar. Hubby and I love Flight of the Conchords. It really does look like a robot to me, and it’s awesome! It kind of looks like he’s squinting at you and judging you. 😀 Your quilting is beautiful, and I love how you varied up the colors as you went. Thanks for the background on Albers, too!

  • The machine shop photo is awesome, I love how the colors of the quilts are in stark contrast to the machinery. I love the dense straight line quilting and the mix of thread colors, it definitely gives the impression of brush strokes.

  • It does have a robot vibe, but those colors! I love Josef Albers art, not one to shy away from amazing colors. You always come up with the perfect quilting for all your quilts Yvonne, this is no exception!

  • Love Albers and your interpretation of him. Turquoise and red is a favorite color scheme of mine. I did enjoy reading about your fabric as well. I enjoyed the title…

  • Good Morning Yvonne! Your Art Quilt is amazing! I totally enjoyed reading your post and discovering the how and whys and the very interesting information on your choice. Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring once again!

  • Really enjoyed learning about your quilt. When I read the title of your post it took me a bit to relate the quilt name with the quilt, but then I saw a “robot” face! Albers’s work with color is so interesting and I love your interpretation. Really clever quilting, too.

  • Yvonne, I never heard about Josef Albers! For me that is one of the fun parts of this blog hop, I read about painters I never heard of. I googled Albers today and I must read and see more of him. Your Variant of his Variant is a real master piece to. I love the colors and the quilting. Very inspiring!

  • Love it!! Everything about it …down to the pic in the workshop (hadn’t thought of using my husband’s tools as a backdrop!!). I also looked up your link to Wabi-Sabi – I like that very much and will try to remember myself.

  • Enjoyed learning about your inspirational artist, Josef Albers. My knowledge of artists have certainly grown since the start of this Hop. Your quilt is awesome and I enjoyed reading about your creative process.

  • I absolutely love your piece! I am usually not a big fan of solids or these kind of geometric designs, but since I started looking at Alber’s work few months ago for a pillow I made, I started to change my mind… and you piece is definetly contributing to make me really love for this aesthetic. Thanks for participating to the hop… and btw I struggled with the same “I am not an art quilter” myself, but I decided to push myself past the labels and organize the hop 🙂 I am just learning so many things, that labels really do not matter to me anymore!

  • The moment I saw your quilt, I felt like I recognized it and then remembered that I saw Josef Albers Homage to the Square at our local art museum. You really captured the feel of his work, but what I like best is your careful use of the colors and distancing of the quilting lines. I have to say though, that I burst out laughing when I read where you got the name, and my husband–curious–came to see what I was looking at. We spent the next half hour looking at the Flight of the Conchords episode with that song. We loved that show, but I had forgotten that we had the DVD. Thanks for the reminder of the show, the earworm (I think) and the great photo at the end of your post. And, let me just say you ARE an art quilter, Yvonne.

  • This is fascinating Yvonne! You chose the perfect combination of inspiration, color and quilting. The quilting really is like a layer of brushstrokes over the piecing. I agree with Carla that there are parallels between Albers color theory work and your adventures with transparency.
    That photo shoot could not be more perfect for The Humans Are Dead.

  • I love the last picture of this quilt, it looks like you made the perfect face for a robot machine. Your quilting is awesome, the texture the matchstick adds is amazing!

  • I really enjoyed this post: great story, I love the inspiration, always like a bit of process info and really like your finished quilt a lot. And, like other commenters, I think your on location photo is fantastic. Good job all round.:-)

  • I thought it looked robotic at first glance as well. I love how you found an artist more your style and how you used the different colors of thread.

  • Although you’re not an art quilter in the arty farty sense your quilts are I think leaning towards a particular arts style . Very clean cut , linear lines , bold and dramatic
    Love that Concords song too (damn autotype )

  • The machine shop picture is fantastic! The robotic look of the quilt is fun, especially since the colours aren’t necessarily what we think of when we think ‘robot’.

  • I didn’t ‘get’ the name of this one until that last photo and your bit of background, but with that it does look kind of sinister up on the machine back drop. I think if it were hanging up in my bedroom it might give me a few bad dreams now – of it basically coming to life and taking over the world! Right up till near the end of your post I was just admiring how well you’d interpreted Albers into a quilt and how effective your dense quilting was, but now the robotic thing has taken over!

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)