My tools: a ready camera, Photoshop, fusible web, value graded fabrics, very, very sharp scissors and a sewing machine that does fine appliqué. My preference is commercial fabrics in small prints as they add texture and create even more interest when the viewer approaches and can examine the individual fabrics. I use limited quilting within the portrait, preferring to use it only to help the darker values recede and the lighter values come forward. Outline quilting and more dense quilting of the background results in a portrait that appears to come forward.
Quilting is a meditation where I lose myself in the process, lose awareness of the heat or cold or noise or chaos in the studio, coming out of the cocoon still fresh from the experience and ready to return as life permits.