I never seem to run out of ideas and inspiration for starting another quilt.
A year ago this past spring, I was selected to be the featured artist for The Art of Nature, the Bruckner Nature Center’s major fund-raising event and auction, which takes place every year in mid-October. The nature center is located on the bank of the scenic Stillwater River in Troy, Ohio near where I grew up.
Much of my color sense and many of my quilts (even the traditional ones) are inspired by nature, and the Center had never had a quilter or fiber artist as the featured artist. So even though I knew that the requirements involved donating a relative piece of artwork for the auction and a public presentation (on stage!), I was thrilled to have the opportunity to start another nature inspired quilt.
For me designing and making my donation quilt was the fun and easy part, though in my usual manner, I started the quilt in late July and finished on the Friday before the event!
My landscape inspired quilts are not photo-realistic. I don’t do raw-edge applique and fusing. I prefer to work traditionally, with machine-pieced seams and needle-turned applique by hand.
And though I don’t do photo realistic designs, I do shoot and use all of my own photography for reference. I use the photos I shoot for inspiration and to capture the naturally occurring colors and elements of nature that I find hard to determine how to depict. Working with the photos gives me a reference for how things are connected, where the edges meet, what stands out, what to keep and what to discard relevant to color and shape.
My process for making this type of quilt is very fluid and very reactive. I use a design wall and as I select and pin up swatches to determine fabric placement, I also shoot photos of my designs in process. For me, looking at the photo on the digital screen of the camera automatically compresses the information and at the small size it’s easier to evaluate the color, contrast and fabric choices. I can then also experiment with changing fabric placements and if I decide that I liked the previous version better, I have an image for reference.
Best of all, after I have finished my quilt and even if I no longer own it, I have a wonderful pictorial record of its making.
I finished this piece by eliminating the binding and leaving a wide border on all edges so that I could wrap the quilt onto a wooden frame for hanging.
What inspires you to quilt? How do you come up with ideas, and how do you make the time? Why do you quilt?
Check out the latest Quilters Newsletter, always inspirational and full of new reasons to make another quilt.