Oh no, I’ve joined a book club to read and learn hands-on about colour! Normally something that would not cause a negative reaction. But, the first thing we are told to do is cut the 150 color card swatches included with the book: The Quilter’s Field Guide to Color : A Hands-On Workbook for Mastering Fabric Selection.
Why do we need to cut up a perfectly new book? It goes against everything I believe! I work in a library, I’m a library technician! I can’t possibly cut up pages!
Cutting up a perfectly fine book (I know I must!) notwithstanding, I am excited to be participating with a small and enthusiastic group of quilters on this project. We are a mixed bunch – some have been quilting for many years and others fairly recently. Some have an art background and many others don’t. I know we will all learn a lot from each other and this experience whether we do or don’t have an art background.
I have a good size collection of fabrics in my stash. Will it suffice for this project without purchasing? I hope so, as I do want to use the colours I have collected without adding any more. My aim is a deficit, not surplus.
Helen studied art at the Stourbridge College of Art in the UK and the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. Using textiles as her medium, she began creating quilts in traditional designs. She quickly grew tired of creating quilts using repetitious blocks and discovered the work of quilter Ruth McDowell from her book Piecing: Expanding the Basics. Helen had never seen pictorial quilts such as hers; it was immediately apparent that quilting could be a medium for producing representative works of art.
Ruth McDowell had written a series of books explaining her techniques on designing, piecing, selecting fabrics and quilting in her unique style. Her books included specific patterns to help the novice begin creating and Helen began with these. The vegetable placemats were a great way to learn McDowell’s techniques of drafting and sewing together the pieces in sections.
While still learning, Helen began to modify McDowell’s published designs and moved components around to create her own personalized designs. The Hollyhock wallhanging is one example illustrating McDowell’s flower pattern arranged by Helen.
The Trillium quilts were one of the first designs Helen drafted and stitched from her own photograph. Creating a series of trillium quilts allowed Helen to play with colour and practice her free motion quilting. Each piece is decidedly different due to the colour and value choices, an important design aspect, which is covered in the course.
Learning how to piece curved seams, Y and even Z seams provides an opportunity to design quilt tops that look more detailed than they are.
The design process starts with either a photographic image or drawing. Using tracing paper over an enlarged copy of your photograph, lines are drawn to capture the essence of the image. Parts of the original photograph can be omitted or simplified, it’s up to the artist to decide what level of detail they want to include. Fabrics choices can do a lot of the work in creating a realistic image.
The Complex Design and Piecing workshop is a great opportunity to learn some new techniques, make new friends and enjoy a week with others artists at a great venue.
I’ve finally started laying out the blocks for the Fabric Fusion quilt designed by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr of Modern Quilt Studio. I started this quilt in a class I took with Weeks Ringle at QuiltCon in 2013.
We spent quite a bit of the class learning about value, saturation and fabric selection. We were encouraged to bring an assortment of fabrics to the class, including fabrics we loved, hated, from different genres. Weeks spent time with each person, going through the fabrics, selecting and eliminating from the pile to come to a beautifully curated collection. I learned a lot and it opened up new ideas about fabric selection. I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to take a workshop from either Weeks or Bill to do so. They are excellent instructors with a breadth of knowledge in the field of design. They are also very lovely people, genuine and sincere.
The Fabric Fusion pattern is available through their website. Have any of you completed any quilt designs from the Modern Quilt Studio?