Thoughts on Designing…

I spent a good chunk of the weekend working on a baby quilt for my niece Jamie, who is due in May, but the shower is in three weeks. I have a pleasing design – kind of a cross between an I Spy quilt, with lots of dog fabrics, and an Attic Window design. Plus some of the fabrics from her sister’s first baby quilt are also included.

Carie’s quilt was a Bottle quilt, a very definite pattern with lots of paper piecing (you can see the picture on the website.

I wanted this one to be more of a unique design. I like designing original quilt patterns, with some elements of tradition, mixed with unusual fabrics. I had thoughts a number of years ago about designing a line of patterns that would use our marbled fabrics, but I had trouble getting the patterns pass a potential distributor – nothing really creative about them. I ended up selling the rights to a web designer, so I made my money back.

Traditional patterns have an appeal, because I like to use different fabrics, and then practice my quilting skills on the finished top. I do a lot of fiber art with the marbled fabrics that are more art pieces, but the quilts enable me to practice actual quilting skills and try some new materials.

Speaking of materials, there was an interesting section in the book Art and Fear in chapter 2 about the use of our materials. When you work with fiber – fabric, threads, battings, and all the rest – you have to take into account all the specific properties of the materials. What if the threads don’t work for quilting, do you have the right needles, what about tension for newer threads, and the like. I think one of the things I like is the variety of materials – more than just “tubes” of paint, although rationally I know there’s lots to be said about various colors and tubes.

Now that I am back on an even keel with my art, and feeling lots better, I am getting more time in for art. I want to finish this quilt, finish the beading on the “Road” piece, and get started on the glacier piece for the Cordova, Alaska show. Lots to do!!

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