2011 didn’t end on a very positive note. I found out that the show I had been preparing for was no longer on the gallery schedule. It had fallen through the cracks when the curator I was working with left. And I had assumed everything was set when it was not. So after a little pity party I realized that I was no longer working under a deadline and I could take some time to play. Coincidentally I had just received my copy of Rayna Gillman’s new book “Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts”. I love Rayna’s first book “Create Your Own Hand-Painted Cloth” so I was really looking forward to her new book.
I read the book straight through and the one thing than kept coming through was that there were no mistakes, just opportunities. Definitely an attitude I want to work on. I’ve always found non-representational art to be a challenge. I’m drawn to it but in the past have been less than happy with my attempts.
Following Rayna’s instructions I got out my box of my own hand-dyes, including the over dyes that still didn’t correct the problem, my screen prints, my own batik, block printing, etc. All the stuff that was so much fun to do but the finished fabric just didn’t fit into my palette for my nature inspired work. And there is rather a lot of it. I grabbed some other fabrics–batiks and prints, and a few practice blocks and started to cut it all up. What fun.
The first challenge was putting away my ruler. I have worked with strip sets quite often (look at my masthead image) and for the past couple years have used a lot of insertion technique in my backgrounds. But always with a ruler and the results were very geometric. Cutting free was the first freeing technique. I had never tried curved piecing (I was never a traditional quilter so I missed out on some of the techniques) but Rayna’s technique was easy to follow especially when she assured me that a 1/4″ seam allowance was not a requirement! I had a blast with my first strip set.
I’m not sure how much I like the first block. I like the colors. I have put it away for now to be part of something else. And the unsuccessful screen print will like be part of it too.
The second block was another story. I loved it and went on to finish it–its quilted and stretched on a frame:
I made some of what Rayna calls traditional strip sets. Here’s a couple of them:
They’ll come in handy.
I started on another set of blocks. Then tried out some potential backgrounds:
The strip set wasn’t doing anything for it so I tried a batik that had the same feel:
Not only was it too busy but I realized the blocks were too balanced and …..boring! So I chopped it!
This background is better but its just too dark for me.
I liked this one better. Glad I am using the camera to see what I like.
Now it is pieced and on the design wall while I decide whether or not it is done. I can always slice it again. And I need to consider how I am going to stitch.
Can you tell I am having fun? Gotta run. Need to pick up some plastic boxes to organize my scraps and set. Get Rayna’s book & find out why!