Quilt Sketches

I seem to turn out a lot more quilts than I used to but I think it’s because at least half of what I make are sketches rather than full blown “important” works.  I like working small scale with very limited expectations beyond slap the fabrics together and see what develops. I sometimes set limitations to work within, such as my fabric has to come from my “to be filed” box, or I can use only light colored fabric.

I do try to at least quilt and finish the edges of these works.  I can always use them as quick gifts or pads on a table.

pale_assemblageThe above sketch resulted from the light fabrics only limitation.

Chutes_and_LaddersThis piece came from my box of strips no larger than 2.5 inches by 8 inches. I combined them with brushstroke patterned fabrics.

dark_circle_on_backingThe wonky circles are a technique from Jane LaFazio combined with leftover pre-fused scraps and ribbon remnants.

Sky_and_WaterSky and Water was a practice free motion quilting piece that I turned into a pillowcase.

It seems I’m not the only one who is into quilt sketches.  Gwen Marston chronicled her sketch series in 37 Sketches (published in 2011).  No, I’m not comparing my work to hers. I gather from the one negative review (and the only review) on Amazon and the book’s limited availability that this isn’t her most widely recognized book. You can read more about it at See How We Sew.  Here’s a link to how to order a copy from Gwen.  I haven’t gotten my hands on a copy as no library in the state of Ohio owns it and I don’t know if I want to spend $30 for a 96 page book, however lovely.

While Gwen made small (about 9 by 10 or 11 inch) pieces she completed in a day, I usually spend a few days on each sketch. Also, my pieces tend to be larger, about 13 by 18 or 19 inches, but no larger than 24 by 24 inches. The first rush of design and piecing takes me about a day, and fine tuning and finishing go on for a few more days.  Sometimes this happens in one fell swoop, but I’m more likely to let my first drafts age a few days before revisiting them. A few have been aging in a drawer for years.

Of course, sometimes I never finish the piece as I decide it’s fatally flawed.  Sometimes I reach that conclusion after finishing it. And sometimes I set it aside to use in a larger future piece.

Why do I like doing this?  It’s therapy for me to sew bits of fabric together just to see how they look.  I feel freer to slash through a piece that’s not working and try something else if it’s not a “good” piece.  I get bored easily so a small piece can be finished faster, in theory.  I can work on two or three sketches at the same time.  And they make a nice break when (not if, please note) I get stuck on a larger piece.


Filed under Commentary, In Process, Inspiration, Project Ideas

7 responses to “Quilt Sketches

  1. I enjoyed seeing your creative “therapy” pieces which remind me of modern art. They are lovely! Have you ever visited Wanda Hanson at http://exuberantcolor.blogspot.com/
    If not, I think you would enjoy her blog. Happy winter quilting!

  2. Very interesting-I don’t do this but some of the most successful artists in SAQA do this regularly. I think you are probably learning more than you realize. I like every piece you show and realize there are pieces that might have gone in the trash bin. I enjoyed reading about your process and it makes me realize I need to do this myself. Thanks for the post!

  3. I like your approach. I have a hard time breaking from my “project” orientation, which ties me to doing things that necessarily lead to finished work. BAAAH!!! Instead more time playing with no expectation of outcome would help me in multiple ways.

    btw, I think the second photo with the rosy reds is pretty awewome. How large is that piece?

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