I finally got my hands on Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s Double Wedding Ring Quilts: Traditions Made Modern. Ever since I saw her 2013 QuiltCon best of show winner quilt I’ve wanted to know how she made it. Her book answers that question, sort of. I now know this quilt began as a failed quilt top that was chopped up.
Although Wolfe’s quilts are derived from the traditional wedding ring, they use that pattern as a jumping off point. She does, though, include one quilt that is completely traditional, perhaps to show she has those chops. I had to laugh and wince that in college her art quilts were criticized as craft, not art.
Wolfe now lives in the Big Apple, but grew up in Minnesota. Her roots inform her quilts as she interprets items handmade by her grandmother – polyester quilts, crocheted doilies, etc.
This is a very personal book that gives a glimpse into Wolfe’s thought process as she designs. It’s definitely not a pattern book, though you could make your own version of many of the quilts. Paper templates are included. Wolfe strongly encourages her readers to make their own quilts in response to what inspires them and to use failed quilt tops as made fabric. She also urges her readers to build on previous ideas but modify them with each quilt.
It’s also not a book for the novice sewer. There are lots of curved seams, flanges, and the like. General instructions for piecing double wedding ring quilts and for making fabric Wolfe’s way are included. I gather Wolfe uses her AccuQuilt Go cutter to cut out all those finicky arcs and melons. Amazon is asking $80 for that die set alone, and the cutter costs at least $250. That’s not in my budget and I don’t see myself cutting out a lot of arcs and melons by hand.
I hope the book will help me take ideas from a inkling to a quilt. Wolfe pulls bits from her inspiration pieces, but doesn’t try to copy them. And what she pulls often surprises.
From a photo of her grandparents in front of their garden she focused on the irises and produced this.
Which turned into this.
My only real beef with this book is its inclusion of polyester double knit as a viable quilting material. I don’t care that her grandmother made quilts from it, that stuff is evil. Talk about a sauna effect.
Would I make up any of these quilts? Wolfe uses one pattern a few times that seems more doable than some of the others. I like the idea of supersizing the squares.
I like her touches, such as emphasizing some quilting lines with hand embroidery and having the pattern fade in and out.
While I wouldn’t buy this book I’m glad I read it. I love the glimpses into “what was she thinking,” “why did she do that?”
Wolfe’s artistic approach is uniquely hers. I consider her a fiber artist rather than a modern quilter. If you’re at the point of wanting to design your own quilts but aren’t quite sure how to begin, this book would be helpful. For each quilt in the book Wolfe addresses ideas carried over from previous work, the goal for the quilt, adding layers and, most importantly, pushing it further. Those cues apply to any original design, not just wedding ring quilts.
Free Photo Bounty
I’ve been accumulating links to sources of copyright free images, so it’s time I collected them in one place. Many thanks to the bloggers and friends who have shared these sources.
For the Big Kahuna of public domain images try our government. My friend Diane found this site that “lists resources for high-quality public domain photographs.” Mind, that doesn’t mean you can use them restriction free. Check the individual images for details. Barbara, the site’s webmaster, covers a lot more than public domain photographs, so you may want to browse some of the other sections of this site.
Blogger Nina-Marie offers a list of websites with free photos. Some will require you to attribute the photo source(s), but you should do that anyway. Some will ask you to set up a free account. Here’s an image I found through a search for fire escape on Pixabay. Yes, I’m making a quilt with a fire escape. “You can use any Pixabay image without attribution in digital and printed form, even for commercial applications.”
A search for bridge on FreeFoto.com turned up this striking new bridge in Boston. There may be a quilting design in those cables.
Melanie over at Catbird Quilt Studio wries weekly posts about creativity resources. Through her I found the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s searchable online collection and old illustrations on Reusable Art.
To use any images from the Met’s online collection you need to look for the symbol OASC (Open Access for Scholarly Content.) You’ll find it by clicking on the image you’re interested in, and looking under the image. I’ve tried to plow through the verbiage but ended up confused. Here’s my takeaway regarding personal use, from the website:
“Can I download an image with the OASC designation for personal use, for use in a lecture, or for other educational purposes?
Yes, OASC images and other images on the Museum’s website can still be downloaded according to the authorized uses specified in the Terms and Conditions. In addition, digital images of selected works of art from the Museum’s collection may be licensed by educational institutions for study and presentation purposes from Scholars Resource.”
The bottom line with the Met’s online collection is that anything less than 70 years old is almost certainly not usable legally.
On Reusable Art I found a drawing of a sweet gum leaf and fruit done by Mark Catesby in the 1700s. I think it would be charming printed on silk organza.
Finally, if you want to Google for an image, you can limit your search to different levels of usage rights by clicking on search tools once you begin your image search. I limited my bridge search to “labeled for noncommercial reuse” and found the Rock City, Tennessee, swinging bridge from Flickr. Are those people huddled on the bridge planks about halfway across?
Happy searching. Let me know your favorite sources of public domain images.
Filed under Commentary, Inspiration, Project Ideas
Tagged as free photo sources, public domain images