Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Improvisational Design

How do you design your art quilts?  Do you draw or sketch first and make a pattern?  Do you have a mental image that you work toward creating, but not a specific plan?  Do you start with a basic idea and let it build from there?  Sue says she more or less falls into the last category and calls her method improvisational design.  Sometimes it involves sketching, other times just a mental vision.  She will start putting pieces together, and let it evolve from there.  Was there a plan for her recent "Falling Leaves" quilt?  Not at all!  In fact, after the background was created, she went through many options before deciding on the final arrangement.  Here's a look at how it evolved.
Two pieces of fabric formed the basis for this 8 x 10 piece - both were printing samples with fall leaves.  Time was short, so starting with already printed fabrics helped speed the process, and use up a small bit of the stash.
After layering with fusible fleece, the orange sections were quilted with matchstick quilting, a technique she had seen and wanted to try.  Then the leaf areas were free motion quilted.
Next came determining a focal point.  You might think that should come sooner, and perhaps it should, but it didn't in this case.  One choice considered was adding a bird, but the scale was off and it didn't really relate, so sticking with the fall leaf theme, Sue turned to leaf images she had for screen printing.  In order to add variety, she chose a pin oak leaf that was not in the background fabrics and decided to make it in 3 different sizes.
The leaves were printed on hand dyed fabrics in black, had fusible web applied to the back, and then were cut out to make appliques.
Then came the next challenge - how to arrange them on the background!  Who knew there were so many options?  Tomorrow, a look at the many choices.

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