Saturday, April 11, 2009


Think outside the box.

I invite you all to take a chance this month and try something you've never done before.

Find one, make something.

How do you make a quilt?
Do you slave over books til you find one that you have to have, then make it?
Do you buy a pattern because it's easier?
Do you search for the perfect block and make as many of them as you can?
Do you Get inspired by a color
then go buy every color in the fabric shop of that color?
Do you see something that inspires you, take the idea, and turn it into something completely unique?

Try something new:

Have you made a quilt that is NOT a pattern, or already in existence?
Have you ever just taken a pile of scraps and just sewn them together without thinking about the end product?
Have you made Tonya's wonky houses or letters?
Have you taken a painting that inspired you and
translated it into the feeling it gives you?

Have you made/designed your own fabric?
Have you Free pieced? machine pieced? hand quilted? Machine Quilted?
Have you collaborated with someone else to make a quilt together?
Have you ever made a crazy quilt?
Or even just a crazy block?

Have you used the backs of fabrics?
Have you sewn with seams on the outside?
Do you constantly use bright vibrant colors? have you tried dark colors?

DO you always make flowery happy little blocks?
Have you tried going hard edge modern & simple?

In the last week I have had conversations about various things in art... One with my daughter about how to draw. Which related to HOW TO SEE, and how to look at modern art.
What book illustrations inspired me as a kid
How can we hang onto that free thinking kids have?

All of these things relate to the same thing.

One doesn't need to draw to be an artist but an artist needs to know how to SEE.

And sometimes NOT SEE.

Something I was taught in High school before going on to art college, was
Blind drawing.

We sat face to face with a classmate, looked at them, while holding a piece of paper in one hand over out drawing surface, and the pencil in the other. Doing this meant, we would not be able to see out paper, and our pencil moved where our EYES did, as our eyes traveled over every inch of the person we were looking at.

Doing this meant, eyes would over lap, your nose might be where the ear should be, their head would be stretched out etc. And the more you did
these, the better they got, and surprising that sometimes, if you looked REALLY hard, you could get a drawing pretty identifying of the person, just by the finest of details you noticed as you LOOKED.

Not that you could do that making a quilt. You need to look, but,
it gave you a NEW Way to look at things.

How can you, knowing what you know about quilts, break out of your box,
and make something more free, different and or exciting?

Like free writing, where you let your mind wander and let it go down the twisty road our minds can travel.

Because you don't have to draw to be an artist.
You don't have to follow a pattern to make a quilt.
You don't have to make the same quilt over and over.

How can you look differently at your materials and try something new?

I asked myself, my niece, my daughter and my mother to design a block. I've not given them any other information, no rules, to see what they will
come up with. I have rcvd the drawings, and am excited! Now I will take them and make 4 blocks of each, and then make 4 lap quilts, one for each of them.

Letting someone who know nothing about quilts, is sort of like blind drawing! I had no idea what I was going to get. You may find a Happy surprise! I sure did!

Next week, I'll post the drawings.

Let me know how you can break out of the box.

Happy Saturday.
Happy Seeing!


  1. I will try to take your challenge. You must have had an exceptional art teacher in high school. I hope I was that kind of influence on my students (middle school). Over the years I did get some letters from former students who helped me feel that I did reach some. I'm sure you are opening up your daughter's eyes to see art.

  2. I love this as an extension of our emails this week. I'm going to think about how to next stretch myself. (There are so many ways to choose from!)

  3. It's a challenge all right - anytime we break out of our comfort zone it's freeing (after the fear subsides).

    Strange for me that you posted this today - I just finished my first ever thread painting. I've always wanted to try it but I just didn't know where to start. This afternoon I decided to just do it. So I went small and I pieced together a landscape and painted it. I loved every second of it and I'm pleased with the final product. I really felt like I was expressing while I was creating. I'll post about it this week after I get a good photo shot.

    Also - tomorrow we are going to see that Maya Lin exhibit at Storm King and I thought of you.


  4. I've done all those things except for made a quilt inspired by a painting and leaving the seams exposed. I'd have a much harder time if you were asking had I ever followed a pattern exactly ;-) love that wall and your family quilt sounds really fun.

  5. An inspiring, thought provoking post!

  6. that is an interesting challenge...have to think about it

  7. V, Inspiring words. I know from personal experience that trying something new is an exciting process and more often than not takes you to a place you that is unexpected and yields results that are often surprising. I can't wait to see your family project. What a great idea! I have one I'm working on with my mother. (She's done with her part and I'm the one that is behind.) You have inspired me as usual! Happy Quilting!

  8. Great challenge! As a kid I never wanted to grow up and stop seeing! Too late. :) I've had an idea for something new--the drawing is tacked on the shelf above my sewing machine reminding me of how chicken I am!


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