Friday, February 1, 2008

More about the Canmore conference

I'm home answering backlogged email, doing backlogged chores, and sorting out a very messy desk. After five intense days of design classes, I thought I'd be anxious to get to the sewing machine, yet my mind seems to need a break.

I love the pattern I have drawn, and am going to enjoy the construction process, but let me back up a bit.

Before this class we were told to bring several "inspiration photos" of things that grab our attention. We were also told to bring several "color designs" that we like, either from nature or art that has stood the test of time.

In class, we picked from the inspiration photos one that we would like to make into a quilt. We did a simple sketch, loose, not with the detail of the photo. At the same time, we were asked to come up with a basic idea or design concept. This quilt is going to be about _________. This is sort of like a purpose statement.

Then we did several value studies, using our sketch only. We also tried viewfinders to see if a smaller portion would make a better design. All this time, the instructor reviewed principles of good art, good design. We also tried some fracturing. Would the quilt look better cut apart in some way, with the parts rearranged? All decisions regarding value, portions, fracturing etc. were to be made in light of our idea / purpose statement / concept.

After we settled on the size of the quilt, the final value arrangement, and so on, we were to take the color inspiration that we brought and get fabrics in a full range of values for the main colors. Wow, was that fun. I brought several, had to purchase a few, and decided my stash had the rest.

Then the instructor spent a long time telling us about construction methods that would suit our designs. No kidding, this woman (Elizabeth Barton) is good. She brought several designs to the front of the room and gave 5-7 different ways it could be constructed. She told each of us to work in the method that we liked the best, but also gave guidelines. For instance, if we wanted a sense of space in the piece, we should not use raw-edge applique because it tends to make the quilt look flat.

Mine will be done in Ruth McDowell's piecing method. I found it odd that I love that method, but the picture-piecing style of Cynthia England totally frustrates me. Elizabeth B. helped me realize some of the reasons, and even though the two styles are similar, with her help I now know what works for me and why.

After that, I did a detailed drawing in the size that I want the quilt. The sketch is the wrong proportions, so I used folding the sketch and a sheet of freezer paper to make a grid. This allowed me to not only enlarge it to 18" x 40", but also change the proportions.

I've not drawn an entire RM-type pattern (just parts, and have quilted several) but found that process was fun, almost like a puzzle. I've posted my initial sketches as they were on our design boards. Double-click to see detail.

When I take a photo of my drawing, I will post it. Hopefully someone out there will nag me until I finish it!

No comments: