Sunday, March 8, 2015

What if we used journals in order to make meaningful quilts?

Recently I have been curious about art journaling. I love all things paint, have collected many supplies and have wondered if this could be something I'd enjoy doing. However, I feel the tug of making quilts as being a more authentic way of "making" for me. But what if I used the journaling in order to create more personal quilts? I watched a video of Thomas Knauer talking about his process of designing quilts for his family. His aesthetic is very modern and clean,and his quilts are designed with meaning and messages. He successfully created a quilt for his aunt and her same sex partner using quite mundane patchwork in the colors of the gay pride flag, and, in order to represent their marriage, his quilter quilted the pattern of the double wedding ring! Genius! The quilting industry is flooded with quilt kits and matchy fabrics. I don't think it's wrong to make quilts from kits or one line of fabrics, but I think most quilters want to make quilts their own in some way. Tweak the fabric or design, add specialty quilting or embellishments and we're good to go. But some artists do more. They hand dye, draw, paint, add surface design. The ideas are endless. I have taken classes in most. But, I don't seem to stick with them, except for painting an occasional art quilt in the summer. During the "dark night of the soul" times, I turn to traditional piecing. There is peace for me in piecing, ironing, and watching a quilt come together. I like to think about the people they're made for and create with them in mind. I can set aside my personal concerns and think about that loved one. After my best fried and coworker died I designed and quilted several quilts for coworkers who were retiring. It was one of the most prolific times of my life! I had another set back right before Christmas. I fell and damaged my dominant right wrist and elbow. I am unable to play the piano very well at this writing,(a skill I've earned from 6yrs old) BUT! I have figured out what tools and changes were necessary in order to SEW! Even with one hand! Part of the fascination with painting and surface design for me, was the idea that I could make more meaningful quilts if the fabric had more of my marks and showed my "hand." I'm beginning to understand that pieced quilts can also contain our thoughts and ideas yet not necessarily shout at the viewer. I want my meaning to be subtle and sometimes private. How do I go about that? How about thinking visually in a journal? I have collected images and kept an image file then switched to putting them in a large sketchbook. (Sort of pintrest in hard copy.)Last summer I created a folder with inspiring words and images in order to create a painted quilt. Even though the quilt is whimsical, there are deeper meanings behind the images. For example the big swirl is about feeling personal power.
I really enjoyed creating this way and I hope to continue to post about this process. Let me know what you think!

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