Category Archives: Design

Playing for inspiration

Breaking a Creative Block

Last week I was working on a challenge quilt that was giving me trouble because I was way over thinking. I can almost hear some of you saying “Wow, that is not at all like you”. To which I reply, that there is no need for sarcasm.   So back to my point.  I started several times but rejected idea after idea for a variety of reasons – too complex, too simple, too uninspired (or uninspiring), too cliché (I know, what does that even mean?). My usual strategy of putting it aside and coming back to it wasn`t working but I was determined to finish the challenge by the quickly-looming deadline.

Applying learning

I finally decided that it was time to shake things up and try a different approach. The challenge assignment that I am completing is for an online course in Colour and Composition taught by Katie Pasquini Masopust.

As it happens, I took a workshop with Katie PM through the Mahone Bay Quilt Guild last spring. The workshop was called Watercolour to Quilt. Over two days, we experimented with a variety of watercolour techniques including blowing with straws, using bubbles, and painting small objects like sample cups as stamps. We then isolated a section of one of the watercolour pieces and used it as the basis for a quilt. It was lots of fun and also rather surprising. I do not count painting or drawing among my skills and was a little sceptical that I would be able to ‘paint’ a design but, in fact, all of the participants created unique and interesting quilt designs.

This seemed a good time for me to break out the paints and give it another go. Rather than randomly painting with all the colours of my limited palette, I decided that I would select a picture from my digital collection and use it to create a colour scheme. Rather than risk going down a rabbit hole of analysis for a picture selection, I created my own randomizer and chose a number to lead me to a folder in my pictures then looked at the number of pictures in the file and chose one for my colour scheme. Fortunately, I ended up with this picture as my inspiration.   I say fortunately because I love the colours here.

My initial colour inspiration
My initial colour inspiration

Playing for inspiration

I spent maybe an hour playing with paint then isolated a section of one of the pictures and used it as inspiration. In the end, I chose not to turn the design into an exact pattern but to use it more for a general guideline.

As I mentioned, I have a limited selection of watercolour paints.  I chose green and red and made tints of colour to try to come close to what was in the chosen picture.  When they dried, I identified the slightly modified results in my Joen Wolfrem colour tool (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY7qF9tOCeU) and identified them as blue green and blue red.  This happens to be a complementary colour scheme of two colours opposite each other on a colour wheel (in this case, a 24-segment colour wheel).

This is my resulting quilt.  It is not exactly the original colour scheme but the influence is there for sure.

Finished quilt.  The challenge was to include  lost-and-found lines and engaged edges
Finished quilt. The challenge was to include lost-and-found lines and engaged edges

Finding new ideas

If you haven’t tried some creative play, I highly recommend it.  This activity was a change for me and took me out of my head.  The experiment resulted in a quilt that was a very different style for me. I am very happy with the results.

Have you tried playing to break a creative block? What did you do? We’d love to read your stories and/or see your resulting creations so please share.

Patchwork Stories

My Patchwork Story

I have mixed feelings towards making patchwork quilts.  I enjoy the history and tradition of the art and it does appeal to my perfectionist tendencies.  Ironically, these are the same things that can contribute to my more ambivalent feelings toward this type of work.  Sometimes the number of traditional patterns generated makes it feel harder to do something new or unique.  This, of course, is not true as talented designers are constantly created new approaches and new variations. Continue reading Patchwork Stories

WIP – Improv Quilting

Improvisation and Quilting

I don’t know if it is a new trend or just something that I have recently become aware of in magazines and online articles but I have been seeing more discussions describing ‘improv quilting’ as a style.  It seems to me that that it is more accurately described as a process than a style.  To me, it makes more sense to think of it as a way to create, try new approaches – and mix things up a little.

Continue reading WIP – Improv Quilting

Random Thoughts: The Satisfied Customer

 

This post was written by Stephen Parsons.

Why do we do it? Why do art and craft entrepreneurs put their products and reputation out there in the marketplace? Business objectives are different for each business owner, I guess, but some  would seem more important than others. But how important is profit as an objective compared to other – perhaps more altruistic – objectives?

Piper – apparent satisfied customer

While profit and the need to express one’s artistic creativity and passion are goals we might think at the top of the list, Continue reading Random Thoughts: The Satisfied Customer

WIP: Studio (re)Organization     

This post was written by Mary Elizabeth O’Toole

Organizing a creative work space can be a challenge.  Keeping it organized even more so. Even when everything has its place, there are often times when not everything is in its place. At any given time there might be projects in different stages of completion, tools that were recently used Continue reading WIP: Studio (re)Organization     

Tech Tuesday: Basic Photo Editing

This post was written by Mary Elizabeth O’Toole

Increasingly my quilting preference is realistic art quilts from photos.  Photography has been a hobby since I bought my first SLR camera in high school. We don’t need to discuss how many years ago that was. I have progressed from that first camera, a well-loved and well used K-100 Pentax work horse, through a series of digital cameras Continue reading Tech Tuesday: Basic Photo Editing

Tech Tuesday: The Laser

Today’s post is written by Stephen Parsons

In an earlier post we mentioned that we had bought a laser engraver from Gearbest – our first – to supplement some of the work in our shop, notably things like small engraving tasks and marking cuts for the band saw and scroll saw. Now that we have it together, I thought it might be a good time to bring you up to speed on our success (and challenges) to date. Continue reading Tech Tuesday: The Laser

Something Whimsical

Today’s post is written by Stephen Parsons.

People who are new to woodworking and those who view it from the perspective of an external observer may think of woodworking as being somewhat an homogeneous field of work. But there are many styles and perspectives of woodworking; what appeals to one woodworker may not particularly appeal to another. Continue reading Something Whimsical

Work in Progress and Scrappy How-To

Today’s post is written by Mary Elizabeth O’Toole

This summer, I designed a Japanese-inspired quilt as a wedding gift for a good friend.  I chose a focal fabric with a large floral print (peonies – one of her favs) in the pinks and purples that I know she likes.  For the center panel, I selected several Japanese embroidery designs from www.em
blibrary.com
and stitched them in colours that matched the chosen border fabric. Continue reading Work in Progress and Scrappy How-To