After the “Road to California”

 Last year I wrote a post about my experience entering my first art quilt in a traditional quilt show in Ontario California.

“ By the end of two days at the show I learned that I needed to improve my technical skills and rethink what might be a better fit using my current technique. I am even thinking of making a more traditional quilt to enter in next year’s show.”

                        Post from January 2018

I have definitely devoted myself to improve my skills as a quilter. I used quilts for my guild’s philanthropy group to practice free motion patterns. Once a month I participate in  a long-arm club at my local quilt shop. At that shop I recently I attended a three day hands on class sponsored by Handi Quilter. During those three days I began to understand and appreciate how quilting can transform even the most basic quilt top.

Like all artists, quilters use design concepts. In planning the quilting for a quilt top, a master quilter is able to transform the composition. A pattern created during quilting will enhance the visual depth of a quilt by densely filling or sparsely  filling an enclosed shape. Quilting provides a visual pathway around the surface of a quilt and can even create a focal point where there wasn’t one.

Quilting lines can be straight or curved, can be heavy or light.  These lines used in a predictable pattern create a visual rhythm which plays across the surface of a quilt. The possibilities are limitless.

Taking the time before I begin to quilt to draw out the designs  has really helped me. I now spend a few minutes doodling with a fine point marker before I quilt. I don't always choose to draw the designs that familiar to quilters like feathers or ribbon candy. I always am thinking about what will add to or enhance the quilt.




Recently I made a simple block quilt. I used a ruler to create a line of oblong shapes. I filled each row with a difference free motion motif. The exercise helped me to expand my design repertoire. 

I am beginning to see how these stitched patterns are important for the visually rich backgrounds in my portrait quilts. The potential of a using motifs in my landscape quilts to mimic natural elements is making me reconsider using primarily thread painting to enhance the design.

This year, as I toured the show; I was able to appreciate the technical prowess of the award winners and of many participants.

The quilt I entered this year (Jana)  had already won an award at a art quilt exhibition but did not get a nod from the judges at Road. So next year, I still have a goal of entering a bed quilt and to enter an art quilt that demonstrates my improved technique.

The goal is not the award.

The goal is to grow as an artist.

Until next time.....