From Sketchbook to Art Quilt

(You’re gonna want to scroll down for this one.) So what does all this stuff about sketching have to do with quilting? It prepares you for the single moment that inspiration strikes. I want to make a quilt of a house, a bird, a cup of coffee. I want to make a bow-tie quilt, log cabin. I can’t wait to use that new fabric. Now you have a rich repository from which to draw images from. You’ve “filled the well” as Julia Cameron would say in her seminal work, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity [10th Anniversary Edition] .

Here’s one path from sketch to original art quilt. I started with several thumbnail sketches, not really sure how I wanted to capture this gorgeous valley.

First Thumbnail

First Thumbnail

Second Thumbnail

Second Thumbnail

Third Thumbnail

Third Thumbnail

Fourth Thumbnail

Fourth Thumbnail

I went with thumbnail #3, as I loved the vertical composition and the feeling I was at the top of the peak looking down. I captured the image on muslin using watercolor crayons, and here it is being auditioned for a border to serve as a frame:

Final Piece:  Which Border?

Final Piece: Which Border?

And here it is on my design wall ready to be quilted:

Art Quilt on Design Wall

Art Quilt on Design Wall

All the preparation in my sketchbooks readied me for this quilt. Funny, it didn’t feel like preparation. It felt more like time was flying by, being the in flow, capturing the images and moments that held meaning for me. Truly, the best part of being an artist. Dreaming, sketching, and quilting.

I love my job, don’t you?

Note of interest: The tiny building in the background (best seen in Thumbnail #1) burned to the ground months after I did this sketch. It was a local restaurant that held many memories for me and neighbors in my community. Now it has been immortalized in a work of art. See what I mean by capturing meaning? I had no idea of the unfortunate event that would come, nor do you ever know all the layers a work of art potentially holds. Until you actually create it.

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