What IS working in a series?

So, to get over writers block, I’m going to start by adding my old Side by Side posts. Side by Side was a group blog devoted to quilt artists talking about how they work in a series. I’m afraid it didn’t live up to our expectations – perhaps because of the group setting and narrow focus. I know that every post I wanted to write turned out large (and the ones I didn’t write turned out larger, because I had so much to say.)
I’ve been quilting for over 22 years…but began my journey on the road to creating Art Quilts about 8 years ago. I knew I wanted to DO my own thing…but I didn’t know what my own THING was!

Dyeing my own fabric was the 1st breakthrough – it gave me the power to be able to say “I made that”, and after a couple of years of practice, the ability to to create just the color I wanted. I also had been working hard on my technique, and a free motion quilting class taken from Melody Johnson about 8 years ago gave me a quantum leap in ability/confidence.

But, after I became proficient in free motion quilting and dyeing, I came to a big road block – WHAT was I going to create? What could I create that was my own? I spent several years kind of bogged down in this…The discovery of blogs (1st Melody’s, then others) 2 and a half years ago gave me food for thought, and opened my eyes to the greater world of art, rather than my narrow vision of quilt art which was defined in the most part by the large quilting magazines and shows. I eventually discovered that abstract is what did it for me – I didn’t want to set out to make a quilt that looked like ANYthing, and apparently, there were other people who did this! But…HOW do you decide WHAT to do?

Okay, I’m getting to the point here, I think! So, a year and a half ago, I’m making a slipcover for a chair in my bedroom out of a really cool fabric:

Here it is with the chair enlarged:

So I decide to make a series of 3 small quilts based on the images in the fabric to fit on the wall opposite our bed. At the time, I was working on overcoming the “All color, All the time” color scheme, so chose the popular brown and blue I was seeing everywhere. When it came time to decide upon the quilting pattern, I wanted to do something less fussy than my usual free motion quilting:

But straight lines or a grid were out – I was looking for something more organic (Lisa Call influence here…) that wouldn’t get in way of the texture of my hand dyed fabric. So, I grabbed some scraps and assembled a little piece to try some organic lines out in literally the time it took for the iron to warm up:

Lollipop Flower # 1, 12″ x 7″

And…lo and behold, a motif is born! I just love this little piece! For whatever reason, that little “Lollipop Flower” just reached out and grabbed me and it hasn’t let go yet! For what it’s worth, here’s the finished pieces based on the chair fabric:

Color Studies in Brown & Blue, 18″ x 24″ each, click below for larger pix:


So, I fell into figuring out what “working in a series” means to me…which is to continue to work with a symbol/icon/figure/lollipop flower because you love that little thing and you can’t let it go!

2 Responses

  1. OK … you’re killing me!!! I wish I had an ounce of your talent! OMG! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the chair slip cover!!! What can’t you do??? I officially hate you! 🙂 J/K MUAH!