It’s an original

It’s been quiet here due to creative inactivity, and at last I have something to report. The city-run drawing and painting course I mentioned in my previous post was cancelled due to low enrollment, so no productivity there, but Elaine Quehl’s monthly art-quilt class is chugging right along.

In our second class we were taught how to make an appliqué quilt design using a freehand technique and by making a pattern. Both approaches were to be based on images we had collected over the summer.

Although I had collected a folder full of images, only one was a picture I had taken. The rest were from magazines – either an ad or a photo supporting an article. As you may know, if your work is based on someone else’s copyrighted work you need the copyright holder’s permission to use the image should you want to enter the quilt in a show.

Being a true optimist (in this case, at least), I decided to use my lone photograph as the basis for my art quilt in case I came up with something so wonderful I’d want to show it.

This picture is from a meeting room in Ottawa’s Old City Hall. Given that the other art piece in the room has Inuit roots, I’m guessing the room highlights Aboriginal-themed art and these triangles are supposed to represent teepees.

Our assignment was to create a pattern and make a small quilt using mottled fabric in a range of 5-7 shades of the colour of our choice. I chose blue because my stash had the broadest range of compatible blues.

My first take on adapting the photograph was quite literal as far as the central portion of the photograph goes (sorry, no picture). I didn’t want the side walls to creat a closed in feeling, so I did away with those. I also left out the grid work in the skylight for two reasons. First, as an art quilt this is an interpretation of a photograph, not a literal replication of one; and second, I didn’t think all those lines would translate well in fabric, although they may in threadwork.

In any case, it was only once the grid work was omitted from the design that I appreciated how much it fills the upper part of the composition. Without those in the quilt, my design felt empty, hollow. 

My solution was to add the three central triangles and a mid-size triangle at each end. I am happy with the final design, which is just 11 inches wide.