Thursday, March 23, 2017

quilting style

I  am obsessed with quilting books, and quilting magazines, and quilting blogs. I love reading about quilters and where they get inspiration from, how they differentiate their work, and I really enjoy hearing about their tips and tricks and favorite tools of the trade.

When reading these articles and books, quilters are often asked to define their style. That question has led to much self reflection for me. How would I define my own style, which category do I fit into? It's an interesting question, and one that is both worthy of an answer and also impossible to define- at least personally.

Some of the conflicting thoughts in my head:

  • I have an etsy shop. So it is sort of important to loosely categorize myself, if only for the sake of a well-worded "shop description". 
  • how can I use a word or two to sum up how and what I create? what is general enough that it encompasses an evolving style, but specific enough that people know how you approach creativity?
  • even if I settle on something, I inevitably create something that directly contradicts what I just described my style as
  • can you be 5 opposing ideas all at once? I mean, I know you can because I am, but is that a style??
See. Impossible.

What I settled on: my style is modernish (emphasis on the ISH), as I need white/negative space and balance, what I create tends to have a simple and easy feel, with a nod to traditional and vintage design,  whimsical in layout and fabrics, but without being overly fussy or complicated.

Ha!! So where does that leave me? No idea.

My style mirrors my process. Constantly evolving. I start with a relatively small idea, usually color palette or pattern. I gather fabrics and get to sewing. 95% of the time, I add more fabrics as I go. I embellish upon my original idea, making a pattern larger, tailoring it back some, adding a new element, or throwing in a different color. What I end up with usually looks sort of like the idea I started with. I know "improv" seems so cliche and trendy, but honestly, the way I create is improv from beginning until the I stitch that last seam on the binding.

This quilt below illustrates what I mean. It began with an idea I had while laying in bed. I knew I wouldn't sleep until I got it to paper. I got up and drew it out, and then started grabbing fabrics- at midnight, mind you. I started with only lavenders. And then added in pinks as I built it. I love log cabins (a very traditional design) but used it only for construction, and not a complete design. I needed negative space- the white border. Simplicity-- a pretty clean and straight forward design. A little whimsy thrown into the binding, when I used a few random strips of fabric, and in how I quilted it with organic lines, varying the spacing.

So now if anyone asks me how I would describe my style, I can pull this post up and remind myself what I decided! haha!! 

Sew Fresh Quilts


Sewmotion said...

Oh I feel your confusion, I too love the 'modern' aesthetic but also tend to like the traditional sometimes, be it fabrics or design. With the quilting world - fabrics, styles, techniques - evolving quicker than ever before, I think it's so hard to define something that is forever changing and developing... I guess we should just sit back and go with it :)

shannon said...

That's a great idea-- I am all about sitting back.

Erin Quinn said...

You've just said it!! You're minimalist, with a preference for negative space and clean lines, but with the spontaneity of improv to keep your work fresh and unique.
Call yourself contemporary, if it needs to be one word ;-)
E xx

the momma said...

I can't find a 'box' that I fit in either (for quilting. or anything else, for that matter... ;-) The one thing that remains fairly constant is - I love to mix hand and machine quilting.
Happy quilting ~ Tracy

shannon said...

Hi Erin! You made me laugh, because I think I had it in my head that I wanted to define my style with one word, which is hilarious because there is no such *rule*. But that was a beautiful summarization. Thank you!



shannon said...

@the momma -- I have just recently started combining machine and hand stitching and I LOVE it, too! Not sure what took me so long to give it a go, but I love the depth it adds to something!


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