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From the Design Wall Part 1

Starting Out

This is the first of a series of posts showing how an art quilt goes from the design wall to a finished piece.  I am writing these as I am making this piece, so there will be some posts before and after each post in this series.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this as I go, so please let me know what you think in the comment section.

Starting out, I went into my stash of hand dyed fabric (I do this myself) and found this nice grey/blue length that seemed a good neutral background for the piece I have in mind.  Then I started looking for color.  I auditioned several colors and the photo above is what I started out with.


My usual process is to let an idea percolate for awhile, while I work on other things.  The photo above shows another fabric I added into the mix.  It seems to give it the little bit of pop I was looking for.

That little piece of white over there to the right are some very rough sketches of some of the shapes I want to incorporate into this piece.  Here is a close up…


You see…very rough sketches.  But they give me an idea of the direction I will go — I have ruled out some shapes and combinations and have kept some as more interesting.  Keep in mind that these are a starting point.  I may end up with something entirely different.  The point of this process is to get the thinking/creativity started.

This will stay up on the design wall for a couple more days, as I continue to think about exactly how to translate my idea into fabric.  Next step, I will start cutting and throwing the shapes up onto the design wall.


Computers and Creativity



I love to create — to work with my hands and make things like quilts that are pretty and let me be creative.  But I’m also a geek.  I love my computer, my smartphone, the internet, streaming video and all that techy stuff.  So when I can combine these two parts of myself, I am a very happy camper!

I have tried designing quilts with an EQ program.  I had some moderate success with it, but it seems so restrictive.  It kept wanting me to use traditional designs and had fabric samples to plug in that I didn’t like.  And I could work around all of those things, but the program is really written for quilters making more traditional quilts and maybe tweaking them up a bit.  Not really me.

I have used Photoshop Elements for years in one version or another to edit my photographs.  I have looked at using it to edit and modify my photos to use in artquilts and I have not been happy with it.  It’s much easier to use than the full version of Photoshop but I have never taken the time to learn how to use it beyond editing my photos to make prints.

Well, its time to Cowboy Up!  Because now I have this.

Bamboo Fun Tablet

This, my friends, is a Waucom Bamboo Fun Tablet.  AKA my new BFF.

With this, I can draw in Photoshop Elements.  I can design fabric and have it printed by companies like this.  I can use the pen and tablet to select objects in my photos much much much easier and then edit and modify for quilts.  I can draw motifs and print them on fabric with my inkjet printer for quilts.  I can design a quilt and have it printed at a print shop on really wide paper to use as a pattern for an art quilt.

The possibilities are endless!