Week in Review 2019 – 8/30

Free form or structure?

Artists approach work in 3 basic ways. Some artists are completely intuitive. These artists gather materials, layering and manipulating them until they are pleased with the composition. Other artists are planners. They know the image they want to create and start by making sketch after sketch, until they have every last detail work out. Only then, do they start the process of creating the actual artwork. I straddle the two approaches, which I think of as the third approach.

Detail of pills cascading from vial to pile in Mother’s Little Helper.

I like to have a framework for my work. First, I create a blueprint of the basic shapes. This provides me with a piecing structure. Next, I select a palette and pull fabric and thread from my stash. Invariably, during the creation process there are detours and whoops moments. This is where my intuition takes over and planning goes out the window.

What is intuition?

What is intuition? For me, it is that gut feeling something is off. The piece feels off kilter. I have learned to sleep on it. The solution presents itself when I am patient. The trick is to recognize the solution, trust it and move forward. This is precisely what I did with Mother’s Little Helper this week. I knew I needed to connect the pill vial with the stacks of pills. Would pills falling from the vial onto the stacks make sense? If so, could I design tumbling pills? Time to give a big shout out to my husband. He is a genius when it comes to perspective and free hand drawing curves. The pill spill, as I think of it, is a joint effort. His lines and perspective; my determining the gap between pills.

Mother’s Little Helper as it looks today. The image at the top of the post is how it looked at the end of last week.

With the design problem solved, I can move on. I will use next week’s studio time, to further secure the pills (they are fused onto the background) with a blind hem stitch. Then it is on to free motion quilting. Hurrah!

I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


  1. I loved reading about your process…..we all can have such different approaches but end up with really satisfying results!

    1. I’ve always been fascinated by watching other artists go from a blank canvass to a painting or ball of yarn to a sweater. Once I started quilting I was just as fascinated by my own work and how it got from head to the finish project. I might be in control, but the process has often felt outside of me, as though there were someone else guiding my hands and my decisions. This is why I, suspect my blog posts are process focused. Glad you enjoy them.

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