Week in Review 2020 – 08/14

Finishing the back side with leftover strips used to create the pieces in Turbulence’s top was a snap.

What to do? What to do? Each of my artworks goes through a predictable series of steps. The steps are known. What isn’t known is precisely how I will execute those steps. With 30 plus years of quilting behind me, I have a substantial collection of go to tools handy and I know how to use them. Even so, there are times, like this week, when I am stymied as to how to proceed.

This is the front side of Turbulence. The question of the week is what to do as a quilting motif for Turbulence?

What I have learned to do when faced with a stumbling block in my process is to quiet the booming voice of doubt and remind myself I have faced such challenges in the past and surmounted them. How do I do this? Well, not gracefully. I fret. I pace. I circle both physically and mentally. Then, I might start researching.

Starry Night by Van Gogh

The stumbling block this week was how to quilt Turbulence. My plan was to use jagged lines, referencing the lightening bolts. When I doodled this motif I hated it. Next, I hit the internet. I found a few ideas there, but none that convinced me to give them go. For some reason, spirals kept coming to mind. Tried doodling them on paper and then actually stitching them on sample. OK, but not great. More fretting and pacing. Decided to take a break and flip through Quilting Arts magazine, justifying that as “studio time” and a potential source of inspiration. Nothing.

It is a good idea to test quilting motifs. This sample shows the motif I’ve opted to go with done with a high contrast thread and harder to see, you will have a trust me, with a low contrast thread.

What did I do? Give up? Well, yes and no. Artists are often asked what is your inspiration? Where do my ideas come from? If I knew, I wouldn’t find myself in this quandary again. What I do know is I am blessed to have eureka moments that simply come to me. I can’t force them. I can only trust they will arrive, and I will be aware enough to embrace them. This is precisely what happened when the quilting motif solution came to me for Turbulence.

This is the same sample but from the backside. I like how the variegated thread adds to the sense of movement. The thread I have in mind should do something similar, but a little more subtly.

I was on the right track with spirals. However, spirals don’t suggest turbulence. The eureka moment? Van Gogh’s Starry Night came to mind. How did he create that movement in his sky? Using Starry Night as a reference, I worked out a turbulent spiral motif.

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

Blog Post Signup

View art transform from germ of an idea to completion

We don’t spam!

By Gwyned Trefethen

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

14 comments

  1. Love, love the eureka moments. I had a sky area in my Stonehenge quilt with nothing that was right. It marinated for weeks, then an early morning aha; it worked perfectly. There is no rushing the eureka. *G* Glad you got it solved sooner rather than later.

  2. This is a fabulous post, Gwyned. Will you link it up with my Long Arm Learning linky party on Tuesday? I think so many quilters restrict themselves to looking at other quilts for inspiration, which leads to endless repetition of what has already been done before. Yet the most interesting quilting ideas often come from somewhere else — from architectural details on historic buildings, from paintings like your Starry Night swirls, or from patterns observed in nature. And yes, I like the idea of a variegated thread for this piece, because that will make the thread swirls appear to ebb and flow and be disconnected water droplets driven into synchronous motion by the storm. Love this!

    1. I feel so honored to be asked to share my post on your Long Arm Learning links, especially since I am not a long arm quilter. As you probably noted I took you up on the offer. I totally agree with you, it is SO important to observe your surroundings and push past traditional ways of hunting down pattern and color combos. Takes courage.

    1. Your just never know where ideas will come from. After settling on the motif, I must have gone through 10 likely thread choices before I found the my favorite one for the project. This just may be the toughest FMQ choice I’ve made over the past 20 years. Yes, I’ve been machine quilting that long.

  3. Hi Gwyned, I loved to hear about your process – eventually those ideas do come to us. Usually I just have to leave it alone and let it come. I think that the swirls will look great. Please consider linking up to Free Motion Mavericks this week. Thanks and take care.

  4. Hi Gwyned, I loved to hear about your process – eventually those ideas do come to us. Usually I just have to leave it alone and let it come. I think that the swirls will look great. Please consider linking up to Free Motion Mavericks this week. Thanks and take care.

Comments are closed.