Artists make innumerable decisions before and during the creation of the artwork. So many in fact that sharing the process of how the work came to be is difficult. How deep should I go? When will my sharing go from illuminating to soporific? I thought I would take a chance and go granular this week.
In my last post I asked how you might quilt the sky in Bat Sh*t Crazy. The consensus matched my own inclination – to echo the chaos and not detract from the graphic design of the piece. Sounds easy. However, how precisely is that done? Research and play/doodling is what I turn to when I don’t have an answer.
When in doubt I surf the web. A great place to start is an image browser, such as Google Images. Type in a few key words, such as tornado simple line drawing and voila ideas galore. Another resource for free motion quilting motifs is Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Gallery with over 500 designs. The trick is to not get caught up in the vortex of research and start to play.
Questions to be Answered
The art of free motion quilting is one long continuous line that rarely requires back stitching and fills in the desired space. This is why whenever I plan on using a new motif I test drive my ideas on paper in ink. If there will be awkward spots is there a way to circumvent them? How will the design work when done again and again? Does it achieve the look I am going for? My first 20 or so attempts were rejected, but I finally landed on one that worked. It is the doodle on the far right in the above image. It is easy to repeat, evenly covers the space and can be modified to get into awkward sections.
Now it is time to go from paper to quilt. I begin with a practice sandwich (sample top, batting and backing made with leftover blocks and or muslin) to both test drive the quilting motif and build up my muscle memory for the pattern. It also lets me know if my thread choice will work. Once I am satisfied with my test piece, I take a big breath and move on to the quilt.
All that time researching, playing, doodling and test driving paid off. I was able to finish quilting the sky in less than a week. No doubt the town will take longer. I won’t be able to do that with a single a line.
Rainbow Scrap Challenge
If you follow my posts, then you probably noticed I haven’t posted in a month. This is because of the timing of our family vacation. When I returned to my studio I needed to ease back into work mode. How wonderful to have the excuse of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge to welcome me home.
I’m linking up to the following posts: