Week in Review 2022 – 02/04


What is the best advice you have ever been given? Rising to the top of my list is this gem from Sandy Townsend Donabed, “Now do something radically different.” A little context will help demonstrate the wisdom of this advice.

The original plan for Celestial Zen.


As a novice, traditional quilter I was fascinated, but intimidated by the art quilts I saw while attending a local quilt guild show. How were they created? Where did the ideas come from? Could I learn to do this? I was told that Sandy Donabed periodically taught such a class. I signed up. Six of us met once a week for approximately 8 weeks around Sandy’s dinning room table. She would lecture and demonstrate various art principles and dole out assignments for the following week. A few weeks in we began working on our own art quilt. When we were nearly finished and very vested in our work the assignment was, you guessed it, “now do something radically different.” Gasp! Terror!! That was in 1989.

A buddha floats up from a lotus blossom. Both hover above the background of harmonious sky blue and deep purple four petal flowers. The flowers are significantly 25% larger than the buddha.
Instead of a bird, why not add a buddha?


In 2022 it seems doing something radically different has become part of my DNA. Of course, radical is relative. However, some of the best solutions when problem solving my way through an art piece are the ideas that come at me unexpectedly. It may be selecting the perfect accent fabric that in theory doesn’t meld with all the rest chosen. In the case of Celestial Zen (previously titled Celestial Harmony) it is tossing out the dove of peace and replacing it with buddha emerging from a lotus flower. Doing some radically different doesn’t mean it will appear to the viewer as different. In fact, it looks as though that was the game plan all along.

A buddha floats up from a lotus blossom a lotus flower in the lower right quadrant of the quilt. This anchors the eyes and produces a calming effect.
Note how the buddha settles and relaxes the eye. Also, the lotus flower repeats the orange peel shape uniting the foreground to the background.

I am linking up with:

By Gwyned Trefethen

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


    1. Thank you, Joanna. I knew the bird wasn’t working, especially after making a disaster of a prototype. Then, surprise, surprise during my yoga practice the idea for buddha emerging from a lotus flower hit me.

  1. I’m glad you replaced the bird (I found it a bit “cute”) but I thought the Buddha was an orchid!

    As for best advice? Two things — both about relaxing and taking the process in stride: one from Anna Hergert, my first art quilt teacher: “It’s just a sample”; and the other, from Joan Statz. a fairly traditional quilter who made landscapes and then created patterns and a line of fabric for them a couple of decades ago: “When in doubt, plant a bush.” Both of those ‘mantras’ have stuck with me, and keep me from getting too caught up in doing things “perfectly”. 🙂

    1. Along the lines of “It’s just a sample” is something Katie Pasquini Masopust shared that still has me chuckling. She quipped, “Fabric is like Frito Lays Corn Chips. You can always buy more.” This was in reference to student’s fear about cutting into special fabric. Love “plant a bush”. That is great advice.

      Thank you for passing along your favorite advice.

  2. i appreciate how thoughtful you always are… and how you open me to new thoughts

  3. Hi Gwyned, if you hadn’t shown us your original plan, we never would have known. It really does belong there. Your piece is beautiful!

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