In 14 days I will be joining 5 of my quilting friends and attending a Storytellers in Cloth Quilt Retreat at the Heritage Conference Center in Southbury, Ct. Two of my friends went last year, had such a good time and convinced the rest of us to go this year. I love retreats, so I really wanted to go, but had to find a roommate... Thanks Aline!
The theme for the weekend is "Remembering Our History" and Carolyn Mazloomi, a noted quilt maker and historian, will be the quest speaker. Since this is the 15th Anniversary for Storytellers, this years challenge is to create a 12.5" block that depicts an event from African American History over the last 15 years. The block must contain white or white on white fabric, no more than 2 other colors and use crystals (the symbol for 15th Anniversaries) as an embellishment. Now for those of you who know me, I don't do challenges. Why.... I am a very literal person, so I have a hard time thinking out of the box and creating a piece that conveys the theme. See, to me 'theme' doesn't equal pattern or technique. Tell me to design a mariners compass quilt or to do something with applique or paper piecing and I am in. But a theme, my brain doesn't work that way. At least not until now....
But lucky for me I have two relatively new 'inspirations' in my quilting life. 1) a mini group made up of some very talented quilters, who tend to gravitate more to the artsy non-traditional side than the traditional squares and triangles.... and 2) a new quilting buddy (she is also part of the mini group), who is an artist by trade and has helped me to step outside of my box.
So while I have had the challenge information for months, it wasn't until Mondays' mini group meeting that I had the courage to actually dive in. I came home and sketched out a new idea and as of tonight I have my block all laid out. No stitching yet, but this is the great thing... it is sort of cut, snip, pin, glue as you go... then when I get a composition I like, I will sew/quilt as I go. I have it up on my design wall, so that it will stare at me the next day or two, and if it says 'done', I'll start sewing. I am so excited. It is as if I have started on a new journey :-)
I am looking forward to continuing on my quilting evolution at The Storytellers weekend as I will be taking classes from two great quilters. Juanita Yeager's "Paint it, Quilt it" class where you learn to use watercolor pigments to create a quilt top design, then learn free motion quilting techniques to enhance the design. This is a recent piece by Juanita... look at the shading and texture in this flower. Yummmm
Bisa Butler's "Portrait Quilts" class, learning to translate a picture into a portrait quilt. Both of these ladies are fabulous quilters. I just can't wait until I turn a photo of my kids into something like this quilt of hers...
This is going to be a truly inspiring 3 1/2 days... but first I have to finish my challenge piece!
P.S.... I can't post my challenge progress until the retreat is over as many of my friends read my blog and I can't give anything away. Hey, I do want to win one of the prizes :-)