Friday, October 29, 2010

Breakthrough thinking...

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

And 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 :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Renee I know you can think outside the box, you're incredibly creative. This is one of those places where you just needed a bit of encouragement in a different direction that truly resonated with you.
I love our mini-group! I love the quilty conversation and how ideas flow.