Saturday, August 23, 2014

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Steam Punk is rolling along. Here's a quick snap on the design wall.

Quilt in shades of blue, chartreuse, green,  brown, red, grey, orange, pink
Steam Punk quilt top with sawtooth sashing

So many people wrote very supportive comments as previous photos were posted. Thank you all very much. A few said they would never have thought of this arrangement. That's the same way I feel when I look at your quilts. Isn't that why we're posting and blogging? To share ideas and build an artistic community.

This spring I read Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. He posted his rules here. I see these guidelines as a tongue-in-cheek 21st-century rewording of John Donne:

    "No man is an island,
     Entire of itself.
     Each man is a piece of the continent,
     A part of the main."

So we go to shows and galleries, read books and blogs, attend guild meetings, interact with others. Mull over what strikes our fancy and let it morph into a new creation. This is not wholesale copying but rather a synthesis of ideas and techniques in the manner of the Impressionists. While each was unique, all were inspired by the interaction of color and light. They lived, worked and exhibited together. They shared models, locations and design layouts. You probably know this story about Mary Cassatt and Andre Degas but it's always fun to read. Their courage to break new ground came from their common bonds.

I've known about traditional New York Beauty quilts for years. Some of the best examples are in Bill Volckening's collection. He generously shared many at the San Jose Quilt Museum exhibit in 2013. Multicolored teeth, cogs instead of teeth, reverse colorways, elaborate or plain quilting. My favorite was set at an odd angle with crude patches in places before the border was added. What caused that design decision? Did a dog chew it or did the original maker die? My sashing is my first attempt to incorporate what I learned from this show.

The four 18-inch Steam Punk blocks

Large-scale prints that needed a showcase led me to draft some larger blocks. Kona Bay fish, Alexander Henry cherry blossoms, Kaffe Fassett floral and a batik. Some centers are this exceptionally bold print; the maker is not on the selvage.

Fabric used for some propeller centers

But Ruth McDowell's Pattern on Pattern (printed in 1991) must have also played a part. She updated traditional quilts with scale change, overlays and transparency.

My copy of Pattern on Pattern by Ruth McDowell

When I got stuck during construction, these ideas emerged. It's my work but it wasn't invented in a vacuum. Your quilts are just as unique a synthesis. That's why we love to read about the processes. What do you think?

Enjoy the day, Ann

1 comment:

starflash quilts said...

I have never been sure if I like this pattern, but your saw tooth edging and change of scale have convinced me-I like the busy fabrics too.