Building a Quilt, One Step At a Time
It’s wonderful, really, how if you let the work guide you, it just keeps going and going. Virginia Cobb, whom I wrote about in the entry before this one, is a master of process. She simply starts a painting, with basic shapes and few colors. After randomly painting marks on the paper, and establishing several shapes, (done, she says, with as little thinking as possible–this is an intuitive phase), she then steps back and analyzes what she has done. She looks for a next step. Not all the steps for a finished painting, simply a next step. And after her next step, she will flow into, or deliberate, a step after that. So, one step at a time, she “builds” a painting.
I was mesmerized watching this design process. It was so familiar, because it’s how I work with cloth and paper. I establish my beginning shapes by putting a few pieces of fabric and paper next to each other until something snags my interest. Then I start another step, perhaps with some sewing. Next I may add an image, with a transfer, stamp, or stencil. When the design looks like it has possibilities, I put the batting and cotton underneath, and start stitching the sandwich. This doesn’t mean that all the other techniques stop; I merely keep going on a quilted surface. Again, the next step builds on the one before it, which tells or suggests what might follow.
It is an exciting way to work, and, like Virginia, I am always surprised by my outcomes. Here are a few of them!
Reach without-reach within 4.75”
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