Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Free-Form Quiltmaking, a.k.a. Color Bars

Our state quilt association, Mississippi Quilt Association, holds a Workshop Gathering each June, and it is often  my pleasure to teach at this event. We always meet in a central location, while the spring and fall gatherings move about the state. This year I taught "Free-Form Quiltmaking," or what I call "Color Bars," relying on popular techniques employed by such teachers as Rayna Gillman and Dianne S. Hire. I feel a little ambiguous saying I "taught" the students, but suffice it to say I helped them discover their own creativity and gave them permission to play and experiment. Here are a couple of pieces I made last year using these improvisational techniques:
Color Bars #2--Black by Martha Ginn

High Rise by Martha Ginn
 Isabel Adams was so eager for the class that she sewed up lots of strips beforehand. We pinned these units to a display wall and discussed ways to arrange them.

Martha demonstrating the "wallpaper cut" to Isabel Adams, Missy Lee, Carla Formel

Working without a pattern or specific size pieces was a stretch for some, but they quickly discovered the joy of combining colors, sizes, and shapes to come up with interesting designs.

by Missy Lee
by Myra Cook

Georgianne Brooks, Angela Jones, Missy Lee
Nancy Losure designing on the floor
Another of Isabel Adams' exercises

At the end of the day, all the groups come together for Show and Tell from their classes; it was impressive to see the variety of creations.


The class showing their exercises
Next month I will travel to Hernando, MS, to present a program and Ghost Quilting workshop for their combined day and night groups, as the houseguest of my dear friend and former Hattiesburg resident Cheryl Owens, pictured below with Teresa Pino and Sharon Arnold.
Cheryl Owens, Teresa Pino (yes, the room was cold!), Sharon Arnold
 Good resources for these techniques can be found in Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts, A Stress-Free Journey to Original Design, by Rayna Gillman, C and T Publishing, 2011; and Quilters Playtime: Games with Fabrics, by Dianne S. Hire, AQS, 2004.


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