During October I will be presenting a one-day workshop in Seneca, SC with the Mountain Lake Quilters and later in the month a three-day workshop at Quilting By the Lake 2 for The Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center in Auburn, NY.
The one day event is entitled DISCOVER YOUR SHAPE VOCABULARY and the QBL2 worshop is ALL ABOUT SHAPE. In preparation for these workshops I have been making a few samples and I'm sharing one here.
My personal body of work for some years has focused on large shapes and how they interact with one another and how these shapes activate space. The question I am most often ask is how do I piece this work. That is a hard question to answer because each construction is unique and my process for piecing is one I developed for myself. I am not suggesting that it is any different from anyone else but simply that as I began to develop my work I also had to figure out on a piece by piece basis how to sew it together.
Some constructions are pretty straight forward and some are mind benders. Sometimes I can sew everything without making extra cuts into the fabric and sometimes there just isn't anyway to sew all the seams without cutting into another shape to access the edges of some shape.
My term for constructing very complex things is "thinking backwards". What this means to me is that very often, the last thing I cut or add to the composition is the first thing I have to sew together. Sometimes I actually write out a plan for the order things must be sewn. I believe the ability to understand how to piece complex compositions is sort of like learning a computer program.....need inspires creative thinking. You have a problem, you find a solution. As a beginner if you look at the entire program you feel overwhelmed but if you start with one component of the process and take things step by step you can eventually learn the whole program. For example, you say "I'm going to learn how to create a folder". This helps you identify a specific set of things you need to do and you learn those steps. Piecing is exactly the same process.
This sample was created as a demonstration of Raw Edge Applique and I had created some shapes using a technique I will be teaching in my workshops. This technique uses paper patterns you create and I decided to construct a second Pieced sample using the paper pattern so we could see the difference.
The example I'm showing here was created to show ONE way to construct this composition. After I completed the piece I could see that there was another way I could have constructed the piece but I'll remember that for next time.
As stated earlier, I began this sample by cutting a pattern freehand from a piece of paper. This is not how I do my large work but it was helpful for this example as I also constructed one using raw edge applique and I wanted to compare them.
I have cut 3 shapes which will be sewn together to begin this composition. The first piece I cut was the brown shape. I used my paper patterns to cut these shapes but If I had not had a pattern, I would have used the leaf-like shape to cut the edges between itself and the brown fabric etc.
This shows the back side of the piece after it has been sewn and before I pressed.
This shows the face after pressing.
Next I add the side elements.
The shows the Face of piece after pressing. You can see that I gave myself more fabric in the brown fabric than I needed and that will be cut off. I do not add an official 1/4" seam. I just know I might need additional fabric to make things line up and I know the elements will "shrink". Most of my work involves large expanses of fabric and that shrinking doesn't impact my work in the way it impacts work done on a small scale like this sample.
Now I'm going to add a large piece of the brown fabric to the top. I slipped the brown fabric under the top edge of my construction and cut an arch. I don't mark it but I do often retrace the blade on the rotary cutter and practice how I am going to cut. This helps me to see better visualize the line I am going to cut.
This is the face after being stitched and pressed. The edges are getting very wacky but that if not an issue as they can be cut as needed when the composition is finished.
Now I am going to add a green shapes that mimicks the negative brown shape I started with. I used my ruler to cut some brown fabric which will become the top edge of the finished composition.
This shows the back of the elements stitched. Before I cut the brown fabric I did mark with chalk the spot where I should place the green shape.
Now the piece has been pressed and I will lay it next to a piece of brown fabric and cut a "bottom" for the green element. (I failed to make a photo of that.)
The piece is complete except for being squared up.
Side by side samples show some of effects of piecing small elements. Either technique can be successful but it's nice to have options.
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